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California Fishing Regulations
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Minimum Sizes & Fishing Regulations

 

Northern Management Area

Species Time Period2 Depth Limit2 Daily Bag Limit2 Size Limit1,2,3
RCG Complex (includes all species of Rockfish that are not prohibited or restricted, Cabezon and Greenlings as defined in Section 1.91) Open all year Jan-Apr: No depth restrictions May-Dec: May only be taken in less than 180 ft (30 fm) 10 fish in combination per person; see sub-limit for cabezon, greenlings and bocaccio see individual species below
Canary, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfishes CLOSED all year; NO RETENTION   NO RETENTION (zero)  
Bocaccio Open all year Same as RCG Complex above 2 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit. 10" TL
Black Rockfish Open: Jan-May 155 Jun-Aug; Closed: May 16-May 316, Sep-Dec Jan-Apr: No depth restrictions May 1-May 15, Jun-Aug: May only be taken in less than 180 ft (30 fm) 10 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit. none
Cabezon Open all year Same as RCG Complex above 3 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit 15" TL
Kelp and Rock Greenlings Open all year Same as RCG Complex above 2 fish in combination per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit 12" TL
Lingcod Open: Jan-Oct;
Closed: Nov-Dec
Jan-Apr: No depth restrictions May-Oct: May only be taken in less than 180 ft (30 fm) Jan-Mar: 2 fish per person Apr-Oct: 1 fish per person Jan-Mar: 24” total length Apr-Oct: 30" total length
Other Federal Groundfish (click here for a list of regulated species) Open all year Same as RCG Complex above see regulations for individual species see regulations for individual species
Sanddabs4 Open all year Jan-Dec: No depth restrictions No bag or possession limit none

1. See regulations for information on gear restrictions and fillet lengths

2. Subject to in-season change. Check the Marine Region Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd, send an email to AskMarine@dfg.ca.gov or call your nearest DFG office for the latest information.

3. Total length is the longest straight-line measurement from the tip of the head with the mouth closed to the end of the longest lobe of the tail. Click here for a measurement method graphic.

4. The sport fishery for sanddabs, using gear specified in federal and state regulations, is exempt from the in-season closures and depth restrictions placed on other federally managed groundfish as of May 1, 2004.

5. The sport fishery for black rockfish is open from May 1 through May 15 in state waters only (from 0 to 3 nautical miles offshore) in less than 180 ft (30 fm).

6. The sport fishery for black rockfish is closed from May 16 through May 31 in federal waters (from 3 to 200 nautical miles offshore) and state waters (from 0 to 3 nautical miles offshore). Black rockfish may not be taken from May 16 through May 31 by shore-based or boat-based anglers, or divers.

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Central Management Area: North-Central Section

Species Time Period3,5 Depth Limit3 Daily Bag Limit3 Size Limit1,3,6
RCG Complex (including all species of Rockfish that are not prohibited or restricted, Cabezon and Greenlings as defined in Section 1.91) Boat-Based Anglers5 Open: Jan-Feb, Aug-Oct; Closed: Mar-Apr, May-Jul, Nov-Dec
Shore-Based Anglers, Divers5: Open: Jan-Feb, May-Dec; Closed: Mar-Apr
Jan-Feb: May only be taken in less than 180 ft (30 fm)2; Aug, Sep, Oct: May only be taken in less than 120 ft (20 fm)2 10 fish in combination; see sub-limits for cabezon, bocaccio and greenlings see individual species and groups below
Canary, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfishes CLOSED ALL YEAR; NO RETENTION   NO RETENTION (zero)  
Bocaccio Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 1 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit 10“ total length
Cabezon Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 3 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit 15“ total length
Kelp and Rock Greenlings Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 2 fish in combination; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG complex bag limit 12“ total length
California Scorpionfish Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 5 per person 10“ total length
Ocean Whitefish Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 10 per person  
California Sheephead Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 5 per person 12“ total length
Lingcod Boat-Based Anglers5: Open: Jan-Feb, Aug-Oct; Closed: Mar-Apr, May-Jul, Nov-Dec
Shore-Based Anglers, Divers5: Open: Jan-Feb, May-Oct; Closed: Mar-Apr, Nov-Dec
Same as RCG Complex above during open season Jan-Mar: 2 fish per person Apr-Oct: 1 fish per person Jan-Mar: 24” total length Apr-Oct: 30" total length
Other Federal Groundfish (click here for a list of regulated species)7, 8 Boat-Based Anglers5: Open: Jan-Apr, Aug-Oct; Closed: May-Jul, Nov-Dec
Shore-Based Anglers, Divers5: Open: Jan-Dec
Same as RCG Complex above see regulations for individual species see regulations for individual species
Sanddabs7 Open all year Jan-Dec: No depth restrictions No bag or possession limit None
Leopard shark8 Boat-Based Anglers5 Outside of SF Bay: Open: Jan-Apr, Aug-Oct; Closed: May-Jul, Nov-Dec; Boat-Based Anglers5 Inside SF Bay: Open all year Shore-Based Anglers, Divers5: Open all year Boat-Based Anglers5 Outside of SF Bay: Same as RCG Complex above Inside SF Bay: No depth restrictions
3 fish per person 36” total length

