California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Summary of 2014 Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations

Note: Regulations in these tables may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information. Anglers may also sign up for e-mail notification of regulation changes. Please visit Groundfish Central for more information.

Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Please visit the MPA website for more information.

Northern Management Area

Ocean waters between 42°00' N. latitude (CA-OR Border) and 40°10' N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino)
Includes all of Del Norte County and most of Humboldt County

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Note: Regulations in this table may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please review one of the resources listed in Footnote 1 to receive the most up-to-date regulations. Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the MPA website for more information.

Species Time Period1,2,3 Depth Limit 1,2,3 Daily Bag Limit1 Min. Size Limit1,4,5

RCG Complex1
(including all species of Rockfishes, Cabezon and Greenlings, Sections 1.91 and 28.55, 28.28, and 28.29)

Boat-based Anglers2:
Open: May 15 - Oct 31
Closed: Jan 1 - May 14, and Nov 1 - Dec 31

Divers, Shore-based Anglers2:
Open year-round

May be taken or possessed in waters less than 120 ft (20 fm) deep

SEE EXCEPTION AT END OF TABLE

10 fish in combination per person EXCEPT:

Cabezon: 3 fish per person


Bocaccio: 3 fish per person

See individual species and groups below:

Cabezon: 15” total length


Kelp and/or rock greenlings: 12” total length

THE ROCKFISHES LISTED BELOW MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN CALIFORNIA.

Bronzespotted Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfish  (Section 28.55)

FISHING IS CLOSED year-round, at all depths            NO RETENTION at any time (zero fish per person)

Lingcod
(Section 28.27)

Same as RCG Complex, above

2 fish per person

22” total length

Leopard Shark6
(Section 28.56)

Boat-based Anglers2 within Humboldt Bay: Open year-round

Outside of Humboldt Bay: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: Open year-round

Boat-based Anglers2 within Humboldt Bay: No depth restrictions

Outside of Humboldt Bay: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: No depth restrictions

3 fish per person

36” total length

Pacific Sanddab and “Other Flatfish”3
(Section 28.48)

Open year-round3

No depth limit

Pacific sanddab: No limit


All “Other Flatfish”3: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish in combination per Section 27.60(a)

No size limit

Other Federal Groundfish
(Section 28.49)

Same as RCG Complex, above

Petrale sole and starry flounder: No limit


Soupfin shark: 1 fish per person

All Other Federal Groundfish: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish in combination per Section 27.60(a)

No size limit

1. Subject to in-season change. Call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, visit the Marine Region website, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the current ocean sport fishing regulations booklet or the MPA website, send an e-mail to AskMPA@dfg.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for more information.

2. Divers and shore-based anglers are exempt from season and depth restrictions affecting the RCG complex and other federally managed groundfish. However, when spear fishing during a boat-based closure, only spear fishing gear is allowed aboard any vessel or watercraft. Also, when angling from shore during a boat-based closure, no vessel or watercraft may be used to assist in taking or possessing species included in this table. The following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:
  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen angling from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen angling from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade structures connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.
3. Pacific sanddab, butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole (“Other Flatfish” as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(10)) may be taken during the closed season or in closed areas.
4. See regulations for information on gear restrictions (Sections 28.65, 28.70, 28.75, 28.80, 28.85, 28.90, 28.91, and 28.95) and fillet lengths (Section 27.65).
5. 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.
6. The sport fishery for leopard shark inside Humboldt Bay is exempt from season and depth restrictions that affect other federally managed groundfish (Section 28.56).
EXCEPTION: During the open season, groundfish may be possessed in closed areas and in water depths closed to fishing only aboard vessels in transit with no fishing gear in the water. See subsection 27.20(b).

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Mendocino Management Area

Ocean waters between 40°10' N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino) and 38°57.5' N. latitude (Point Arena)
Includes Mendocino County and a portion of Humboldt County

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Note: Regulations in this table may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please review one of the resources listed in Footnote 1 to receive the most up-to-date regulations. Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the MPA website for more information.

