2018 Herring Spawn Reports

4 Jan

2018 Herring Spawn Reports

It is that time of the year again. The 2018 herring spawn is set to begin in a few days and anxious fisherman, sea gulls and sea lions are waiting in earnest.  The tiny fish make their migration into the bay each year setting off a chain reaction up and down the food chain.I thought that I would keep an ongoing log of spawns that i hear on this post.  So check back to this post for updates, or provide your own updates via the comments!!!





(Herring hunters awaiting the spawn at ferry point)

I’m anxious to get this thing going. Experiencing these run is an experience for fisherman and wildlife fans everywhere. It is truly one of the last urban fisheries in the bay area. Follow this blog and get on them. It is a lot cheaper than a ticket to the movies and a whole lot of fun for kids.








(Kids having fun herring hunting!)

Update: I went to ferry point today in anticipation of the herring spawn. The herring have been staging about 100-200 ft outside the pier.  There have been some scouts that have begun to come in but the Major spawn has yet to happen. I anticipate the rain this week and the large tides will get these fish horny enough to make the run. Let’s cross our fingers that it is going to happen soon.

Update 1.7.2018: There looks to be a herring spawn at Aqua vista Park this afternoon. Sunday 1.7.2018. The best place to throw a cast net is on the left corner, away from all the rocks. There are lots of submerged rocks and underwater debris near the opening of the pier. (Stay away from throwing there). There will be lots of OG herring hunters (aggressive old asian men). I advise this isn’t the best place for a kids gathering. It’s a small pier to if you are willing to combat fish, there are herring to be had.

Update 1.9.2018:

Ok. I had to go to Aqua Vista Park to see if there was actually any action. Arrived at the park by 7 p.m. yesterday (1.8.2018). It was cold. It was raining, but “rain or shine” it’s herring time! The pier was  occupied  by a dozen or so OG herring hunters with their trash cans and trucks. The spawn was on but it was not wide open. Gull and Sea Lions were working the outside, but smaller schools worked their way into the rocks to spawn. Most OG hunters caught about 4-5 fish per cast with the occasional 20 on good throws.  It wasn’t wide open but there was fish to be had. Go get’em if they are still around.

There also looks to be a spawn at mcCovy cove if they have moved on from aqua Vista Park.

  • Aqua Vista Park
    Aqua Vista Park

Update 1.17.2017:

Last week there was some fish circling around the Richardson Bay area (Tiburon). There hasn’t been word yet of a full spawn but the fish are there. However, there looks to be a current spawn at Coyote as of 1.17.2017. It looks like the spawn may have happened yesterday but it is still going on now…so get your herring ON!

Side Note: I would also look around Fisherman’s point to see if there are spawning fish.





Update 1.23.2017:

Current spawn at Paradise Park as of 1.23.2017 Looks like the commercial fleet and few
OG herring hunters are already there getting their fill. As of yesterday 1.25.2018, there was still a spawn around the paradise and elephant rock area. Let’s hope they stay for the weekend. =)

Quick update: 1.27.2018: The herring have moved off the paradise area. Nothing to report. Hoping that they would stay around for the weekend but I guess they are taking a break from all the sexual activity. Hopefully they will show up for a few more spawns before calling it a season. I think last year the Tiburon area had a late spawn so maybe keep an eye on in that direction.

Update 1.30.2017:
Possible impending spawn around the Richardsons Point (aka Ferry Point). We haven’t had a confirmed report but it’s a good place to keep an eye on in case the fish start to get in the mood again. =)

Update 2.1.2017:
Word on the street is that the sex herring are horny and spawning at Ferry Point. The herring are there but the spawn died off around 5 p.m. yesterday. The fish are still hanging around but not sure if they are spawning. Please post on the comments if they are spawning.

58 Replies to “2018 Herring Spawn Reports

  1. The anticipation is killing me. I’ve been dreaming of netting herring for the past couple weeks now, early every night.

    • Haha it’s ok. I’m the same way, but it will happen eventually. The spawns are an awesome sight to behold.

    • There looks to be a spawn at Coyote Point today if anyone wants to get on them.
      I believe the park closes around 5 p.m.

    • Yeah, seriously, thanks so much for these updates. With spawns coming just once a year, and having to work during the week makes it tough. Really really appreciate your updates!

