Fishing out of Shelter Cove
Both commercial and sport fishing are important to the Shelter Cove community. We have many local anglers, as well as many anglers from outside of Shelter Cove, who come here every year to partake in our exceptional fishing.
Below is an incomplete summary of how and what to fish for here in Shelter Cove with lots of fish photos. Also: Check out our Boat Launch Services here.
Anglers use both shore-based and watercraft of all types to fish at Shelter Cove.
SHORE BASED anglers can access many areas around Shelter Cove from the beaches to the rocky areas, but many prefer the calm waters at the boat ramp and jetty.
Due to the possibility of large swells and dangerous conditions any time of the year along the Shelter Cove coast, only the calmest days are considered safe enough to fish in some exposed areas. Make sure you know the weather and tidal conditions from out Links Page here before you fish from the shore.
VESSEL BASED anglers access the water from the protected cove at the boat ramp. Small craft from paddle boards and kayaks to zodiacs and small boats make it out to the open waters to fish. The smallest boats can be self-launched, but due to the minimal slopes at the launch area, most boaters use the tractor service to get safely launched. Read more about boat ramp issues here.
CHARTER BOAT SERVICES Shelter Cove has a few different charter boat businesses here that provide both half and full day fishing adventures. Two of these services are listed on our Links Page.
Shelter Cove has a wide variety of fish and sea creatures to try and catch. Of course the State of California requires a fishing license that can be purchased at most sporting good stores or our own Shelter Cove General Store. Know the rules before you fish: California Dept of Fish and Wildlife.
The most popular catch here in Shelter Cove are Salmon and a wide variety of rock fish (snapper). But many anglers love the challenge of both the Pacific and California Halibut at the right times of year. During the calmest summer days, when the waters are just right, there will be a number of boats that will travel offshore for the albacore tuna that come by.
Jesse Kinsella won the 2021 Big Fish Contest in the Salmon Category 34.5 pounds
The minimum size is 20 inches for Chinook salmon. Silver (Coho) salmon are not allowed to be kept in California.
ROCKFISH SEASON dates and regulations for Mendocino area. Boat-based Anglers open May 1 –
PACIFIC HALIBUT SEASON open May 1 and remain open until October 31, or until the quota has been reached, whichever is earlier. Halibut Regulations Link
Lets not forget the wonderful flat fish that can be caught here in The Cove. We have California Halibut, The big Pacific Halibut, Starry Flounder, Petr-ole Sole, Sand Dabs, and a few other Sole species too.
California Halibut can be fished year round, but usually are caught in the late spring and summer months here in Shelter Cove. People catch them from the shore at the boat ramp, often at the higher tides in summer. Kayakers are also quite successful inside the moorings of the Cove and in the sandy areas out in front and north of the Light House.
The California Halibut are just one of numerous fish that come into the Boat Ramp area chasing bait fish that usually arrive in the spring, summer or fall. Many anglers use throw-nets to catch the variety of bait fish.
Petr-ole Sole and Sand Dabs are a favorite of many anglers and can be caught year-round. They are best found north of the Whistle Buoy in the sandy flats that go from 60 feet depth to 300 ft or more. More often, the best depths seem to be from 120 to 180 ft deep in the summer and fall.