1. See regulations for information on gear restrictions and fillet lengths

2. Around the Farallon Islands and Noonday Rock fishing is prohibited between the shoreline and 60 feet (10 fathoms); fishing is prohibited at Cordell Bank

3. Subject to in-season change. Check the Marine Region Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd, send an email to AskMarine@dfg.ca.gov or call your nearest DFG office for the latest information.

4. Prior to May 1, 2004, the Central Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area included ocean waters between 40°10’ N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino) and 34° 27’ N. latitude (Point Conception). As of May 1, this area has been split into two sections, the North-Central Section and the South-Central Section, at 36° 00’ North latitude, near Point Lopez in Monterey county.

5. Shore-based anglers and divers are exempt from the May 1 in-season changes shortening the seasons for the RCG complex, lingcod, ocean whitefish, California scorpionfish, California sheephead, and other federally managed groundfish. For the purposes of the May 1 in-season regulation changes, the following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:

  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen that fish from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen that fish from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade objects connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.

6. Total length is the longest straight-line measurement from the tip of the head with the mouth closed to the end of the longest lobe of the tail. Click here for a measurement method graphic.

7. The sport fishery for sanddabs, using gear specified in federal and state regulations, is exempt from the in-season closures and depth restrictions placed on other federally managed groundfish as of May 1, 2004.

8. The sport fishery for leopard shark inside San Francisco Bay is exempt from the in-season closures and depth restrictions placed on other federally managed groundfish as of May 1, 2004.

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Central Management Area: South-Central Section

Species Time Period3,5 Depth Limit3 Daily Bag Limit3 Size Limit1,3,6
RCG Complex (including all species of Rockfish that are not prohibited or restricted, Cabezon and Greenlings as defined in Section 1.91) Boat-Based Anglers5: Open: Jan-Feb, May-Jun, Aug-Dec; Closed: Mar-Apr, Jul
Shore-Based Anglers and Divers5: Open: Jan-Feb, May-Dec; Closed: Mar-Apr
Jan, Feb, May, June, Aug: May only be taken in less than 180 ft (30 fm)2; Sept-Dec: May only be taken in less than 120 ft (20 fm)2 10 fish in combination; see sub-limits for cabezon, greenlings and bocaccio see individual species and groups below
Canary, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfishes CLOSED ALL YEAR; NO RETENTION   NO RETENTION (zero)  
Bocaccio Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 1 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit 10“ total length
Cabezon Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 3 fish per person; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG Complex bag limit 15“ total length
Kelp and Rock Greenlings Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 2 fish in combination; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG complex bag limit 12“ total length
California Scorpionfish Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 5 per person 10“ total length
Ocean Whitefish Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 10 per person  
California Sheephead Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 5 per person 12“ total length
Lingcod Boat-Based Anglers5: Open: Jan-Feb, May-Jun, Aug-Oct; Closed: Mar-Apr, Jul, Nov-Dec;
Shore-Based Anglers and Divers5: Open: Jan-Feb, May-Oct; Closed: Mar-Apr, Nov-Dec
Same as RCG Complex above during open season Jan-Mar: 2 fish per person Apr-Oct: 1 fish per person Jan-Mar: 24” total length Apr-Oct: 30" total length
Other Federal Groundfish (click here for a list of regulated species)7 Boat-Based Anglers5: Open: Jan-Apr, May-Jun, Aug-Dec; Closed: Jul
Shore-Based Anglers and Divers5: Open: Jan-Dec
Same as RCG Complex above see regulations for individual species see regulations for individual species
Sanddabs7 Open all year Jan-Dec: No depth restrictions No bag or possession limit None

