The California Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announce the recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 5, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00" N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Federal fishery biologists estimate roughly 934,000 fall-run Chinook salmon will be in California coastal waters through the summer. Though lower than last year’s estimate, there are still plenty of fish to allow for significant angling opportunities for salmon enthusiasts in all areas off California.
The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon but the commission recently took action to change the salmon possession limit. Two daily bag limits are now allowed in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.
The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30" N. latitude). For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00" N. latitude), 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. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling. The retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at 707-576-3429.
Final 2014 ocean salmon regulations will be decided next month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during their April 4-10 meeting in Vancouver, Wash. and by the commission at their April 16-17 meeting in Ventura. Final sport regulations will be published in the CDFW 2014 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet available in May at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.
Three alternatives are being considered for California’s recreational ocean salmon seasons that will begin on or after May 1. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives, which can be found at the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.