California’s recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 2, 2016, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border, according to a March 21 news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
The daily bag limit is two Chinook per day and 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.
Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. The recreational salmon season north of Horse Mountain remains closed and the season will be determined in April.
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 shall be used 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.
Additional ocean salmon fishing regulations for the 2016 fishing season will be decided by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during its April 9-14 meeting in Vancouver, Washington, and by the Fish and Game Commission at its April 18 teleconference. Final sport regulations will be published in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) 2016-2017 Supplemental Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which will be posted online in May at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.
“Salmon abundance estimates are lower this year and there is concern that the forecasts may be overly optimistic. Ocean and river salmon anglers can expect less fishing opportunity compared to last year, especially later in the season to protect vulnerable stocks,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Jennifer Simon.
Three alternatives are currently being considered for California’s 2016 commercial and recreational ocean salmon regulations, including season dates, size limits, bag limits and quotas. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives that can be found on the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org.
CDFW reminds anglers that 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.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.