    • Paradise Drive is a very long stretch of twisting roads. Where exactly?

      Is it in the Paradise Beach County Park? Off the pier?

      • I think it’s usually at the Pier. Try and give the ranger station a call to confirm but I heard they are pretty close

    • I called the park office at 415-435-9212 twice and got a recorded message. The recording said that the pier was closed in December for construction.

      • It looks like some of the guys on NCKA and others are there.
        It is happening today as of 11:14 a.m. so it definitely on. Looks like big spawn.
        Damn it! stuck in school today. hmmm…

  2. Thanks you guys for the hot tip today… I went to Paradise Beach Pier and had the best time ever. This was my first time throwing a cast net so I wasn’t very proficient.

    Luckily, one of those OG herring hunters was nice enough to share some of his pulls with me. Sure, there were a lot of old Asian guys but they weren’t bad at all. I didn’t get into any confrontations and they were actually pretty cool.

    But yeah… there was a ton of herring there. I brought home way more than I can really handle. I have to share with my friends and family now.

  3. Awesome stuff, Harvey. I couldn’t make my way there because I was @ work in the South Bay. Please do keep us posted if you see anything @ Ferry pt.

  4. I went Tuesday afternoon,it was my first time at a herring spawn. Watching 25-30 guy’s throwing nets getting 2-5 fish on a figure 8 throw and 20-40 on a good one. I was ready but not thinking about throwing net up and over rail I brought my 7 foot fast sinking smelt net 21 pounds of lead, at 59 years old after a few throws it was like throwing a smart car over the rail. I also had one guy dump his net in my ice chest,no complaints here. Will bring 5 foot net next time. I talked to a lot of young and old guys everyone was great.

    • That is awesome. For the most part the OG herring hunters are respectful. It’s just when it becomes battle fishing in tight quarters that it can get a little testy. Even then most guys are cool. In fact, they will even load you up if it looks like you are having a hard time catching the buggers.

  5. Thanks for the post! We were hauling them in right up until park close at 5 pm yesterday. I would have gone again this morning, but I was up until 3 am cleaning fish! Any word on the bite out there today?

  6. Any news on the herring front? I could use one more shot for bait and maybe a few more to smoke, having hard time keeping them lit. I put fish on styrofoam trays and put them in freezer, when fish are frozen I slid them in bags and vacuum packed them on a 20 second vacuum. No smashing.

  7. Anyone know of any herring? Maybe the tides are too big. Hope to get a few more for bait and smoking. I froze the herring on styrofoam trays then put them in bags and vacuum packed them so they won’t smash.

  8. The 5-gallon bucket of herring I took last week was enough for me for the year. I don’t see how other people can stand taking so many fish. It took me 2 days to clean and prep all that herring. I gave some away; cooked a few; and pickled a bunch of them. I still have a bunch sitting in brine.

    They are really bony and difficult to eat– even for a professional Asian eater like myself. Next year, I will probably target bigger herring with a sabiki rig with a size 6 hook.

    • Point Richmond Spawn Report
      Another spawn was reported over the weekend at Point Richmond.

      Herring spawn- CDFW

      It was confirmed today on the eelgrass bed primarily outside the jetty east toward Brooks Island. The egg density was heavy on the entire bed. There were no signs of any herring in the vicinity but staff will continue to monitor for any new developments. This spawn is the eighth recorded for the 2017-18 season. We will expect a few more as we move into February and March.


  9. Where is Richardson’s Point/Ferry Point? I got an address in Alameda, but then I thought it might be in Richardson’s Bay?

  10. I’m looking for herring for bait . Work for many kinds of fish . Timing to hit the piers at the right time .Not sure how to prep to eat . Hope to get to the bay tomorrow .

  11. Oink – Oink, No one likes a game hog. I don’t think my 20 quart ice chest holds more than 5 gallon bucket. Having been a commercial fisherman from 1976 until September 2017 I would not take more than I could use. Now that I’m finally getting to go sport fishing I will enjoy making my own bait. I also like to smoke fish, half the fish went to make bait and the other half to eat / experiment with. First two of us one scaling the herring and one heading and gutting kept 20 for the BBQ they were great. I then went one step further (better love what you do) I filleted the rest brined and smoked them. Not bad for the first time a little salty but good with a cold beer,a little tweaking on recipe and I’ve got great snacks.