Species Time Period1,2,3 Depth Limit1,2,3 Daily Bag Limit1 Min. Size Limit1,4,5

RCG Complex1
(including all species of Rockfishes, Cabezon and Greenlings, Sections 1.91 and 28.55, 28.28, and 28.29)

Boat-based Anglers2:
Open: May 15-Sept 1
Closed: Jan 1-May 14,
and Sept 2-Dec 31

Divers, Shore-based Anglers2:
Open year-round

May only be taken or possessed in waters less than 120 ft (20 fm) deep4

SEE EXCEPTION AT END OF TABLE

10 fish in combination per person EXCEPT:

Cabezon: 3 fish per person


Bocaccio: 3 fish per person

See individual species and groups below:

Cabezon: 15” total length


Kelp and/or rock greenlings: 12” total length

THE ROCKFISHES LISTED BELOW MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN CALIFORNIA.

Bronzespotted Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfish  (Section 28.55)

FISHING IS CLOSED year-round, at all depths            NO RETENTION at any time (zero fish per person)

Lingcod
(Section 28.27)

Same as RCG Complex, above

2 fish per person

22” total length

Leopard Shark
(Section 28.56)

 

Boat-based Anglers2: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: Open year-round

Boat-based Anglers2: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: No depth  restrictions

3 fish per person

36” total length

Pacific Sanddab and “Other Flatfish”3
(Section 28.48)

Open year-round3

No depth limit

Pacific sanddab: No limit


All “Other Flatfish”3: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination, per Section 27.60

No size limit

Other Federal Groundfish
(Section 28.49)

Same as RCG Complex, above

Petrale sole and starry flounder: No limit


Soupfin shark: 1 fish per person

All Other Federal Groundfish: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination, per Section 27.60

No size limit

1. Subject to in-season change. Call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, visit the Marine Region website, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the current ocean sport fishing regulations booklet or the MPA website, send an e-mail to AskMPA@dfg.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for more information.

2. Divers and shore-based anglers are exempt from season and depth restrictions affecting the RCG complex and other federally managed groundfish. However, when spear fishing during a boat-based closure, only spear fishing gear is allowed aboard any vessel or watercraft. Also, when angling from shore during a boat-based closure, no vessel or watercraft may be used to assist in taking or possessing species included in this table. The following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:
  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen angling from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen angling from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade structures connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.
3. Pacific sanddab, butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole ( “Other Flatfish” as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(10)) may be taken during the closed season or in closed areas.
4. See regulations for information on gear restrictions (sections 28.65, 28.70, 28.75, 28.80, 28.85, 28.90, 28.91, and 28.95) and fillet lengths (Section 27.65).
5. 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.
EXCEPTION: During the open season, groundfish may be possessed in closed areas and in water depths closed to fishing only aboard vessels in transit with no fishing gear in the water. See subsection 27.20(b).

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San Francisco Management Area

Ocean waters between 38°57.5' N. latitude (Point Arena) and 37°11' N. latitude (Pigeon Point)
Includes a portion of Mendocino County, all of Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and most of San Mateo County

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Note: Regulations in this table may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please review one of the resources listed in Footnote 1 to receive the most up-to-date regulations. Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the MPA website for more information.

Species Time Period1,2,3 Depth Limit1,2,4 Daily Bag Limit1 Min. Size Limit1,5,6

RCG Complex1
(including all species of Rockfishes, Cabezon and Greenlings, Sections 1.91 and 28.55, 28.28, and 28.29)

Boat-based Anglers2:
Open: Jun 1-Dec 31
Closed: Jan 1-May 31

Divers, Shore-based Anglers2:
Open year-round

May be taken or possessed in waters less than 180 ft (30 fm) deep4, as defined by connecting the set of waypoints adopted in Federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660 Subpart G)

SEE EXCEPTION AT END OF TABLE

10 fish in combination per person EXCEPT:

Cabezon: 3 fish per person


Bocaccio: 3 fish per person

See individual species and groups below:

Cabezon: 15” total length


Kelp and/or rock greenlings: 12” total length

THE ROCKFISHES LISTED BELOW MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN CALIFORNIA.

