Ocean salmon season opens May 1, but many launch ramps are closed

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Cat Kaiser of the Golden State Salmon Association holds up her hefty salmon that she landed outside of the Golden Gate last summer. Photo courtesy of GSSA. 

The recreational ocean salmon, groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries scheduled to open May 1 “will proceed as planned,” according to an update from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

However, the Department advised anglers to “check with local authorities on the status of harbor services and access points as many site closures and access restrictions exist and may change daily.”

In addition, the CDFW reminded anglers to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Staying home in order to stay healthy is still the best way to keep yourself and others safe.

The ocean salmon fishery will open May 1 in the Fort Bragg, San Francisco and Monterey areas [Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude) to the U.S./Mexico border], while the boat-based groundfish fishery in the Northern and Mendocino management areas [Oregon/California state line to Point Arena (38 °57.5” N. latitude)] will open as well. The groundfish fishery in other California management areas remains open.

“My guess is, weather permitting, there are enough people who want to go out and prospect for salmon who already have boats in the water or access to a launch ramp that isn’t closed that will shortly have an idea or where some salmon might be,” forecasted John McManus, President of the Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA0.  “On the other hand, it could develop  like some of the other saltwater fishing going on now, relatively quiet and under the radar. Commercial fishing below Pigeon Point will also open up May 1 – and we’ll get a pretty good idea of salmon season prospects based on how they do.”

Federal regulations establish recreational fishing seasons for California’s ocean salmon, groundfish and Pacific halibut fisheries, following recommendations made by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The California Fish and Game Commission adopts regulations for state waters to match the federal season dates.

Please check the following resources for more information on these fisheries: