Fishery council recommends salmon season dates

SACRAMENTO—The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) submitted its recommendations for California’s 2020 salmon seasons, April 10. The recommendations were adjusted to account for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

PFMC made the following recommendations: the Monterey area, which is between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border, would open on May 1 and continue until Oct. 4; Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas (between Pigeon Point and Pt. Arena) would be open between May 1 and Nov. 8; and, Klamath Management Zone (between Horse Mountain and Oregon/California border) would run from June 6 to Aug. 9.

“These seasons are the outcome of a months-long public process and reflect efforts to maximize recreational angling opportunity.  They also consider the stock conservation objectives prescribed by the Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service … for 2020,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff said.

“In addition to the challenge that a constraining stock introduces into the annual season-setting process, managers and stakeholders set seasons in the face of the looming uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic poses to many anglers hoping to access the fishery,” CDFW staff continued. “If state or local government orders render access to the fishery impracticable when opening day arrives, the council’s recommendations include a contingency provision. In the event the Monterey, San Francisco and Fort Bragg areas do not open on May 1 due to COVID-19 restrictions, an extension of the season would be allowed in the most time-constrained Klamath Management Zone.”

The minimum size limits, once the season officially opens, will be 20 inches in total length for areas north of Pigeon Point and 24 inches in total length in the Monterey area.

“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,” CDFW staff stated. “Retention of Coho salmon (also known as silver salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.”

Contact the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline at 800-662-9825 for more information of in-season changes. Also contact the CDFW Ocean Salmon Hotline at 707-576-3429 before engaging in ocean salmon fishing activity. Up-to-date information is also available online at

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