Bronzespotted Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfish  (Section 28.55)

FISHING IS CLOSED year-round, at all depths            NO RETENTION at any time (zero fish per person)

Lingcod
(Section 28.27)

Same as RCG Complex, above

2 fish per person

22” total length

Leopard Shark7
(Section 28.56)

Boat-based Anglers2 within San Francisco Bay, Bodega Harbor, Tomales Bay, Bolinas Bay, and Drake’s Estero Bay: Open year-round

Outside of the previously mentioned bays: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: Open year-round

Boat-based Anglers2 within San Francisco Bay, Bodega Harbor, Tomales Bay, Bolinas Bay, and Drake’s Estero Bay: No depth restrictions

Outside of the previously mentioned bays: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: No depth  restrictions

3 fish per person

36” total length

Pacific Sanddab and “Other Flatfish”3
(Section 28.48)

Open year-round1,3

No depth limit

Pacific sanddab: No limit


All “Other Flatfish”3: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination per Section 27.60

No size limit

Other Federal Groundfish
(Section 28.49)

Same as RCG Complex, above

Petrale sole and starry flounder: No limit


Soupfin shark: 1 fish per person

All Other Federal Groundfish: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination per Section 27.60

No size limit

1. Subject to in-season change. Call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, visit the Marine Region website, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the current ocean sport fishing regulations booklet or the MPA website, send an e-mail to AskMPA@dfg.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for more information.

2. Divers and shore-based anglers are exempt from season and depth restrictions affecting the RCG complex and other federally managed groundfish. However, when spear fishing during a boat-based closure, only spear fishing gear is allowed aboard any vessel or watercraft. Also, when angling from shore during a boat-based closure, no vessel or watercraft may be used to assist in taking or possessing species included in this table. The following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:
  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen angling from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen angling from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade structures connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.

3. Pacific sanddab, butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole (“Other Flatfish” as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(10)) may be taken during the closed season or in closed areas.
4.  Waters of Cordell Bank less than 100 fathoms (600 ft.) in depth are closed at all times for all groundfish species except Pacific sanddabs and “Other Flatfish”. Divers and shore-based anglers are not exempt from the closure. See subsection 27.35(b)(3) for more information.
5. See regulations for information on gear restrictions (Sections 28.65, 28.70, 28.75, 28.80, 28.85, 28.90, 28.91, and 28.95) and fillet lengths (Section 27.65).
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.
7. The sport fishery for leopard shark inside San Francisco Bay, Bodega Harbor, Tomales Bay, Bolinas Bay, and Drake’s Estero Bay is exempt from season and depth restrictions that affect other federally managed groundfish (Section 28.56).
EXCEPTION: During the open season, groundfish may be possessed in closed areas and in water depths closed to fishing only aboard vessels in transit with no fishing gear in the water. See subsection 27.20(b).

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Central Management Area

Ocean waters between 37°11' N. latitude (Pigeon Point) and 34°27' N. latitude (Point Conception)
Includes part of San Mateo County, all of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, and parts of Santa Barbara County

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Note: Regulations in this table may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please review one of the resources listed in Footnote 1 to receive the most up-to-date regulations. Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the MPA website for more information.

Species Time Period1,2,3 Depth Limit1,2 Daily Bag Limit1 Min. Size Limit1,4,5

RCG Complex1
(including all species of Rockfishes, Cabezon and Greenlings, Sections 1.91 and 28.55, 28.28, and 28.29)

Boat-based Anglers2:
Open: May 1-Dec 31
Closed: Jan 1-Apr 30

Divers, Shore-based Anglers2:
Open year-round

May be taken or possessed in waters less than 240 ft (40 fm) deep, as defined by connecting the set of waypoints adopted in Federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660, Subpart G)

SEE EXCEPTION AT END OF TABLE

10 fish in combination per person EXCEPT:

Cabezon: 3 fish per person


Bocaccio: 3 fish per person

See individual species and groups below:

Cabezon: 15” total length


Kelp and/or rock greenlings: 12” total length

THE ROCKFISHES LISTED BELOW MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN CALIFORNIA.

