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: