We characterized 24 polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite loci for delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) endemic to the San Francisco Bay Estuary, CA, USA. Screening of samples (n = 30) yielded two to 26 alleles per locus with observed levels of heterozygosity ranging from 0.17 to 1.0. Only one locus deviated from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, suggesting these individuals originate from a single panmictic population. Linkage disequilibrium was found in two pairs of loci after excluding the locus out of Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. Twenty-two primer pairs cross-amplified in wakasagi smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis), and 15 primer pairs cross-amplified in longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys).