Ocean Salmon Fishery Information

Recreational Ocean Salmon Regulations

Map of key landmarks for the recreational ocean salmon fishery

OR/CA Border to the 40º10' Line (KMZ)

  • June 29 - August 1
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length
  • Special Salmon Closures: (See CCR T-14, §27.75(opens in new tab))
    - Smith River mouth - closed year-round
    - Klamath River mouth - closed year-round; in August, this closure expands (" Klamath Control Zone")
    - Eel River mouth - Closed in August and September only

40º10' Line to Point Arena (Fort Bragg)

  • June 29 - October 31
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length

Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

  • June 26 - October 31
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length

Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico Border (Monterey and South)

  • April 3 - September 30
  • Minimum size limit: 24 inches total length through May 15 and 20 inches total length thereafter

General Sport Regulations

  • Daily bag limit (CCR T-14, §27.80): 2 salmon of any species except coho (silver) salmon.
  • Possession limit: 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 (CCR T-14, §27.80(e)).
  • Retention of coho (silver) salmon or steelhead trout is prohibited in any ocean fishery (CCR T-14, §27.70(b) and §27.80(b)).
  • Salmon may not be filleted on any boat or prior to being brought ashore (CCR T-14, §27.80(c)).
  • Salmon may only be taken by angling as defined in CCR T-14, §1.05. No sinkers or weights exceeding 4 lbs. may be used, except that a fishing line may be attached to a sinker or weight of any size if such sinker or weight is suspended by a separate line and the fishing line is released automatically by a mechanical device from the sinker or weight when any fish is hooked (CCR T-14, §27.80(a)).
  • North of Point Conception: No more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used and no more than one rod per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board (CCR T-14, §27.80(a)).
  • 40º10' line near Cape Mendocino to Point Conception (CCR T-14, §27.80(a)): When fishing with bait and angling by any means other than TROLLING1, no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless CIRCLE HOOKS 2 shall be used. The distance between the two hooks must not exceed 5 inches when measured from the top of the eye of the top hook to the inner base of the curve of the lower hook and both hooks must be permanently tied in place (hard tied).
    NOTE: These special gear restrictions apply to each angler fishing for salmon or fishing from any boat or floating device with salmon on board.
    1. TROLLING is defined as angling from a boat or floating device that is making way by means of a source of power, other than drifting by means of the prevailing water current or weather conditions.
    2. A CIRCLE HOOK is defined as a hook with a generally circular shape and a point which turns inwards, pointing directly to the shank at a 90-degree angle.

Recovery of coded-wire tag from salmon head: Any person in possession of a recreationally taken salmon with a missing adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin on the back of the fish between the back fin and tail) shall immediately relinquish the head of the salmon, upon request by an authorized agent or employee of the Department, to facilitate the recovery of any coded-wire tag (CCR T-14, §1.73).

Commercial Ocean Salmon Regulations

Map of key landmarks for the commercial ocean salmon fishery

OR/CA Border to the 40º10' Line (KMZ)

  • Closed in 2021

40º10' Line to Point Arena (Fort Bragg)

  • August 1-17, September 1-30
  • Minimum size limit: 27 inches total length
  • All salmon must be landed in California and north of Point Arena*

Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

  • June 16-30; July 17-22; August 1-17; September 1-30
  • Minimum size limit: 27 inches total length through August, 26 inches thereafter
  • During September, all salmon must be landed south of Point Arena*

Point Reyes to Point San Pedro

  • October 1, 4-8, 11-15
  • Five days per week, open Monday through Friday
  • Minimum size limit: 26 inches total length
  • All salmon caught in the area must be landed between Pt. Arena and Pigeon Pt.*

Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico Border (Monterey and South)

  • May 1-12, 20-27; June 16-30; July 17-22; August 1-17
  • Minimum size limit: 27 inches total length

General Commercial Regulations

  • All salmon except coho (silver) salmon; all commercial salmon must be landed in California*
  • Single point, single shank barbless hooks are required*
  • No more than 6 lines are allowed per vessel (CCR T-14, §182)
  • Compliance with minimum size or other special restrictions: All salmon on board a vessel must meet the minimum size and other special requirements for the area being fished and the area in which they are landed if that area is open or has been closed less than 48 hours. Salmon may be landed in an area that is closed more than 48 hours only if they meet the minimum size and other special requirements for the area in which they were caught and it is not otherwise prohibited in the regulations.*
  • Electronic reporting requirements: Any fish receiver or fisherman with a fisherman's retail license shall record landing information on an electronic fish ticket, including the number of individual fish (CCR T-14, §197). Submission is required within three business days (Cal. Fish & Game Code, §8046). Any person who lands salmon shall keep a copy of all landing receipts documenting salmon landings on board the fishing vessel that caught the salmon until 15 days after the last salmon season closure for the calendar year (CCR T-14, §182).
  • Transit through closed area with salmon on board: It is unlawful for a vessel to have fishing gear in the water while transiting any area closed to salmon fishing while possessing salmon (CCR T-14, §182).
  • Barbless circle hooks1 required when fishing with bait and fishing by any means other than trolling2*
    1. A CIRCLE HOOK is defined as a hook with a generally circular shape and a point which turns inwards, pointing directly to the shank at a 90-degree angle (CCR T-14, §182).
    2. TROLLING is defined as angling from a boat or floating device that is making way by means of a source of power, other than drifting by means of the prevailing water current or weather condition (CCR T-14, §182).

Note: When Pacific halibut are caught and landed incidentally in the commercial salmon troll fishery under a license issued by the IPHC, both the number of Pacific halibut landed and the number of salmon landed must be recorded on the electronic fish ticket. Please see federal regulations for incidental Pacific halibut harvest requirements and restrictions.*

*Federal Regulations for West Coast Salmon Fisheries per 85 FR 27317


Additional Information


Inseason Estimates

Status Update (June 17, 2021): Provided below are the 2021 California commercial and recreational Chinook salmon landings by number of fish for each management zone. These estimates are draft and preliminary, subject to change, for informational purposes only, and not fit for utilization. Estimates represent landings from the season opener through the end of May. Refer to the regulation details above for more information on what periods are included in season opener-to-date calculations for each area and sector. Final 2021 estimates will be published in February 2022 in the Review of 2021 Ocean Salmon Fisheries on the Pacific Fishery Management Council's website(opens in new tab), where estimates for prior years can also be found. A hyphen (-) denotes that an area has either not yet opened or opened in a time period for which estimates are not yet available.

Management Zone 2021 Commercial Catch (Preliminary) 2021 Recreational Catch (Preliminary)
Klamath Management Zone Closed in 2021 -
Fort Bragg - -
San Francisco - -
Monterey 49,390 11,632
Total Statewide 49,390
11,632

Annual Coded-Wire Tag Recovery Reports

Recovery of Coded-Wire Tags from Chinook Salmon in California’s Central Valley Escapement, Inland Harvest, and Ocean Harvest

If you have any questions about CDFW's annual coded-wire tag recovery reports, please contact us at OSP@wildlife.ca.gov.


Klamath River Fall Chinook Fishery Disaster Information

Status Update (March 29, 2021): The 2016-2017 Klamath River Fall Chinook Disaster Relief Program is now closed and there are no salmon fishery disaster declarations active for California at the present time. Please visit the CDFW Cares Act page for information about relief available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act program. If you have further questions about salmon disaster relief, please contact us at SalmonDisaster@wildlife.ca.gov.