1. See regulations for information on gear restrictions and fillet lengths

2. Around the Farallon Islands and Noonday Rock fishing is prohibited between the shoreline and 60 feet (10 fathoms); fishing is prohibited at Cordell Bank

3. Subject to in-season change. Check the Marine Region Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd, send an email to AskMarine@dfg.ca.gov or call your nearest DFG office for the latest information.

4. Prior to May 1, 2004, the Central Rockfish and Lingcod Management Area included ocean waters between 40°10’ N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino) and 34° 27’ N. latitude (Point Conception). As of May 1, this area has been split into two sections, the North-Central Section and the South-Central Section, at 36° 00’ North latitude, near Point Lopez in Monterey county.

5. Shore-based anglers and divers are exempt from the May 1 in-season changes shortening the seasons for the RCG complex, lingcod, ocean whitefish, California scorpionfish, California sheephead, and other federally managed groundfish. For the purposes of the May 1 in-season regulation changes, the following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:

  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen that fish from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen that fish from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade objects connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.

6. Total length is the longest straight-line measurement from the tip of the head with the mouth closed to the end of the longest lobe of the tail. Click here for a measurement method graphic.

7. The sport fishery for sanddabs, using gear specified in federal and state regulations, is exempt from the in-season closures and depth restrictions placed on other federally managed groundfish as of May 1, 2004.

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Southern Management Area

Species Time Period3 Depth Limit3 Daily Bag Limit3 Size Limit1,3,4
RCG Complex (including all species of Rockfish that are not prohibited, Cabezon and Greenlings as defined in Section 1.91) Open: Mar-Dec;
Closed: Jan-Feb
May only be taken in less than 360 feet (60 fathoms)2 Sep-Oct: May only be taken in less than 180 feet (30 fathoms) 2 10 fish in combination; see sub-limits for cabezon, greenlings and bocaccio see individual species and groups below
Canary, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfishes CLOSED all year; NO RETENTION   NO RETENTION (zero)  
Cabezon Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 3 fish; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG complex bag limit 15“ total length
Kelp and Rock Greenlings Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 2 fish in combination; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG complex bag limit 12“ total length
Bocaccio Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 1 fish; also included in the 10-fish aggregate RCG complex bag limit 10“ total length
Ocean Whitefish Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 10 per person  
California Sheephead Same as RCG Complex above Same as RCG Complex above 5 per person 12“ total length
Lingcod Open: Mar-Oct;
Closed: Jan-Feb, and Nov-Dec
Same as RCG Complex above during open season Mar: 2 fish per person Apr-Oct: 1 fish per person Mar: 24” total length Apr-Oct: 30" total length
California Scorpionfish Open: Mar, Apr, Nov, and Dec;
Closed: Jan, Feb, May-Oct
Same as RCG Complex above during open season 5 per person 10“ total length
Other Federal Groundfish (click here for a list of regulated species)5 Open: Jan-Dec Same as RCG Complex above see regulations for individual species see regulations for individual species
Sanddabs5 Open all year Jan-Dec: No depth restrictions No bag or possession limit None

1. See regulations for information on gear restrictions and fillet lengths

2. In the Cowcod Conservation Areas fishing is prohibited in waters greater than 120 feet (20 fathoms).

3. Subject to in-season change. Check the Marine Region Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd, send an email to AskMarine@dfg.ca.gov or call your nearest DFG office for the latest information.

4. Total length is the longest straight-line measurement from the tip of the head with the mouth closed to the end of the longest lobe of the tail. Click here for a measurement method graphic.

5. The sport fishery for sanddabs, using gear specified in federal and state regulations, is exempt from the in-season closures and depth restrictions placed on other federally managed groundfish as of May 1, 2004.

    

 

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