Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

Fish And Game Sets River Salmon Seasons

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

California’s inland salmon anglers can look forward to a better salmon fishing season than last year. A projected return of 379,600 spawning Sacramento River fall-run Chinook Salmon to Central Valley rivers has allowed fishery managers to return to a two salmon daily limit with four salmon in possession. This is a welcome increase over last year’s regulations, which restricted anglers to one salmon per day and two in possession.

The Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon ocean abundance forecast of 274,200 adults allows anglers a daily limit of two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches.

“It is excellent that the predicted Central Valley returns are high enough to offer anglers the opportunity to take two salmon daily and four in possession,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “Klamath River fall Chinook Salmon returns are predicted to be above average, and that should provide good angling opportunity.”

State and federal fisheries managers crafted conservative ocean seasons to return even more Sacramento fall-run Chinook Salmon back to the spawning grounds than normal this fall. This is required under the federal Fisheries Management Plan because long-term stock abundance has fallen below minimum management goals after several recent years when spawning salmon returns were too low. Inland fishing seasons adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission reflect this ongoing effort to rebuild stocks while providing angling opportunity.

The following bag, possession limits and seasons were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission at its meeting earlier this week.

Central Valley Rivers:

Daily limit of two fish per day and a possession limit of four fish. On the American and Feather rivers, the general season opener is July 16. On the Sacramento River below Deschutes Road Bridge to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the season opens Aug. 1 and closes Dec. 16. From below the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to the Carquinez Bridge, the season opens July 16 and closes Dec. 16. Chinook Salmon fishing opportunity was expanded on the Mokelumne and Feather River. On the Feather River, the season change will extend fishing opportunity by additional two weeks. On the Mokelumne River, almost 10 miles of additional habitat is open to salmon fishing.

Klamath River Basin:

Daily limit of two Chinook Salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches. The Klamath River adult fall run Chinook Salmon quota is 7,637 adults and the season opens Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31, while the Trinity River opens to salmon fishing on Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31. Seasons and areas with defined sub-quotas are subject to closure once the quota is reached in each subsection.

The 2019-2020 sport seasons, dates, locations, bag limits and gear restrictions will be published in the 2019-2020 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479.

Winter-Run Chinook On The Upswing In Sac River

The following press release is courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: 

RED BLUFF, California – Wildlife and water management officials are heralding the early returns of a special group of winter-run Chinook salmon this spring to the Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek near Red Bluff along the Sacramento River.

As of (yesterday), 13 fish that were released into Battle Creek a year ago to journey to the ocean have found their way back to the hatchery. These fish were among 214,000 juveniles released last spring as part of a jump start program aimed at bolstering the endangered fish’s population after extreme drought in 2014 and 2015 nearly wiped out the entire in-river juvenile population.

The fish that have returned so far this year are early achievers – most winter-run take two to three years to make their way back to breeding areas, and officials say the fact that some are showing up this year is a good sign.

“It’s a hard life for a juvenile salmon from release until return and it’s always exciting to see that they have made it back,” said Jim Smith, project leader for the Red Bluff office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This is a significant step towards success of expanding the current range of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and in the recovery of this unique species.”

“We are excited to see the early implementation of this important recovery action for winter-run is yielding such promising results so soon,” said Howard Brown, NOAA Fisheries biologist for the California Central Valley Office. “We are hopeful that seeing these early-returning fish this year is an indication of what we might expect to see when three-year old fish start arriving next year.”

North Fork of Battle Creek is historic habitat for winter-run Chinook salmon. Resource managers from the Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Program, comprised of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation and NOAA Fisheries, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, have invested more than $100 million since 1999 to restore about 48 miles of prime salmon and steelhead habitat.

“This is a promising sign for reintroduction of endangered winter-run into Battle Creek,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer. “We are looking forward to completion of restoration projects in the watershed, which will allow these fish to migrate to and thrive in the headwaters of upper Battle Creek.”

“Returns of winter-run Chinook in the Sacramento River used to be as high as nearly 100,000 fish in the 1960s and supported a healthy in-river fishery,” said Smith. “Recovery of this run is important to eventually reestablish this fishery. Other runs of salmon can also benefit from a recovered winter-run population, since these other salmon fisheries have been reduced to protect the winter-run salmon that mingle together in the ocean.”

The confirmed returnees are all male two-year-old fish.  Winter-run usually return as three-year-olds, so additional returns are expected next year from the 2018 release. Juvenile releases in 2018 and 2019 are from captive brood stock spawned at Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery in 2017 and 2018. The eggs and fry were transferred to Coleman and raised for about five months before being released into Battle Creek.

