The Dumbarton pier
is located inside the Don Edwards San
Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Originally built in 1927, it was the first
automobile bridge to span the San Francisco Bay. It stayed in use until 1982, when the
bridge running parallel to it was opened. In 1985, the middle sections of the old bridge
were removed and the remainder left intact to serve as a fishing pier. The western half,
called the Ravenswood pier, is closed indefinitely. While the eastern side, Dumbarton
pier, is open from sunrise to sunset.
Within the past
several years, the wildlife refuge has implemented a road closure on Marshlands Road to
protect threatened birds breeding in the area. Beginning on April 1 and lasting until
August 31, the last three miles of the road leading to the pier is closed to vehicular
traffic. During this road closure period, the pier is available by foot or bike. To make life a little easier
a small shuttle bus is used on the weekends. It leaves from the closed gate at
9am, 1pm, and 5pm. The 5pm trip is a return trip only. Reservations must be made to use the shuttle. Call (510) 792-0222 for
During the spring and summer, most of the fishing is for leopard sharks,
bat rays, several species of surfperch and the occasional striper. But where this pier really
shines, is in the winter, when the sturgeon move into the area. It's not unusual to go a week or more
with at least one sturgeon being caught each day. Use a stout pole with 20-30 pound test line, and a
sturgeon leader. Bait it with either grass shrimp, mud shrimp, or my personal favorite, a
chunk of bay herring.
Please remember that it is illegal to gaff a sturgeon, so you'll
need to use alternate method to haul the fish onto the pier. Some people use crab nets, others
prefer to use a snare.
From I880,take the Hwy 84 west exit to Thornton Ave.
(the last exit before the tollbooths). Follow the road south to the entrance of the Don Edwards
San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Take Marshlands Road to the end.
There is no entrance or parking fees.