Bronzespotted Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfish  (Section 28.55)

FISHING IS CLOSED year-round, at all depths            NO RETENTION at any time (zero fish per person)

Lingcod
(Section 28.27)

Same as RCG Complex, above

2 fish per person

22” total length

Ocean Whitefish
(Section 28.58)

Same as RCG Complex, above

10 fish per person

None

California Sheephead
(Section 28.26)

Same as RCG Complex, above

5 fish per person

12” total length

California Scorpionfish
(Section 28.54)

Same as RCG Complex, above

5 fish per person

10” total length

Leopard Shark6
(Section 28.56)

Boat-based Anglers2 within Elkhorn Slough: Open year-round

Outside of Elkhorn Slough: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: Open year-round

Boat-based Anglers2 within Elkhorn Slough: No depth limit

Outside of Elkhorn Slough: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: No depth limit

3 fish per person

 

 

 

36” total length

Pacific Sanddab and “Other Flatfish”3
(Section 28.48)

Open year-round3

No depth limit

Pacific sanddab: No daily bag limit

All “Other Flatfish”3: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination, per Section 27.60

No size limit

Other Federal Groundfish
(Section 28.49)

Same as RCG Complex, above

Petrale sole and starry flounder: No daily bag limit


Soupfin shark: 1 fish per person

All Other Federal Groundfish: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination, per Section 27.60

No size limit

1. Subject to in-season change. Call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, visit the Marine Region website, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the current ocean sport fishing regulations booklet or the MPA website, send an e-mail to AskMPA@dfg.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for more information.

2. Divers and shore-based anglers are exempt from season and depth restrictions affecting the RCG complex and other federally managed groundfish. However, when spear fishing during a boat-based closure, only spear fishing gear is allowed aboard any vessel or watercraft. Also, when angling from shore during a boat-based closure, no vessel or watercraft may be used to assist in taking or possessing species included in this table. The following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:
  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen angling from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen angling from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade structures connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.
3. Pacific sanddab, butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole (“Other Flatfish” as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(10)) may be taken during the closed season or in closed areas.
4. See regulations for information on gear restrictions (Sections 28.65, 28.70, 28.75, 28.80, 28.85, 28.90, 28.91, and 28.95) and fillet lengths (Section 27.65).
5. 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.
6. The sport fishery for leopard shark inside Elkhorn Slough is exempt from season and depth restrictions that affect other federally managed groundfish (Section 28.56).
EXCEPTION: During the open season, groundfish may be possessed in closed areas and in water depths closed to fishing only aboard vessels in transit with no fishing gear in the water. See subsection 27.20(b).

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Southern Management Area

Ocean waters between 34°27' N. latitude (Point Conception) and the U.S.-Mexico Border, excluding the Cowcod Conservation Areas3
Includes a portion of Santa Barbara County, and all of Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties

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Note: Regulations in this table may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please review one of the resources listed in Footnote 1 to receive the most up-to-date regulations. Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the MPA website for more information.

Species Time Period1,2,3,4 Depth Limit1,2,3,4 Daily Bag Limit1 Min. Size Limit1,5,6

RCG Complex1
(including all species of Rockfishes, Cabezon and Greenlings. Sections 1.91 and 28.55, 28.28, and 28.29)

Boat-based Anglers2:
Open: Mar 1-Dec 31
Closed: Jan 1-Feb 28

Divers, Shore-based Anglers2:
Open year-round

May be taken or possessed in waters less than 300 ft (50 fm) deep2, as defined by connecting a set of waypoints adopted in Federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660, Subpart G)

SEE EXCEPTION AT END OF TABLE

10 fish in combination per person EXCEPT:

Cabezon: 3 fish per person


Bocaccio: 3 fish per person

See individual species and groups below:

Cabezon: 15” total length


Kelp and/or rock greenlings: 12” total length

THE ROCKFISHES LISTED BELOW MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN CALIFORNIA.