For more information, please see:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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Attorney General Introduces Suit Over Shasta Dam

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra introduced litigation against the Westlands Water District’s plan to raise Shasta Dam. 

Here’s Becerra’s statement off the attorney general’s website:

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit to block Westlands Water District (Westlands) from taking unlawful action to assist in the planning and construction of a project to raise the height of Shasta Dam. The project poses significant adverse effects on the free-flowing condition of the McCloud River and on its wild trout fishery, both of which have special statutory protections under the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The Act prohibits any agency of the State of California, such as Westlands, from assisting or cooperating with actions to raise the Shasta Dam. In addition to the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Becerra, a coalition represented by Earthjustice has filed a separate suit. The coalition includes Friends of the River, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, and Golden Gate Salmon Association.

“This project is unlawful. It would create significant environmental and cultural impacts for the communities and habitats surrounding the Shasta Dam,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today we ask the court to block this illegal attempt by the Westlands Water District to circumvent state law.”

“Californians decided to protect the McCloud River in 1989 because it’s valuable to all of us. The ill-conceived dam raise would flood a free-flowing reach of the river, harm a prized fishery, and destroy sacred tribal sites.  It’s time to end Westlands’ disrespect of the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act,” said Ron Stork of Friends of the River.

“The dam raise would harm—not help— salmon downstream of the dam.  The science, including the findings of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, clearly shows this harm, which is why we’re taking action to protect all of the salmon in the Sacramento River,” said John McManus, President of the Golden Gate Salmon Association.

The lawsuit asserts that under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Westlands is prohibited from planning, funding, or assisting with any project that could adversely affect the McCloud River’s flow or its fishery.

Federal studies of the proposal concluded that raising the dam would increase the already inundated portion of the lower McCloud River by 39 percent. This further inundation would have a significant negative impact on the river’s fisheries and habitats, and submerge sacred sites of the Winnemem Wintu Native American Tribe. Much of the Winnemem Wintu’s native land was destroyed by the construction of the Shasta Dam in 1945.

Despite these impacts, Westlands has unlawfully assumed the lead agency status for the $1.3 billion project and has allocated funding of over $1 million for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act as part of its planning to become a 50 percent cost-sharing partner with the federal government.   

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

CalTrout To Team With Local Organizations To Relicense Potter Valley Project

The following press release is courtesy of CalTrout:

California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, and Sonoma Water announced today that they have entered into a planning agreement to explore pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project (Project) in the wake of PG&E’s decision to withdraw from the FERC relicensing process for the Project. The planning agreement aims to achieve a “Two-Basin Solution” that benefits water users and fish and wildlife in both the Russian River basin and the Eel River basin.

The Eel River is a high priority watershed for California Trout. “We are committed to finding a solution for the PG&E-owned Potter Valley Project that meets the needs of fish, water and people,” said California Trout Executive Director Curtis Knight.

PG&E’s FERC license for the Potter Valley Project will expire in 2022. PG&E’s withdrawal from the relicensing process and its subsequent declaration of bankruptcy have provided an opportunity for CalTrout and local partners to work proactively to find solutions that improve the health of the Eel River watershed while respecting the needs of the many water users who currently depend on Eel River water.

The planning agreement between CalTrout, Sonoma Water and the Inland Water & Power Commission was prompted by Congressman Huffman’s “Ad Hoc Committee” process, which convened over twenty-five public, private, and governmental entities seeking to identify a solution that met water needs in both the Eel River and Russian River basins, known as the ‘Two-Basin Solution’” for the Potter Valley Project relicensing effort.

The three initial parties to the planning agreement have taken the initiative to push forward an affirmative solution in response to the compressed FERC timeline created by PG&E’s recent withdrawal from the relicensing process. The partners plan to move forward in a collaborative and transparent manner, while being inclusive of other stakeholders.

The process will build on significant work completed to date by members of the Ad Hoc Committee regarding fish passage above Scott Dam and water supply for both Eel and Russian River basins.

The planning agreement contains a set of principles ensuring that any proposal for relicensing the PVP will advance the mutual goals of the Two-Basin Solution, including: (i) restoration of viable, anadromous fisheries in both river basins, including the analysis of dam removal on the Eel River, (ii) continued water supply reliability that will meet the needs of consumptive water users in both basins, and (iii) hydroelectric generation (among other goals). All solutions will need to be based on the best available science and engineering.