    • I found that putting the herring in a salt brine and pickling them with spiced vinegar works the best. That’s the way they do it in Europe. Herrings are like hot dogs to Europeans. I pickled a bunch of herring and found that removing the spine and bones became even easier after it’s been cured a few days. Really great with dark rye bread, cream cheese and onions. They taste a bit like mackerel you have in a Japanese restaurant– probably good with some soy sauce too if you don’t care about the other style.

      Here’s the recipe I used:


      Of course, I plan to use some as bait too.

      • That’s an awesome recipe. I know a few Russians and northern European
        people that love this fish. I’m a bait person so i let them have their fill of the larger ones. Maybe i’ll try to pickle them and give them as presents. =)

        Thanks for sharing!! – LA

    • I just went over to Ferry Pt. in Richmond and caught nothing.

      I also used a sabiki rig and pulled up some eel grass with some herring eggs all over it. So the spawning there happened already. When a spawn occurs already in one area, will herring want to spawn over it again in the same season?

  12. DF&W Said there’s some spawning activity at Keller beach and around cypress point. I don’t know how much but maybe worth a shot.I cannot go due to game tomorrow.

    • I’m not sure. Some if the guys here may have heard something but when they show up I’ll post or someone will comment. Just keep an eye out and ears to the floor.

  13. Was at richmond / ferry point . Could see a spawn at the rock jetty at the entence of harbor .. Many birds going crazy and making very loud noises . Didn’t get herring at pier but did get pike .Really nice day out by the water . A guy at the pier was at the tiberon pier and said he got many herring with a net a few days earlier . Middle of last week .

  14. Looks to be pretty slow out there. Haven’t heard any rumors of the tiny fish swimming around the bay. I’m cautiously optimistic that it is not over, but will continue to wait it out.
    Seems like crescent city up north recently got their herring spawn. I have heard rumors that
    when they are done spawning here they head north. I am not sure if it is the same school or possibly a different school of fish that spawn up north.

  15. 2-12-18 11:00 am. DF&W Posted herring milling from the brothers light station to Point Molate. That’s a lot of shoreline,did anyone happen to go by that area over the weekend?

  16. I passed it on the way to crabbing at Doran from Alameda. Huge spawn visible from Richmond bridge. Didn’t seem close to shore though

  17. 2-18-18. 3:30 PM Took a long ride looking for ghost herring up from San Jose across the gate to Sausalito,all the way around Tiburon over to San Quentin across San Rafael Bridge over to Molate Point back around Point Richmond area and Berkeley a beautiful drive,BUT ALAS FOR NOT…….

  18. There’s a new report on CDFW, dated Feb-17, about a spawn in Richardson Bay. The spawn event is described light by small schools of herring. The commercial fleet is still looking to fill 104 tons of quota remaining in the even platoon fishery. Doesn’t mean that they’ll get it but it’s not over yet.

    • I think there maybe smaller spawns happening but the larger ones are most likely gone.
      If i can get on a smaller spawn i’ll try and get there. The fish are smaller (Bait Size) and just the size that i like. I’ll probably start transitioning over to halibut soon.

      • It’s a similar situation for me. I have a batch of herring from the Coyote spawn and if it’s convenient I’ll add to it. During the summer months I usually come across large schools of anchovies and mackerels and will replenish my bait stash then. On that note, I recently taught myself to throw a cast net from a sit-inside kayak and am thinking of cast netting on the ocean rather than using a sabiki. Looking forward to an exciting season, these herring should catch some big fish. Thanks to all for sharing your intel on this blog.

  19. Hey guys heard I heard herring are back at Paradise. Any confirmation on this? I’ll give the ranger station a call but any first hand info is appreciated.

  20. 2-24-18. 10:30 PM. Took my ride around the bay today and didn’t see anything that looked promising,maybe it’s time to tie up gear and get ready. The lack of rain should get the bay warming up and hopefully the flatties.

  21. Hey guys, I’m gonna start transitioning to my favorite flat fish –halibut!
    I’m considering putting together a Fish and Learn in the early spring. If you guys are interested and want to use some of your sex herring to catch halibut comment on the post (front page). If there are enough interest I will organize something. Fish, Chill and Learn.
    BBQ is also very likely – The Lost Anchovy

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