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Recreational Salmon Seasons Finalized For California Coast
Close-up of Chinook salmon heads. CDFW Photo

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that California recreational ocean salmon fishing season dates are now set for the remainder of 2022 and offer about the same number of open days as last year. Sport fisheries opened south of Point Arena on April 2 and the remainder of the coast will open May 1. Although anglers can enjoy an earlier start to the season than last year, there will be intermittent breaks in fishing opportunity in management areas north of Pigeon Point.

This past week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) met in Seattle, Washington to finalize and adopt recommended ocean salmon seasons occurring between mid-May and October. These seasons are the outcome of a months-long public process and reflect efforts to maximize recreational angling opportunity while also achieving the stock conservation objectives prescribed by the PFMC and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for 2022.

Efforts to increase adult returns of California Coastal Chinook, Sacramento River Fall Chinook, and Klamath River Fall Chinook this fall and winter resulted in ocean salmon seasons that allow for more fishing opportunity in southern management areas and slightly less time on the water in northern management areas.

The 2022 recreational ocean salmon season dates for the California coast are as follows:

In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California state line and 40°10’00” N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino), the season will be open May 1-31 and Aug. 1-Sept. 5.

The Fort Bragg Management Area, which extends from 40°10’00” N. latitude to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude), will be open May 1-July 4 and July 22-Sept. 5.

In the San Francisco Management Area, which extends from Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), the season is open April 2-May 31 and June 23-Oct. 31.

In the Monterey Management Area, which extends from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico border, the season is open April 2-Oct. 2.

The minimum size limit in all management areas north of Point Arena is 20 inches total length. In the San Francisco and Monterey management areas, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length through May 15 and will drop to 20 inches total length thereafter. The daily bag limit is two Chinook salmon per day. 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. Retention of coho, or silver salmon, is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

Anglers are advised to check for updated information when planning a salmon fishing trip. Season dates, bag/possession limit information and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s Ocean Salmon webpage or by calling the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the NMFS ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.