2023 River/Ocean Regulations



The adult salmon quota for the Klamath/Trinity basin is zero in 2023

On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,060 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 360 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 2022, 318 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 699 adults. The quota will be split almost evenly; 350 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 349 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath.

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 23 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 23 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: 

Our 2022 ocean sport salmon season will open May 1 and run through May 31. The season will open back up Aug. 1 and run through Sept. 5. It will be open from the OR/CA border south to the 40°10’ line (near Cape Mendocino), (Klamath Management Zone). Fishing is allowed seven days per week for all salmon except coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length. The possession limit is no more than two daily bag limits in possession while on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. No salmon punch card is required for ocean salmon fishing. The sport season from the 40°10’ line to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will also open May 1 and will run through July 4. It will reopen July 22 and run through Sept. 5. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline 707-576-3429.

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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

Pacific Halibut:
The 2023 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open May 1 and remain open seven days per week until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2023 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 39,540 pounds – approximately the same as the 2022 quota.

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 2023 season for boat-based anglers will run from May 15 through Oct. 15 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 four Vermillion, one Quillback and one Copper 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, 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.