“While CalTrout has taken this initial step forward with Sonoma Water and Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission to commit to finding a Two-Basin solution, we look forward to working with all stakeholders to solve this complex resource issue,” added Knight.


Bear Cub Injured In Camp Fire On Road To Recovery

Here’s a feel-good story from the horrible Camp Fire that struck the Chico/Paradise area last year.  A bear cub that was injured during the blaze is on the mend.

Here’s the Chico Enterprise-Record with more:

The bear weighed only about 15 pounds when Fish and Wildlife wardens picked him up from a tree in a Yankee Hill backyard where he’d been living for several days, begging for food.

It was taken to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center soon after its capture, where Cheryl Millham, founder of the wildlife center, said they often call their temporary residents by the area in which they were found. Thus, the little orphaned bear was named “Paradise.”

But it was touch-and-go for awhile, Lomeli said. Paradise was at extreme risk of death or organ failure due to malnutrition, but Millham and her team were able to feed him a fattening diet of fruits, baby formula and maple oatmeal — and the tiny bear cub grew to an encouraging 45 pounds.

Here’s to a full recovery, Paradise!


CDFW To Funs Multiple Restoration Projects Throughout The State

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 38 projects to receive funding for multi-benefit ecosystem restoration and protection projects under its Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 grant programs.

The awards, totaling $48.5 million, were made under two separate solicitations for projects focused in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and watersheds statewide.

CDFW participated in a joint solicitation in 2018 with the Delta Science Program and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for scientific studies projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Through this effort, CDFW awarded 11 projects a total of $7.3 million through its Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program.

CDFW conducted a second solicitation in 2018 with funding available from both Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Proposition 1 and Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Proposition 68 funding, resulting in the award of $41.2 million to 27 projects statewide, outside of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Of the $41.2 million, approximately $23.9 million was awarded through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program. Approximately $17.3 million was awarded through the Proposition 68 grant program which includes three separate focuses: Rivers and Streams, Southern California Steelhead and Habitat Improvement Projects.

“This year represents new opportunities for important projects getting off the ground, including long-planned efforts to support recovery of critical species and respond to new ecological challenges,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We look forward to continuing statewide restoration and protection efforts of our state’s watersheds.”

The awarded projects represent priorities outlined in the two solicitations, as well as the California Water Action Plan, State Wildlife Action Plan, Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, Delta Plan, California EcoRestore, Safeguarding California Plan, the California Biodiversity Initiative and the fulfillment of CDFW’s mission. This year marks CDFW’s first allocation of Proposition 68 funding and the fifth of 10 planned annual allocations of Proposition 1 funding.

Projects approved for funding through the Proposition 1 Watershed Restoration Grant Program and Proposition 68 grant programs include:

Acquisition Projects:

  • Van Arken Community Forest Project ($1,861,312 to Sanctuary Forest)
  • Scott Ranch Acquisition, Napa County ($1,000,000 to Land Trust of Napa County)
  • Acquisition and Monitoring Program for Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat in and Around the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Upper South Fork Eel River ($806,022 to Angelo Coast Range Reserve, University of California, Berkeley)
  • Arcata Community Forest (Jacoby Creek Tract) Expansion – Swaner 114 acres ($760,300 to City of Arcata)
  • Sierra Valley Mountain Meadow Conservation Project ($648,077 to Feather River Land Trust)
  • Mendocino Pygmy Forest Protection Project ($347,843 to Mendocino Land Trust)

Implementation Projects:

  • Santa Ana Bridge Replacement – a Component of the Matilija Dam Ecosystem Restoration Project ($13,426,938 to Ventura County Watershed Protection District)
  • Rim Fire Watershed Health Improvement Project ($3,641,211 to Tuolumne River Trust)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project ($3,139,136 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Hotelling Gulch Aquatic Restoration ($2,038,942 to Salmon River Restoration Council)
  • Oroville Wildlife Area Flood Stage Reduction and Restoration Project – New Vegetation Plantings ($1,716,847 to Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency)
  • Jameson Creek Fish Passage Improvement and Restoration Project ($1,704,990 to City of Fortuna)
  • Big Canyon Habitat Restoration and Adaptation Project, Phase II ($1,196,444 to Newport Bay Conservancy)
  • Martin Slough Enhancement ($1,106,982 to California State Coastal Conservancy)
  • Post-Fire Restoration of Coast Range Headwaters for Multiple Benefits at Pepperwood Preserve ($838,135 to Pepperwood Foundation)
  • Lagunitas Creek Floodplain Restoration for Coho Recovery, Phase II ($593,040 to Salmon Protection and Watershed Network)

Planning Projects:

