2018 River/Ocean Regulations



On the Klamath, fall regulations will begin on Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31 with a daily bag limit of 2 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 1 may be more than 22 inches in length. The possession limit is 6 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 3 may be more than 22 inches in length. On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,745 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 593 adults.

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The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. In 2018, 523 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit.

Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations began on Jan. 1 and run through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of two salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.


On the Trinity side, which will be open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, the quota is set at 1,152 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31.

The Trinity is open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.


Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length). The 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits will be published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted online in May. Additional season information is available on the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at 800-564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.


Sport Salmon Season: Encouraged by a recovering Klamath River fall Chinook stock, the PFMC adopted a very generous season for the California KMZ, which runs from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain. The season will run from June 1 straight through September 3. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook. According to the PFMC, 359,200 Klamath adult salmon are swimming in the ocean, opening the door for fall salmon seasons on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers as well. Though still awaiting approval from the F&G Commission, the sport in-river quota will be 3,490 adults divided between the two rivers.

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A group of happy anglers landed their limits of salmon while fishing out of Shelter Cove on Tuesday. Since the weekend, the salmon bite has picked up out of Shelter Cove as well as Fort Bragg. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

With only 229,432 Sacramento fall Chinook said to be swimming in the ocean, the seasons to our south were a little more restricted this year. The area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will open on June 17 and run through Oct 31. The San Francisco area will have the same season opening and closing dates. To the north in the Brookings area (Oregon KMZ), the season will open on May 19 and run through Aug. 26. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 24 inches total length for Chinook. For more information on both the recreational and commercial fishing seasons, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon

Pacific Halibut: The 2018 Pacific halibut fishery will have four open periods, May 1-June 15, July 1-15, August 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The quota allotment for 2018 will be 30,940 pounds. CDFW will again monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking. The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used.

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Chad Gaser of Eureka landed this monster 70-lb. halibut on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka. Gaser was fishing in 300 feet of water straight off the stacks. Photo courtesy of Chad Gaser

Rockfish: Changes made prior to the 2017 season will carry over into 2018 for the Northern Management Area, which runs from the Oregon border to Cape Mendocino. The season for boat-based anglers will again run from May 1 through Oct. 31 within 180 feet and Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restrictions. In 2018, the one big change is the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018 statewide.

Summary of regulations: The daily bag limit per person is a 10-fish combination. Exceptions include three Cabezon, two Canary, and three black rockfish allowed per person as part of their 10-fish bag limit. Cabezon have a minimum 15-inch size limit and Kelp and/or rock greenlings must be 12-inches. The daily bag limit of Lingcod is two per person and they must be 22-inches in length. The take and possession of Cowcod, Bronzespotted rockfish, and Yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide. Petrale sole and Starry flounder can be retained year- round at all depths with no size limit. For more information about recreational groundfish regulations within the northern mgt. area, please call the hotline at 831-649-2801 or visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north