Recently at Bodega Harbor

This won't be the world's greatest report, but I have been meaning to write it...

First, clams. Bodega Harbor is a reliable place to get 'em, and as a still-fresh Sonoma County transplant, I went for it. This was actually my first time clamming, and I went two days in a row on the most recent minus tide (the last daytime minus tide for a couple months). On Day One, based on a hunch after noting on a previous visit several cockle shells in a particular spot without any other surface shells, I prowled the surface very carefully looking for sign and brought home three cockles a bit smaller than a baseball. Felt victorious for identifying their show, but it was way too much work for little meat. I never did find a "vein" of cockles I was expecting.

Day Two, I went out seeking gapers and Washingtons. I ran in to a super helpful guy who steered me through the shallows out to the main "sunken island" off the main channel. Sadly, within a large group arrived with a Makita bluetooth speaker blasting tunes across the mudflat. Instantly dashed was any illusion that digging clams in the back corner of Bodega Harbor is an escape to The Great Outdoors™. But I persevered. In addition to grabbing several littlenecks and cockles off the top, I managed to score 4 gapers and 3 Washingtons.

After letting them purge in sea water with a bubbler in my fridge, I cooked and cleaned the mixed bag and made a passable Manhattan-style chowder.

I think I'll be looking for good spots outside the harbor, and I'm on the fence about digging clams in the summer. FYI, CDPH now posts actual sampling values for harmful algae and toxins here (search for "obversations").

Second, Perch. Since moving here, I've been skunked several times at the beach everyone suggests is the best redtail surfperch beach in the county. This week, I had what I would describe as a "hot bite" compared to what I'd seen so far, landing 2 redtails and 5 silvers in 4 hours, with a lot more missed bites. Best redtail was 10.25".

Could be seasonal? Could be better conditions? The sand crabs all have roe right now (but I was using camo gulp sandworms), maybe the perch are gorging on them?

That's all for now, from 23.5 miles due east of the Sonoma coast.
Smaller hook for the perch maybe?
That's a good suggestion. I'm already using #6 bronze baitholders (either Eagle Claw or Mustad Beak, I forget). Near the end I retied with a #4 Gamakatsu split shot hook (on the right), which maybe does have a large gap, at least compared to a surfperch mouth. Maybe it's worth digging out those tiny #12 hooks I sometimes use for bluegill.



Well-Known Member
Thanks for the report, I've been up here for school, but haven't had much time (or transportation) to go fishing.

By chance, were you clamming 8/11-8/12? I was out there both days, and I do recall helping someone get out to the channel, and I also recall the obnoxious music. I need to write my own reports at some point.

As for reservations for digging clams during the summer, I wouldn't be too worried about this particular summer. I have been getting (biweekly?) phytoplankton reports from my school, and so far concentrations of toxic dinoflagellates have been very low.