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Ocean fishing piers are ubiquitous along the world’s coastline, yet little research has examined how these structures can attract and retain fishes. Fishers routinely use these manmade structures as a reliable way to catch fish for subsistence or recreation. California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) and white croaker (Genyonemus lineatus) are commonly caught from fishing piers in southern California; however, some individuals have been found to contain high concentrations of hazardous contaminants. Thus, human health hazard warnings are posted throughout the Los Angeles area to limit fish consumption. To document attraction, residency, and association to fishing piers, forty-two California halibut and 198 white croaker were tagged with acoustic transmitters in regions of the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors, including a local fishing pier, and the movements of these fish were tracked throughout a 1.5 year period. Average (± SD) fish residency near piers was 90.5 ± 104.8 days for California halibut and 31.9 ± 25.7 days for white croaker. Only 18% of white croaker and 6% California halibut were detected migrating to the pier from other locations of the LA-LB Harbors, and most spent < 10 min within 300 m of the public fish pier. Only 14% of California halibut and 0.35% of white croaker geo-positions were within casting range (approximately 30 m) of the pier, thus California halibut show the greatest potential affinity for pier habitat. Due to their movement patterns and habitat associations California halibut are much more likely to be attracted to fishing piers than white croaker.