Bronzespotted Rockfish, Canary Rockfish, Cowcod, and Yelloweye Rockfish  (Section 28.55)

FISHING IS CLOSED year-round, at all depths            NO RETENTION at any time (zero fish per person)

Lingcod
(Section 28.27)

Same as RCG Complex, above

2 fish per person

22” total length

California Sheephead
(Section 28.26)

Same as RCG Complex, above

5 fish per person

12” total length

Ocean Whitefish
(Section 28.58)

Same as RCG Complex, above

10 fish per person

None

California Scorpionfish
(Section 28.54)

Open year-round

Same as RCG Complex, above

5 fish per person

10” total length

Leopard Shark7
(Section 28.56)

 

 

 

 

 

Boat-based Anglers2 within Newport Bay, Alamitos Bay, San Diego Bay, and Mission Bay: Open year-round

Outside of the above-mentioned bays: Same as RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: Open year-round

Boat-based Anglers2 within Newport Bay, Alamitos Bay, San Diego Bay, and Mission Bay: No depth limit

Outside of the above-mentioned bays: Same as
RCG Complex, above

Divers, Shore-Based Anglers2: No depth limit

3 fish per person

36” total length

Pacific Sanddab and “Other Flatfish”4 (Section 28.48)

Open year-round4

No depth limit

Pacific sanddab: No daily bag limit


All “Other Flatfish”4: 10 fish of each species, 20 fish total in combination per Section 27.60

No size limit

Other Federal Groundfish
(Section 28.49)

Same as RCG Complex, above

Petrale sole and starry flounder: No daily bag limit


Soupfin shark: 1 fish per person

All Other Federal Groundfish: 10 fish of each species, 20 fish total in combination per Section 27.60

No size limit

1. Subject to in-season change. Call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, visit the Marine Region website, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the current ocean sport fishing regulations booklet or the MPA website, send an e-mail to AskMPA@dfg.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for more information.

2. Divers and shore-based anglers are exempt from season and depth restrictions affecting the RCG complex and other federally managed groundfish. However, when spear fishing during a boat-based closure, only spear fishing gear is allowed aboard any vessel or watercraft. Also, when angling from shore during a boat-based closure, no vessel or watercraft may be used to assist in taking or possessing species included in this table. The following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:
  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen angling from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen angling from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade structures connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.
3. See the Cowcod Conservation Areas table and/or Section 27.50 for further information on fishing regulations in these areas.
4. Pacific sanddab, butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole (“Other Flatfish” as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(10)) may be taken during the closed season or in closed areas.
5. See regulations for information on gear restrictions (Sections 28.65, 28.70, 28.75, 28.80, 28.85, 28.90, 28.91, and 28.95) and fillet lengths (Section 27.65).
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.
7. The sport fishery for leopard shark inside Newport Bay, Alamitos Bay, Mission Bay, and San Diego Bay is exempt from season and depth restrictions that affect other federally managed groundfish (Section 28.56).
EXCEPTION: During the open season, groundfish may be possessed in closed areas and in water depths closed to fishing only aboard vessels in transit with no fishing gear in the water. See subsection 27.20(b).

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Cowcod Conservation Areas

Ocean waters between 34°27' N. latitude (Point Conception) and the U.S.-Mexico Border:
Area 1 is located south of the northern Channel Islands. Area 2 is located west of San Diego.
View a map and exact location coordinates.

In these areas, only the groundfish listed within this table may be caught or possessed (See EXCEPTION at end of table)

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Note: Regulations in this table may change during the year. Before engaging in ocean sportfishing for groundfish and associated species, please review one of the resources listed in Footnote 2 to receive the most up-to-date regulations. Some marine protected areas restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the MPA website for more information.

Species Time Period2,3,4 Depth Limit2,3,4 Daily Bag Limit2,4 Min. Size Limit2,3,5,6

Nearshore Rockfishes1 and Shelf Rockfishes2 as defined in Section 1.91(a) and Cabezon and Greenlings as defined in sections 28.28 and 28.29.

