ADVISORY: RED ABALONE RECREATIONAL FISHERY REMAINS CLOSED.
Your Source for Diving and Fishing in Sea Ranch/Mendonoma Area
Diving and fishing in Sea Ranch is the reason we bought Abalone Bay. Are you planning a diving and fishing vacation?
Well then, you’ve come to the right spot! Abalone Bay is your perfect location.
Of course, you’ll want to save this page because it’s chock full of information for the Sea Ranch diving and fishing enthusiast.
Divers and Fishermen are welcome to stay at Abalone Bay
Diving and fishing in Sea Ranch! What could be better?
You wake up early in the morning, look out the window to discover the water is flat, the tide low, while the fish and abalone just wait patiently for you to finish your first cup of coffee before you come out and play.
If this sounds like your kind of morning, or you know of someone who fits this bill, then by all means…
PLEASE BE ADVISED:
THE RED ABALONE RECREATIONAL FISHERY IS CLOSED UNTIL 2026.
THERE IS NO PERMITTED TAKING OF ANY ABALONE FROM THE CALIFORNIA COAST.
BUT THERE IS PLENTY TO DO BESIDES HARVESTING ABALONE…SO PLEASE READ ON.
Before you go diving and fishing in Sea Ranch…
- Be absolutely certain you have your California sports and fishing tags on your person and that you follow all current regulations.
- EQUALLY IMPORTANT – KNOW where the marine sanctuaries are located. Use our trail maps to point them out.
- DO NOT dive, fish, or otherwise disturb the wildlife in any marine reserve or habitat sanctuary.
- Only the person(s) on Abalone Bay’s booking contract and no more than four (4) other guests may dive.
- You may access the ocean bluff trail by crossing through our property only. Please stay on our path to the bluff trail. Do Not cut across our neighbor’s property.
- Use the hoses to rinse off your dive gear and yourself. DO NOT USE THE HOT TUB TO RINSE EQUIPMENT OR YOURSELF- it was not meant for that! But by all means, enjoy it afterward.
Diving and Fishing Amenities at Abalone Bay
As abalone divers and fishers of the sea ourselves, Abalone Bay was designed to be perfect for those who enjoy the sport. You’ll love that we are just a short walk to Smugglers Cove (easy staircase access) or Pebble Beach. Not only is a wetsuit drying rack available, but we also have a fish cleaning station with added pegs for our diving and fishing enthusiasts!
There’ll be no need to worry about the messes afterward because in the garage you will find extra towels to help with the clean-up. We just ask that you please wash them prior to departure to avoid added housekeeping charges.
When diving and fishing in Sea Ranch there is one very important rule to take note of. All equipment MUST be stored inside our courtyard for safety and compliance with Sea Ranch HOA rules. Do not hang it across the fence or outside of the courtyard.
NOTE- RED ABALONE SEASON IS CLOSED. NO ABALONE MAY BE TAKEN FROM CALIFORNIA COASTS
Fishing Safety Tips
- Check the trail maps and know where the marine reserve/protected areas are – then avoid them!
- Fish with a buddy- to corroborate the size of the one that got away, and if needed in an emergency, can dial 911.
- NEVER TURN YOUR BACK TO THE OCEAN. Sneaker waves are common along the northern coast.
- Wear shoes that will support a climb down lose shale and sand, slippery rocks, and back up again while carrying your equipment and freshly caught fish.
- Let someone know where you will be fishing
Diving and Fishing Resources
There’s an App for That
The California Fish and Game now have an app to help assure anglers know where, and more importantly where not to go! This new series of 38 detailed regional maps depict the coastal, island, and offshore areas that are open (or closed) to groundfish fishing. Click on the section of coastline you are interested in to download a detailed map of California Rockfish Conservation Area waypoints and lines.
See what fishing in The Sea Ranch Area looks like. Note that fishing Del Mar Landing is restricted. Below Sea Ranch, Salt Point State Park is also restricted.
