2020 River/Ocean Regulations


The adult salmon quota for the Klamath/Trinity basin is 1,296 in 2020

On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 648 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 220 adults.

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 2020, 194 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.

Important Reminder: All legally caught Chinook salmon must be retained while fishing the spit. Once the adult component of the total daily bag limit has been retained, anglers must cease fishing in the spit area. Also, the new six-foot leader length restriction remains in effect.

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Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations began on July 1 and run through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one 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 428 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 214 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 214 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 July 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is one 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). 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:  Within the California KMZ, which runs from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain, the season will run from June 6 through August 9. 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, only 186,600 Klamath adult salmon are swimming in the ocean, providing for a reduced quota for fall salmon on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Though still awaiting approval from the F&G Commission, the sport in-river quota will be 1,296 adults divided between the two rivers, compared to 7,636 in 2019.

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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 a robust 473,200 Sacramento fall Chinook said to be swimming in the ocean, the seasons to our south will have a much longer season than last year. The area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will open on May 1 and run through Nov. 8 The San Francisco area will have the same season opening and closing dates. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 total length for Chinook. To the north in the Brookings area (Oregon KMZ), the season will open on June 20 and run through Aug. 7 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.

Pacific Halibut:
The 2020 recreational Pacific halibut fishery is scheduled to be open May 1 and remain open until October 31, or until the quota has been reached, whichever is earlier. The Pacific halibut allocation for California will be set for the next four years at 39,000 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: The season for boat-based anglers will run from May 1 through Oct. 31 within 180 feet and Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restrictions. The Northern Management Area runs from the CA/OR border to the 40°10′ N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino). The Mendocino Management Area runs south of the 40°10′ N. latitude to Point Arena.

Summary of current regulations, Northern Mgmt. Area: As it’s written in the current regulations, the daily bag limit per person is a 10-fish combination. Exceptions include three Cabezon, four black rockfish and three Canary 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. Mendocino Mgmt. Area are identical to the Northern Mgmt. Area.
For more information about recreational groundfish regulations, please call the hotline at 831-649-2801 or visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north. You can also email AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Important reminder: When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon (Shelter Cove), or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species. When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species.