Boat-based Anglers3:
Open: Mar 1-Dec 31
Closed: Jan 1-Feb 28

Divers, Shore-based Anglers3:
Open year-round

May only be taken or possessed in waters less than 120 ft (20 fm) deep2
SEE EXCEPTION AT END OF TABLE

10 fish in combination per person EXCEPT:

Cabezon: 3 fish per person

Bocaccio: 3 fish per person

See individual species and groups below:

Cabezon: 15” total length


Kelp and/or rock greenlings: 12” total length

Lingcod
(Section 28.27)

Same as rockfishes, cabezon and greenlings, above

2 fish per person

22” total length

California Sheephead
(Section 28.26)

Same as rockfishes, cabezon and greenlings, above

5 fish per person

12” total length

Ocean Whitefish
(Section 28.58)

Same as rockfishes, cabezon and greenlings, above

10 fish per person

No size limit

California Scorpionfish
(Section 28.54)

Open year-round

Same as rockfishes, cabezon and greenlings, above

5 fish per person

10” total length

Pacific Sanddab and “Other Flatfish”4
(Section 28.48)

Open year-round4

No depth limit4

Pacific sanddab: No daily bag limit


All “Other Flatfish”4: 10 fish of each species, limit 20 fish total in combination, per Section 27.60

No size limit

THE GROUNDFISH SPECIES LISTED BELOW MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN THE COWCOD CONSERVATION AREAS.

FISHING IS CLOSED year-round, at all depths            NO RETENTION at any time (zero fish per person)

Bocaccio, Canary, Cowcod, Bronzespotted and Yelloweye Rockfishes (Section 28.55)
Slope Rockfishes as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(4)
Leopard Shark (Section 28.56)
Other Federal Groundfish (Sections 28.49, 28.51, 28.52, 28.53, 28.57)

1. "Nearshore rockfishes" as described in Section 1.91(a)(1) means black rockfish, black-and-yellow rockfish, blue rockfish, brown rockfish, calico rockfish, China rockfish, copper rockfish, gopher rockfish, grass rockfish, kelp rockfish, olive rockfish, quillback rockfish, and treefish.
2. "Shelf Rockfish" as desribed in subsection 1.91(a)(3) means bocaccio, chilipepper rockfish, dusky rockfish, flag rockfish, greenblotched rockfish, greenspotted rockfish, greenstriped rockfish, harlequin rockfish, honeycomb rockfish, Mexican rockfish, pink rockfish, redstripe rockfish, rosethorn rockfish, rosy rockfish, shortbelly rockfish, silvergray rockfish, speckeled rockfish, squarespot rockfish, starry rockfish, stripetail rockfish, tiger rockfish, vermilion rockfish, widow rockfish, and yellowtail rockfish. Take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, canary rockfish, cowcod rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish is prohibited.
3. Subject to in-season change. Call the Recreational Groundfish Fishing Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801, visit the Marine Region website, send an e-mail to AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) restrict or prohibit sport fishing. Check the current ocean sport fishing regulations booklet or the MPA website, send an e-mail to AskMPA@dfg.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for more information.

4. Divers and shore-based anglers are exempt from season and depth restrictions affecting the RCG complex and other federally managed groundfish. However, when spear fishing during a boat-based closure, only spear fishing gear is allowed aboard any vessel or watercraft. Also, when angling from shore during a boat-based closure, no vessel or watercraft may be used to assist in taking or possessing species included in this table. The following definitions describe boat-based and shore-based anglers, and divers:

  • Boat-based anglers are fishermen angling from boats or vessels of any size or any other type of floating object, including kayaks and float tubes.
  • Shore-based anglers are fishermen angling from beaches, banks, piers, jetties, breakwaters, docks and other manmade structures connected to the shore.
  • Divers are spear fishermen entering the water either from the shore or from a boat or other floating object.
5. Pacific sanddab, butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole (“Other Flatfish” as defined in subsection 1.91(a)(10)) may be taken during the closed season or in closed areas.
6. See regulations for information on gear restrictions (Sections 28.65, 28.70, 28.75, 28.80, 28.85, 28.90, 28.91, and 28.95) and fillet lengths (Section 27.65).
7. 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.
EXCEPTION: During the open season, groundfish may be possessed in closed areas and in water depths closed to fishing only aboard vessels in transit with no fishing gear in the water. See subsection 27.20(b).