It is also important to recognize this map only shows California Fish and Game restricted areas. The Sea Ranch also has its own Marine Reserves, not shown here.
Map of Sea Ranch fishing area taken from Ocean Sport Fishing Interactive Web Map – link below:
Sea Ranch Tides
We recommend the following tide tables for planning your fishing and diving experience near Sea Ranch Abalone Bay.
How great is this chart? When you click on the link below you’ll be taken to a site that shows you current water conditions just outside of Abalone Bay!
Here is another option for tides checking for the cove in front of Sea Ranch Abalone Bay courtesy of TidesChart.com
A favorite Tide Chart of ours is from WillyWeather. It provides a wide range of data for Sea Ranch as a whole, including weather, wind rainfall, as well as tides and swell.
Links to information on diving and fishing the Mendonoma coast
Before you go diving or fishing make sure you know current regulations for the area in which you will be fishing or diving! You can be certain that there will be changes each year that will affect where and how you dive or fish, as well as how many you may pull out of the water – no matter the species.
Hot Spots for Fishing
Wanting more hot fishing spots? Then click the portion of the California coast area where you plan to fish. Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing within MPAs. Visit the MPA pages for more information. Look specifically in the San Francisco Management Area for fishing areas within The Sea Ranch and neighboring area.
- Northern Management Area
The California-Oregon border to Cape Mendocino (40°10′ N. latitude)
- Mendocino Management Area
Cape Mendocino (40°10′ N. latitude) to Point Arena (38°57.5′ N. latitude)
- San Francisco Management Area
Point Arena (38°57.5′ N. latitude) to Pigeon Point (37°11′ N. latitude)
- Central Management Area
Pigeon Point (37°11′ N. latitude) to Point Conception (34°27′ N. latitude)
- Southern Management Area
Point Conception (34°27′ N. latitude) to the U.S.-Mexico border
- Cowcod Conservation Areas
- Northern Management Area
Pier Fishing at Point Arena Cove
The pier sits in the Point Arena Cove. Though small (only 330-feet long), Point Arena’s Pier in the Point Arena Cove is one of the best fishing piers in the state. Anglers looking to hook rocky-area species like striped seaperch, kelp greenling, rock greenling and cabezon are likely to bring home generally good quality fish. In fact, many are prize pier specimens. It is also the best pier to catch lingcod and a fair pier to catch salmon.
About Point Arena Pier
Point Arena itself juts out to the west (and is, in fact, the closest point in the continental United States to Hawaii). Offshore of the concrete pier sits the world’s deepest waters in the Mendocino Trench, and the underwater Arena Canyon and Navarro Canyon begin directly out from the Point.
The pier has a boat launch and a hoist, open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, depending on the weather. Also on the pier are fish-cleaning tables, outdoor showers, and restrooms.
A wide variety of rock-area species are hauled out of the pier. They include:
- kelp and rock greenling,
- white and (a few) calico percalico perch,
- walleye and silver surfperch,
- grass, black and blue rockfish,
- small bocaccio,
- Pacific tomcod,
- starry flounder
- the occasional salmon.
Unusual species include large buffalo sculpin and wolf eels.
The rocky bottom cove itself is 20-100 feet deep, sits southeast of the point and is protected somewhat from northwest winds and storms. A small stream feeds into the ocean at the left of the pier, and there are reefs to both the south and north of the pier.
Eat, Drink, Swap Fishing Tales
For the non-fishing members of your party, they’ll enjoy hanging out Point Arena Chowder House or any of the other eateries next to the pier. The family-friendly pier building complex offers a great place to warm up on a cold fog fishing plus great views of the pier and cove’s beaches. Kids can find shells along the cove’s beaches and even watch surfers catch waves into the sheltered fishing pier and boat landing, It is THE place to go for Fourth of July festivities.
More Mendonoma/Northern California Marine Fishing Spots
Below are areas anglers enjoy dipping their hooks into.