  • Bellota Fish Screen and Passage Improvement Project ($1,952,559 to Stockton East Water District)
  • Harvey Diversion Fish Passage Restoration 100% Designs ($1,019,271 to California Trout)
  • Cannibal Island Restoration Intermediate Designs ($802,886 to California Trout)
    Lower San Luis Obispo Creek Fish Passage Design and Habitat Improvement Project ($459,798 to Central Coast Salmon Enhancement)
  • Wildlife Corridor at Liberty Canyon ($400,000 to National Wildlife Federation)
  • Restoring the Deer Creek Headwaters at Childs Meadow ($374,588 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Elk Creek Restoration Feasibility Study ($347,204 to Smith River Alliance)
    Rowdy Creek and Dominie Creek Fish Passage Improvement Planning Project ($273,146 to Tolowa Dee-ni Nation)
  • Advancing Restoration Strategies for Hydrologic Connectivity in Williams Creek ($268,862 to Humboldt County Resource Conservation District)
  • Scott Creek Lagoon and Marsh Restoration ($237,690 to Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission)
  • Restoration planning at the Sespe Cienega in Fillmore ($237,570 to Santa Clara River Conservancy)

Projects approved for funding through the Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program include:

Scientific Studies:

  • Reconnecting Delta food webs: evaluating the influence of tidal marsh restoration on energy flow and prey availability for native fishes ($1,107,041 to State Water Contractors)
  • Quantifying genetic and epigenetic variation in Delta smelt that may enable adaptation to future environments ($934,616 to University of California, Davis)
  • Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors on Ecological Performance of Early Life Stage Sturgeon ($957,427 to University of California, Davis)
  • Monitoring and Modeling Pathogen Exposure in Salmon Migrating to the Delta ($847,041 to University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Delta Wetlands and Resilience: blue carbon and marsh accretion ($819,998 to San Francisco Estuary Institute)
  • Enhancing predictive capability for phytoplankton response to natural and operational induced variability of phytoplankton blooming in the Delta. ($784,970 to San Francisco State University)
  • Quantifying Biogeochemical Processes through Transport Modeling: Pilot Application in the Cache Slough Complex ($570,602 to University of California, Davis)
  • Developing an eDNA metabarcoding protocol to improve fish and mussel monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary ($419,742 to University of California, Davis)
  • The role of wetlands in pelagic food webs: metagenomics reveals how wetland plant detritus may promote zooplankton growth and survival ($399,171 to University of California, Davis)
  • Trade-offs and Co-benefits of Landscape Change Scenarios on Human and Bird Communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ($248,077 to Point Blue Conservation Science)
  • Developing a new molecular isotopic tool to examine Delta food webs ($211,907 to University of California, Santa Cruz)

General information about CDFW’s Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 Restoration Grant Programs, as well as a schedule of locations and dates for workshops, once available, can be found at

Funding for these projects comes from Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 bond funds, a portion of which are allocated annually through the California State Budget Act. More information about Prop. 1 and Prop. 68 is on the California Natural Resources Agency website.

Halibut Season Off To A Great Start For Sport Anglers

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

The 2019 recreational Pacific Halibut season is off to a strong start! Since opening day on May 1, many north coast anglers have braved less-than-perfect weather and ocean conditions and were successful in pursuing this highly prized fish. Preliminary catch data available to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) through the first five days of the fishery indicates almost 2,500 pounds of fish were caught.

“This is a level of success more typically seen during the summer months,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Melanie Parker.

Again this year, the public can follow the progress of catch through the season compared to the quota on the CDFW Pacific Halibut webpage, which is updated weekly. The fishery is scheduled to be open through Oct. 31, or until the quota has been met, whichever comes first. The 2019 quota is 39,000 pounds, approximately 8,000 pounds greater than last year.

Up-to-date information on the status of the season can also be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 or the CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

State regulations for Pacific Halibut automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95.  Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in Federal Register 84, section 17960, on April 29, 2019 and took effect as of that date.

CDFW On Feather River Salmon Smolt Release

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: 

On May 8, CDFW released about 1 million fall run Chinook Salmon smolts into the Feather River at the Boyd’s Pump Launch facility. This experimental in-river release will provide fisheries biologists an important opportunity to study how fish respond under specific environmental conditions, as compared to fish released at other points in the river system.

Anglers have expressed concern that striped bass predation is high during this time period on the Feather River. While predation is always a threat to the young salmon, it is only one of the challenges they face throughout their complicated life cycle. The good news is that current high river flows favor increased downriver salmon survival.

