Wharf Walks - History of Salmon Fishing - June 6, 2021

Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf Association Continues "Wharf Walks - Walking Tours at Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf" on Sunday, June 6, 2020  --- “The History of Salmon Fishing on the Monterey Bay."

May 2021. Monterey, CA. The Monterey Fisherman's Wharf Association continues to team up with noted Monterey Bay Fisheries Historian and author, Tim Thomas, who is offering monthly "Wharf Walks - Walking Tours at Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf" (www.montereywharf.com) on the first Saturday of every month from 10:00 AM - Noon.

Wharf Walks will be held on June 6th with a focus on, "The History of Salmon Fishing on the Monterey Bay."   Tours meet at the head of Old Fisherman's Wharf (near the pink "Harbor House" store, #1 Old Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey. Advance reservations are required by calling Tim Thomas at (831) 521-3304 or via email [email protected]. Note: Tim will bring a portable speaker if people want to stand a little further away to hear his interesting presentation! 

The tour is for ages 10-adult only and the cost is $20 for adults and kids are $15 (10-15 years).  Group Rates are also available.

In addition to fresh local salmon, locals and visitors can enjoy a wide array of delicious entrees at Old Fisherman’s Wharf including other fresh seafood, steaks, pasta and much more. These Monterey Wharf restaurants are serving some great locally caught salmon entrees as well as wild caught salmon from other regions.

Salmon can be prepared in many delicious heart-healthy ways! Here are some special salmon entrees and appetizers visitors to Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf can often enjoy: 

Abalonetti Bar and Grill: Entrée:

Oven roasted salmon filet, stuffed with crab, shrimp, scallops and artichokes served with garlic sautéed spinach, topped with Hollandaise sauce.  

Big Fish Grill: Appetizer:

Appetizer - Grilled salmon cakes with roasted red pepper aioli.

Crab Louie’s Bistro

Fresh wild salmon grilled and topped with lemon caper cream sauce, served with grilled prawns and fresh vegetables.

Domenico’s on the Wharf

Wild stuffed salmon fillet with crab, shrimp, artichokes and roma tomatoes topped with Hollandaise sauce with mashed potatoes and house vegetables.

Paluca Trattoria

Pan seared local wild-caught salmon over fettuccine puttanesca, marinara, capers, garlic, anchovies, and black olives. 

Old Fisherman’s Grotto:

Broiled wild salmon, served with toasted Israeli couscous, sautéed organic vegetables and lemon caper Beurré Blanc.

Scales Seafood and Steaks:

Apricot-Jalapeño Glazed Wild Salmon, roasted on a Cedar Plank with creamy risotto and vegetables. 

Scales Café & Deli

Fresh Local Smoked Salmon Sandwich, cream cheese, capers, red onion on ciabatta bread.

Recreational fishing trips can also be booked at J & M Sport Fishing or Chris’ Fishing Trips daily on Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf. 

About the History of Salmon Fishing in Monterey

It was heart-healthy salmon – not sardines – that put Monterey on the map! The “Salmon Stravaganza Celebration” which takes place beginning May, 2018 through Salmon season on the Monterey Bay, honors the history and importance of salmon fishing in the Monterey Bay by the restaurants on Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf. In fact, many restaurant owners and Wharf merchants have a multi-generational family history in the local commercial fishing industry. 

Respected Fisheries Historian, Tim Thomas, conducts monthly “Wharf Walks” on the first Saturday of every month with a focus on the history of salmon fishing on May 5th. According to Thomas, F. E. Booth, the “Father” of the modern sardine industry, was in the salmon business along the Sacramento River before moving to Monterey around 1896 due to the large salmon landings then being made by mostly Japanese fishermen. Booth came here because of the large salmon landings--not sardine.

When he couldn't get contracts from the Japanese salmon fishermen, he began to experiment with the large sardines that would appear in the bay in later summer, early fall months. Around 1900, the City of Monterey leased the small piece of property next to the Monterey Wharf to a man named H.R. Robbins.