River Fishing Nearby
The Gualala River has a good steelhead trout run. Steelhead is present from late December – April. Steelhead fishing on the Gualala River is primarily a catch and release fishery. Only the rare stray hatchery-reared and marked fish can be kept. Access to the area near the mouth is available off Hwy 1 just north of the river, through Gualala Point Regional Park on the south side of the river, off Old Stage Road immediately south of the town of Gualala on the river’s north side, and at Valley Crossing on Annapolis Road about a 1 east of Hwy 1.
Fishing on the Gualala River is restricted to adequate flows between October 1 through April 30 of each year. Anglers should check the Department’s Low-Flow Hotline at 707-944-5533 before going fishing on the Gualala River.
Gualala River Fishing Holes and Access:
The Gualala River has a good steelhead trout run. Steelhead is present from late December – April. Steelhead fishing on the Gualala River is primarily a catch and release fishery. The Gualala River has a long history (at least 50 years) of attracting fly fishermen from near and far. Whether you fly fish or use a spinning rod, fishing for Steelhead on the Gualala River is truly a sport.
Only the rare stray hatchery-reared and marked fish can be kept. Access to the area near the mouth is available off Hwy 1 just north of the river, through Gualala Point Regional Park on the south side of the river, off Old Stage Road immediately south of the town of Gualala on the river’s north side, and at Valley Crossing on Annapolis Road about a 1 east of Hwy 1. Fishing on the Gualala River is restricted to adequate flows between October 1 through April 30 of each year. Anglers should check the Department’s Low-Flow Hotline at 707-944-5533 before going fishing on the Gualala River.
Steelhead, a sea-run Rainbow Trout, live and grow for approximately a year in the brackish water of the lagoon before swimming to the ocean. They return to their home river as adult fish after two-three years where they spawn if river conditions are favorable.
Species found in the Gualala River and Garcia Rivers include Steelhead. To learn more about this species we recommend reading Secrets of Steelhead Biology.
Other Recommended Fishing Websites
For further information and current California fishing season reports we recommend the following websites:
- USAFishing.com: includes northern California fishing tips and information
- Nor Cal Fishing News: includes fishing reports of the Bay Area and North Coast
Tips for Diving and Fishing Sea Ranch And Mendonoma Area
Abalone Harvesting has been suspended through 2026. Should you harvest any abalone in California you will be charged with poaching.
But that doesn’t mean spearfishing is out of the question!
To show you how successful divers use to do it you’ll want to read our Sea Ranch Abalone Bay Blog post: Trophy Abalone Diving at Sea Ranch and Mendonoma Area
Another first-person account is In California, Diving for an Elusive Delicacy by Bonnie Tsui. As above, this first-person account published in October 2013 in the New York Times also describes diving for abalone in Northern California.
Resources for Diving and Fishing Equipment
A favorite resource of ours is SEALS Watersports. They are a good source for the rental and purchase of dive and other water sports equipment. Further, they offer classes too. Be sure to stop there on your way up to Sea Ranch. Their address is: 2112 Armory Dr. Santa Rosa, California 95401
A Mendonoma local resource is Gualala Sport and Tackle.They rent dive suits, surf suits, paddle boards and surfboards for the adventuresome customer!
Resources for Diving and Fishing Reports
We recommend you subscribe to USA Fishing to get the Hot Sheet Fishing Report on tips and updates on the fishery in Northern California.
Diving and Fishing Clubs
Are you in need of a dive buddy or looking for a fun group to dive with? Then try NorCal Skin Divers Club. Northern California Skin Divers Club is commonly referred to as NORCAL. They are one of the oldest dive clubs in California.
And of course, you’ll want to bookmark this site: SCUBA Shore Diving Sites- Northern California. Once there, just click on the map to learn more about dive sites in northern California
Northern California Rainbow Divers (NCRD) is a no-take, non-profit SCUBA diving club for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered divers and their friends.
Without a doubt, you’ll want to check out California Diver Magazine. This is both a print as well as the online magazine that provides digital content through their website for free to thousands of divers worldwide.
For a large listing of resources check out Northern California Dive Shops and other Professional Services