Ocean Salmon Fishery Information

The 2024 California ocean salmon sport and commercial fishing seasons have not yet been determined. Season openings that would take effect between April and May 15th, 2024 will be decided at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting in March. Season openings and regulations that would take effect on or after May 16th, 2024 will be recommended by the PFMC at its meeting in April. 

Sacramento and Klamath Fall Chinook Fishery Disaster Declaration

The Secretary of Commerce declared a disaster for the 2023 California Sacramento River Fall Chinook and Klamath River Fall Chinook fisheries on November 21st in their press release(opens in new tab). This makes these fisheries eligible for disaster assistance. On February 1, 2024 the Secretary of Commerce announced the allocation of $20.6 million for the fishery disaster(opens in new tab). CDFW is working to develop spend plans for the sectors covered in the disaster assistance. The process for qualifying and applying for relief will be spelled out in those spend plans. Once spend plans are finalized, CDFW will work with NOAA Fisheries to administer relief funds. For further questions, email salmondisaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions for the 2023 Ocean Salmon Season

Why was the ocean salmon season closed?

Sacramento River Fall Chinook and Klamath River Fall Chinook are the two primary stocks fished in the State of California. This year, the abundance forecasts (PDF) for these stocks are very low following poor fish survival in 2022, which resulted in the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) providing guidance to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to take extraordinary precautions to protect salmon. Based on salmon fishery data, stock status, input from fishery stakeholders, and other information, on April 6, the PFMC recommended a full closure of the California commercial and recreational ocean salmon fisheries (PDF) for the remainder of 2023.

Please see the CDFW press release.

Recreational Ocean Salmon Fisheries

Will I be able to recover the cost of my annual sport fishing license since I can’t fish for salmon this year? Can I return my license for a refund?

No. Sport fishing licenses are considered valid and in use from the time of purchase. California sport fishing licenses and fees are established in Fish and Game Code Section 7149.05. This section does not provide CDFW with authority to refund sport fishing license fees. Also, sport fishing licenses are not species specific. With more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 80 major rivers, and more than 1,100 miles of coastline, and many fishable species, there are still a multitude of fishing opportunities available to any person with a valid California sport fishing license.

Commercial Ocean Salmon Fisheries

Map of key landmarks for the recreational ocean salmon fishery regulations

Smith Closure Map - click to enlarge in new window
Smith Closure Map - Click to enlarge
Klamath Closure Map- click to enlarge in new window
Klamath Closure Map - Click to enlarge
Eel Closure Map - click to enlarge in new window
Eel Closure Map - Click to enlarge

Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishing

The recreational California ocean salmon fishery is CLOSED IN ALL REGIONS.

Commercial Ocean Salmon Fishing

The commercial California ocean salmon fishery is CLOSED IN ALL REGIONS.

Additional Information

  • Federal Commercial Salmon Regulations
  • National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW - Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (707) 576-3429
    CDFW - Ocean Salmon Project
    3637 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa CA 95403-1067