Cormorant feeding frenzies like the one in the accompanying photo are a good sign that herring have returned to the Bay.
According to the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, “In California, herring are found offshore during the spring and summer months foraging in the open ocean. The largest spawning aggregations in California occur in San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay. Beginning as early as October and continuing as late as April, schools of adult herring migrate inshore to bays and estuaries to spawn.”
There have been scattered reports of herring off the shores of Sausalito and a few herring hunters targeting them during the high tide in the evening. The fish can be caught via boat or kayak or with nets thrown from shore.
And, not coincidentally, the 2023 Herring Festival fundraiser for the Sausalito Community Boating Center takes place at the banquet room of the Spinnaker Restaurant from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, February 24 (rescheduled from this weekend, February 5th—the website linked above has not yet been updated for this, but the ticket link below is up-to-date). This year’s tenth annual festival will be a social event that culminates in a magic show by local magician Brad Barton. Guests will enjoy fishy dishes offered by California Caviar Company, Davey Jones Deli, Wildcrafting by Maria Finn, and San Francisco Herring Company. General admission tickets are $75 on Eventbrite.