Commercial Fishing History

Bodega Bay, CA

The Fishing industry is one of the oldest and most primary industries along the North Coast of California. One of the reasons California Indians were quite peaceful was the abundance of food, including fish. And since the Gold Rush era, fisheries have been profitable along California’s streams and shoreline. Salmon, sturgeon, pike, perch, dake, chub, suckers, hard-heads, narrow-tails and more were being caught in large quantities.

The salmon fisheries were most important during the late 1800s-the fish were far beyond average size salmon caught along the Eastern Seaboard and ranged from 20 to 50 pounds. Fishing was an important commercial resource for California. Commercial fishing is a traditional industry with a colorful history of adventure, independence, and hard work. Although fishing techniques have been enhanced with modern equipment, our fisherfolk must still endure the challenges of the sea with each fishing effort- and those at home must wait for the return of each trip. Each year, Bodega Bay sponsors a Bodega Bay Fishermans Festival, which includes a blessing of the fishing fleet. These annual blessings had their start more than 50 years ago when the event was part of a celebration commemorating Lt. Juan Francisco.