New Sport Ocean Fishing Regulation Changes for 2013

New 2013-2014 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulation booklets are now available at California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offices and wherever sport fishing licenses are sold. Anglers and divers need to be aware of a number of new fishing regulations that are in effect this year.

Regulation changes include the following: new size and bag limits for kelp bass, sand bass and spotted bass, and new at-sea fillet size requirements for these basses and ocean whitefish. Changes also include new regulations for groundfish (including rockfish), northern California marine protected areas, and sturgeon. Regulation changes are highlighted throughout the booklet for quick reference.

Effective March 1, 2013, new size, bag, and fillet size limits are in effect for kelp bass, sand bass, and spotted sand bass. Bass must now be at least 14 inches total length or 10 inches alternate length (measured from base of foremost spine of dorsal fin to longest tip of tail), and fillets must be at least 7 ½ inches long and retain a 1 inch square patch of skin when filleted at sea. The new bag limit for these basses is five fish in combination.

New marine protected areas (MPAs) are now in effect in northern California, from the California/Oregon border to Alder Creek, near Point Arena. For more information, visit, or the MPA mobile website at, or a northern California CDFW office.

New sturgeon fishing regulations established a new method of measuring sturgeon and a new size limit of 40 to 60 inches fork length (not total length, as before). Barbless hooks are required when fishing for sturgeon and snares are prohibited. Fish longer than 68 inches fork length may not be removed from the water. For more information:

New seasons, bag and size limits, and species allowed for take have been established for groundfish. For more information:

Also effective March 1, 2013, fillets from ocean whitefish filleted at sea must now measure at least 6 ½ inches long, and the entire skin must remain intact.

For the complete set of new and updated ocean sport fishing regulations, CDFW recommends picking up a copy of the new 2013-2014 regulations booklet. Booklets are also available online at

Media Contacts:
Mary Patyten, Marine Region, (707) 964-5026
Carrie Wilson, Communications, (831) 649-7191

Newest Wild Trout Waters Located in Fresno County Wilderness Area

The South Fork San Joaquin River and Sallie Keyes Lakes in Fresno County are the latest waters to be designated as Wild Trout Water in California.

Located approximately 60 miles northeast of Fresno in the John Muir Wilderness Area, the watershed provides anglers a remote wilderness fishing opportunity with the possibility of catching brown, brook, rainbow and golden trout.

The watershed may be difficult to get to, but the scenery is breathtaking and there are opportunities to catch California golden trout, the state freshwater fish, as well as trophy-sized brown trout.

The waters were designated last month by the California Fish and Game Commission. It is the policy of the Commission to designate certain waters to be managed exclusively for wild trout. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Heritage and Wild Program (HWTP) is responsible for not only managing designated Wild Trout Waters, but also recommending new waters to the Commission each year.

Wild Trout Waters are those that support self-sustaining trout populations, are aesthetically pleasing and environmentally productive, provide adequate catch rates and are open to public angling. Wild Trout Waters may not be stocked with catchable-sized hatchery trout. The HWTP has been conducting an evaluation of the South Fork San Joaquin River watershed since 2007. The evaluation includes  snorkel surveys, angler assessments, habitat evaluations, gill net surveys and a remote infrared camera study.

The designation boundaries include the “South Fork San Joaquin River and all tributaries from Florence Lake upstream to the boundary with Kings Canyon National Park including the Piute Creek drainage (Fresno County).” In addition, “Sallie Keyes Lakes (Fresno County)” are located within this watershed and consist of two lakes situated along the Pacific Crest Trail above 10,000 feet elevation near Selden Pass.

With the inclusion of these waters into the HWTP this year, there are now 44 designated Wild Trout Waters across the state encompassing more than 1400 miles of stream habitat, 11 lakes, and 10 Heritage Trout Waters. For more information on designated waters, please visit us at

Media Contacts:

Roger Bloom, DFG Fisheries Branch (916) 464-6355
Andrew Hughan, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8944

DFG Surveys Salmon Anglers on Central Valley Rivers

The Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) Central Valley angler surveys have begun on the American, Feather, Mokelumne and Sacramento rivers. Over the next five months, survey crews will repeatedly visit 20 different sections of river to cover the full extent of the inland salmon fishery. Survey crews count the number of boats and anglers, weigh and measure each fish caught and collect the heads of those salmon imbedded with a coded wire tag.

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“The information the survey crews collect is vital to understanding the dynamics of the salmon fishery resource and for setting seasons in the future,” said Mike Brown, a DFG environmental scientist. “The collection of salmon heads imbedded with tiny coded wire tags provides a history of how each hatchery release has fared and gives us information that can help guide salmon management in future years.”

During the 2011 Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon sport fishery survey, crews contacted more than 4,000 fishing parties, measured 2,805 salmon and collected 652 salmon heads with coded wire tags in them. This and other baseline information were fed into a computer program that estimated the total effort and harvest of Chinook salmon in the 2011 Central Valley river sport fishery.

Those results showed approximately 60,500 salmon were caught and kept and 10,990 salmon were released for a total catch of 71,489. Seventy percent of the salmon kept were 2-year-olds, also known as “jacks.” Anglers fished on average about 14 hours to catch a salmon.

The 2012 salmon season is anticipated to be more productive than 2011.

Since 2007, 25 percent of salmon smolts released at each of the five Central Valley salmon hatcheries had their adipose fin clipped and a tiny coded wire tag inserted into the fleshy portion of their snout. Samplers check each salmon to see if its adopse fin, the small fleshy lobe on the fish’s back between the dorsal fin and the tail fin, is missing. If it is missing, the fish bears a coded wire tag.

During the survey, samplers carry large plastic bags for anglers to carry salmon after heads are removed. Upon request, the angler survey will provide the angler with a recognition letter containing information about their catch, including hatchery origin, age and release information.   Although anglers on occasion do not want samplers to take the head of their catch, most voluntarily comply once the reason for the collection is explained.

Section 8226 of the Fish and Game Code states, “Anglers upon request by an authorized agent of the Department, [must] immediately relinquish the head of the salmon to the State.”

The data collected by survey crews is essential for management of the highly popular salmon fishery.

Anglers can review a summary of the Central Valley Fall-Run Sports Fishery for 2011 at:

Media Contacts:
Mike Brown, DFG Environmental Scientist, (916) 227-4989
Harry Morse, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478


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