NewsletterFish Rap

Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens

The 2021 recreational Pacific halibut fishery opened May 1.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA一 The 2021 recreational Pacific halibut season has officially opened and anglers will have until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier, to fish for Pacific halibut.

The 2021 Pacific halibut quota for the California sport fishery is 39,260 pounds – approximately the same as the 2020 quota. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said while the closing date of Nov. 15 is a new extension to the end of the season, the open dates are not guaranteed and the season could close early if it is determined that the quota has been taken. In 2020, the season closed Aug. 11, when a very successful fishery resulted in the early attainment of the state’s limit.

Another important regulation anglers should note is the daily bag and possession limit is one fish with no minimum size limit. When angling, no more than one line with two hooks attached may be used. A harpoon, gaff, or net may be used to assist in taking a Pacific halibut that has been legally caught by angling.

Anglers participating in the Pacific halibut fishery and other recreational fisheries are reminded they may be met at fishing sites by CDFW staff collecting catch and fishing effort information. In the case of Pacific halibut, staff will also be taking length measurements in a safe and physically distanced manner. The information gathered through these efforts will aid with quota tracking and in-season management.

State regulations for Pacific halibut automatically conform to federal regulations set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in the Federal Register (86 FR 20638) on April 21 and took effect immediately.

Anglers are always advised to check for updated information when planning a Pacific halibut fishing trip, as a season closure announcement could come at any time. Public notification of any in-season change to regulations is made through the NMFS Pacific halibut hotline at 800-662-9825 or CDFW’s Groundfish and Pacific halibut Regulations Hotline at 831-649-2801.

More information on Pacific halibut regulations can be found on the CDFW website at

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