“It’s critical that a portion of the population survives the treacherous journey downriver, eventually returning to pass their genes to their offspring,” said Jay Rowan, CDFW supervising fisheries biologist. “The traits those survivors pass on will help the species adapt to current conditions and better prepare them for long-term challenges such as climate change.”

Central Valley rivers like the Sacramento, Feather, American and Mokelumne have been modified through the addition of dams, river channelization and flow control. To maximize returns and allow for naturally occurring genetic variation, hatcheries in each river system have begun to utilize a variety of release strategies including trucking a portion of the fish downstream, utilizing ocean net pens and varying release sites to improve overall salmon resiliency and survival.

More than 30 million Chinook Salmon smolts are released from hatcheries throughout California’s Central Valley each year. This upcoming release of 1 million smolts on the Feather River is only one of almost 100 different releases taking place this spring up and down Central Valley rivers, San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay and into coastal net pens. Each release has a different intent and goals for contributions to ocean and inland fisheries, returns to the river and returns to the hatchery.

Feather River Hatchery alone will release 7 million fall run Chinook Salmon in 2019. In addition to the 1 million that will be released this week, another million will be trucked to Fort Baker in the San Francisco Bay and 5 million will be trucked to acclimation net pens in the San Pablo Bay.

Survival prospects for all releases are very good. This year’s large snow pack and high river flows are a far cry from the drought years with low clear water conditions that foster higher levels of predation, disease and other stressors. Survival out of the system should contribute to improved harvest opportunities in the near future.

Last month, CDFW released 600 spring run Chinook Salmon smolts into the Feather River. The fish were implanted with acoustic tags before their release, and preliminary data indicates that this group is showing a significantly higher survival rate as they travel downriver than fish that were released during low water years.


More Steelhead Being Detected In Carmel River

Like in many states, dams are a polarizing subject throughout California, particularly in the northern part of the state. 

Further south along the Central Coast, a Carmel River dam removal  – the San Clemente Dam – has finally started to impact steelhead numbers coming in from the Pacific four years after its removal.  Here’s Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News with details:

The 106 foot-tall dam had been located 18 miles up river from Monterey Bay. In 2016, the first year after it was removed, researchers found that no steelhead trout, an iconic type of rainbow trout listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, swam past its former site to a tagging location seven miles upriver. By 2017, seven steelhead had made the trip. Last year, the count was 29. So far this year, 123 steelhead have traveled upriver.

“We’re seeing progress. I’m surprised that it has been happening in such a short time,” said Aman Gonzalez, who managed the dam removal project for California-American Water, the company that owned it.

The more of the muscular, silvery fish make it upstream, the more the species can expand back into its traditional range, scientists say, increasing the number of places where the fish can spawn and produce more babies in the years ahead.

Promising news indeed.




Recreational Ocean Salmon Seasons Set To Open

CDFW photo

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Ocean salmon anglers off the California coast will be able to spend more time on the water this year chasing after Chinook Salmon (also known as King Salmon). Sport fisheries in the Klamath Management Zone will open from late May through early September. Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas will reopen mid-May after a short-term closure and will continue through the end of October. The Monterey management area is open now and remains open through late August.

The 2019 recreational ocean salmon season dates for the California coast are as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open May 25 and continue through Sept. 2.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, opened April 13. Fishing closed on April 30, 2019, reopens on May 18 and will continue through Oct. 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 6 and will continue through Aug. 28.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Point Arena. In the San Francisco area, the minimum size limit was 24 inches total length through April 30. When this area reopens on May 18 it will be 20 inches total length for the duration of the season. In the Monterey area the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length for the whole season. The daily bag limit is two Chinook Salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of Coho Salmon (also known as Silver Salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

Ocean salmon season lengths were restricted in certain areas to limit harvest of Sacramento River fall Chinook, the main stock supporting California’s ocean fishery. Under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan, this stock is classified as “overfished” following low returns of spawning adults in recent years. In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council made the decision to limit the fishery so that a greater number of adult fish return to the river to spawn this fall.

These season dates and size limit restrictions in combination also serve to minimize impacts of the ocean salmon fishery on ESA-listed Sacramento River winter Chinook and California Coastal Chinook stocks, as required by federal law.

Ocean salmon regulations in state waters automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95. Federal regulations for ocean salmon were published in Federal Register 84, section 19729on May 6, 2019, and are effective immediately.

Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline. Before engaging in any fishing activity for ocean salmon, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

  • CDFW website,
  • National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline, (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW Ocean Salmon Hotline, (707) 576-3429