On Mr. Robbins' lease, it says': "For the purposes of sardine cannery, reduction plant and dance hall." Booth bought him out in 1903, got the salmon contracts from the Japanese fishermen and continued to can sardine as a secondary fishery until WWI. 

In 1909, it was reported at the end of the three month salmon season at the time, there were 185 salmon boats working the Monterey Bay (about 145 of them were Japanese-owned). They were catching an average of one million pounds of King Salmon in those three months.

Also, it was sport fishermen and tourists from the legendary Hotel Del Monte that introduced fishing salmon with trolling lines and a rod and a reel that revolutionized the modern fishing industry. About 90% of that early salmon was going to Europe—mostly to Germany.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch

Monterey Bay Whale Watch (http://www.montereybaywhalewatch.com) on Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf will offer a $3.00 off coupon for all Wharf Walks participants of the June 6th Wharf Walk.  

About Wharf Walks

For thousands of years people have made their living fishing the Monterey Bay, beginning with the Rumsien Ohlone, the Native People of the Monterey area. From abalone to rockfish, everything was fished and utilized and the Monterey Bay was a multi-cultural stew, made up of whalers from the Azores, squid fishermen from China, salmon fishermen and abalone divers from Japan, and Sicilians fishing sardines in the "dark of the moon." This entertaining tour of Old Fisherman's Wharf and the waterfront will take us back in time to explore the history of the Monterey Wharf, early history of the Monterey waterfront, The Rumsien/Ohlone People--Monterey's first fishermen, the abalone industry, whaling the bay and of course, the legendary sardine industry. Discover some of the people and cultures of Monterey's colorful past and hear fascinating stories about Old Fisherman's Wharf and those who worked and walked there. Learn more about the sardine and squid industry, too.

About Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas, fourth-generation native of the Monterey area, is a popular speaker and lively tour guide. For 16 years, he was historian and curator for the Monterey Maritime & History Museum and has worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He is author of "The Abalone King of Monterey: 'Pop' Ernest Doelter," "The Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula" and co-author of "Monterey's Waterfront." 

About Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf 

A visit to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula just isn’t complete without a rendezvous with Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Built in 1845 for regular passenger and freight service, the Wharf was recently a main location for the filming of the hit HBO series, Big Little Lies, Season One. 


Known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the World” and a top destination of visitors from around the world that attracts 4 million visitors per year (typically), Monterey’s Old Fisherman's Wharf features 13 restaurants, 3 candy shops, 9 gift shops, 4 whale watching firms, 2 fishing companies and sailing, glass bottom boat rides, Bay cruises, fish markets, an ice cream store and the Wharf Theatre.


Enjoy award-winning dining, special events, viewing an array of marine life, and strolling leisurely in a gorgeous setting overlooking the Monterey Bay on the only Wharf that features live theatre. Savor delicious cuisine at a myriad of fabulous restaurants featuring stunning views and award-winning Italian food, sustainable seafood, steaks including the region’s famous clam chowder and calamari. Enjoy salt water taffy, homemade chocolates, caramel apples, cotton candy and many other yummy treats.  


View sea otters, sea lions, dolphins, whales, sea birds and other wildlife up close and personal that also share the Wharf. Watch people who have gone out and caught their own fish on the local and chartered fishing boats return with their own “catch of the day”.  Celebrate the first location in Monterey County where tender abalone was cooked and served in a restaurant. Check out the many fun shops to find the perfect memento of your visit and a variety of unique gifts. Take in the exquisite views and enjoy the “best place to walk and people watch” in Monterey County!  Situated near downtown Monterey, Old Fisherman’s Wharf is conveniently located along the Monterey Bay Recreation Trail.


Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf continues to feature its popular “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf” free VIP Card promotion available on the website with two dozen special offers for both locals and visitors. By showing a local ID with “939” in the zip code, locals can park for free for two hours Monday through Thursday in the parking lot adjacent to Old Fisherman’s Wharf by requesting a validation stamp from the Wharf merchants.


For more information about Old Fisherman’s Wharf, go to www.montereywharf.com or call 831.238-0777.