Salmon Seasons Finalized for the California Coast

man with Chinook salmon
Sport fisherman with a nice Chinook salmon caught off Devil’s Slide
photo courtesy of D. Laughlin

Ocean salmon anglers across the California coast will be spending less time on the water this year chasing after king salmon, also known as Chinook.

At its virtual meeting last week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) finalized and adopted the 2021 ocean salmon seasons. Sport fisheries on much of the coast have yet to open, except for the Monterey area which opened on the traditional first Saturday in April. Continue reading “Salmon Seasons Finalized for the California Coast”

Sustainably Managing California’s Fisheries and Ecosystems During a Pandemic – Marine Region’s 2020 Year in Review and By the Numbers Reports

What did 2020 look like for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW’s) Marine Region? The 2020 Year in Review is now available along with its companion document 2020 By the Numbers. These reports provide overviews of the hurdles the Marine Region faced and accomplishments we achieved last year. Continue reading “Sustainably Managing California’s Fisheries and Ecosystems During a Pandemic – Marine Region’s 2020 Year in Review and By the Numbers Reports”

Fisheries Biologists Present California’s Ocean Salmon Forecast for 2021

Chinook salmon from the commercial fishery
Measuring an adipose fin-clipped Chinook salmon taken in the commercial fishery.
CDFW photo by G. Ghrist

At the annual Salmon Information Meeting held virtually today, state and federal fishery scientists presented estimates of catch in 2020 fisheries and spawner returns to rivers and hatcheries, as well as the expected salmon abundance for the upcoming fishing season. Continue reading “Fisheries Biologists Present California’s Ocean Salmon Forecast for 2021”

Creature Feature: Vermilion Rockfish

vermilion rockfish illustration by Amadeo BacharNote: Recreational fishing regulations for this species include depth constraints, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, and beginning January 6, 2022 a new sub-bag limit of four fish. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions flyer for more information about the sub-bag limit. As regulations can change in-season, anglers are encouraged to check the Marine Region website or call the Recreational Groundfish hotline at (831) 649-2801 prior to fishing for current regulations. 

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • Bright red on body and fins, black and gray mottling on young fish
  • Fish less than 12 inches long may have black-edged fins
  • Body moderately deep
  • Upper profile of head moderately curved
  • Large mouth, lower jaw slightly projecting, underside of jaw feels rough when rubbed from tail to head
  • Weak head spines

Life History & Other Notes

Vermilion rockfish feed almost exclusively on fishes, squid, and octopus. They appear to mature and spawn for the first time when they are 3 to 4 years old. Fertilization is internal and they give birth to live young. A female measuring 20 inches long was estimated to contain 282,000 eggs. By this measure, a 30-inch fish may contain as many as half a million eggs. Most spawning takes place from December through March.

The vermilion rockfish is a very popular and highly sought-after fish. The usual fishing rig consists of baited hooks above a sinker heavy enough to take the line to the bottom on a fairly straight course. A lot of baiting time can be saved by using a tough, difficult-to-steal bait such as a piece of squid or salted mackerel.

Scientific Name: Sebastes miniatus

Other Common Names: red snapper, red rock cod

Range & Habitat: Statewide over rocky reefs or other structure

Length & Weight: To 30 in. and 15+ lb.

Life Span: To 60 years

Diet & Suggested Bait: Feeds on fishes, squid, and octopus. Try live squid and anchovies, or salted mackerel for bait, and artificial lures such as leadhead jigs, swimbaits, and diamond bars.

CDFW Questionnaire to Gather Grunion Hunter Knowledge

California grunion spawning on a sandy Southern California beach

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would like to hear from California grunion hunters! A new questionnaire is available on the CDFW website to capture grunion hunters’ input. Your participation can help CDFW to better understand the recreational fishery. Continue reading “CDFW Questionnaire to Gather Grunion Hunter Knowledge”