San Francisco Bay fish...

Ken Jones

Staff member
Bay Area anglers, as noted many times I have seen a decrease in the number of starry flounder in the bay over the years. Am wondering your thoughts on the following:

Kingfish (white croaker)

Bullheads (staghorn sculpin)

Perch —any species
Have fished at 10+ piers in SF bay this year all around the bay (although not much in the Delta) and many spots from shore, my observations on each (without really targeting these):

Kingfish: Never seen one landed.
Bullheads: Saw one large 10" floating and freshly dead by Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley. Not sure what happened to it, but not promising. Kept it frozen for bait. Never seen them caught by an angler.
Perch: Lot of shiners, followed by walleye, some dwarfperch and black perch.


Active Member
I've fished the San Francisco waterfront off and on for decades since the 70's.

Today a Kingfish might be seen occasionally, whereas in the 70's it was pretty standard to pull up 10-20 fish per angler when a school was moving through.

Bullheads are even rarer today. Again, in the 70's, they were a nuisance fish. You couldn't keep them away from your bait. But at times they could also be a Primo bait for stripers.

Walleye perch were so abundant at the old Pier 7 (when the pier was a parking lot, before its reconstruction) you could fill your bucket with them. Today they're not caught in the numbers seen in the past.
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Kingfish (white croaker)-I don't see them anymore

Bullheads (staghorn sculpin)-I catch them occasionally when fishing for shiners (bait)

Perch —any species-The piers on the SF water front all hold shiners, sometimes walleyes and white perch. Along the rocks there are a lot of black perch which are great fighters for their size


New member
White Croaker: never caught or seen one from a SF bay pier.

Staghorn Sculpin: I have only caught this once in the bay, from the Point Richmond pier.

Perch: I've caught all the structure-loving perch at least once in the bay but haven't been fishing long or often enough to notice any trends with them.

I've been fishing here since 2013, mostly in the north and east bay.
I fish the bay a lot on my friend's boat. Have not seen a king fish in a few years. The local bait shop used to sell live bullheads for bait, but haven't seen those for at least 5 years. Same thing with starry flounder. We used to catch them while fishing for sturgeon, but not anymore. On the flip side the amount of bait fish and halibut being caught the last few years has been great. My friend who is a charter captain thinks it is because they moved the draggers further offshore. I wonder if salmon season has also helped to ease up on the pressure for halibut. All I do know is the halibut fishery seems very healthy right now. Makes you wonder what is going.