Fish Sniffer Magazine Volume 42 Issue 02 | Page 19

VOL . 42 • ISS . 2


February 3 , 2023
CDFW Lifts Crab Trap Prohibition As Anglers Get Ready For Salmon And Rockfish Seasons
SAN FRANCISCO – The rockfish season is closed until May 1 and the salmon season won ’ t open until early April , so few boats have been venturing out on the ocean from Half Moon to Bodega Bay . Shore anglers can catch an array of perch species along the coast and in San Francisco , Bay while boaters can pursue halibut , sanddabs and petrale sole off the coast and striped bass , halibut , starry flounder and leopard sharks in San Francisco and San Pablo bays . White sturgeon are also available for bait fishermen in San Pablo and Suisun bays . The California Department of Fish and Wildlife ( CDFW ) lifted the Dungeness crab trap prohibition in Fishing Zones 3-6 ( all areas south of the Sonoma / Mendocino county line ) for the recreational fishery on Jan . 14 , 2023 . The CDFW lifted the 50 percent commercial fishery trap reduction in Fishing Zones 3-6 on Jan . 15 , 2023 at 8:01 a . m . The current 50 percent trap reduction for the commercial fishery and trap prohibition in the recreational fishery will remain in place until lifted on the respective dates . Based on available data and as indicated by historical migration patterns , humpback whale abundance is at or near a seasonal low within the Dungeness crab fishing grounds . As a result , CDFW Director Charlton H . Bonham is lifting the trap restrictions in Fishing Zones 3-6 for both fisheries because of lowered entanglement risk . However , a Fleet Advisory will be issued for the recreational fishery and will be continued for the commercial fishery to remain vigilant and avoid setting gear in areas where whales are transiting or foraging . All anglers are also strongly encouraged to follow best practices , as described in the Best Practices Guide ( opens in new tab ). CDFW anticipates the next risk assessment will take place in mid-February 2023 . For more information related to the risk assessment process , please visit CDFW ’ s Whale Safe Fisheries page or for more information on the Dungeness crab fishery , please visit wildlife . ca . gov / crab . For more information regarding the 2022-2023 commercial Dungeness crab season , please see CDFW ’ s Frequently Asked Questions ( opens in new tab ). . For the first time in several years , the rockfish season in the San Francisco and Central and San Francisco Management Areas management zones won ’ t reopen on April 1 , but will open instead on May 1 in the Central Management Area and May 15 in the San Francisco Management Areas . Major changes to recreational fishing seasons , depth limits and bag limits for a variety of groundfish species will be implemented in 2023 / The new regulations were
Surf fishing doesn ’ t seem to get the attention it deserves but it can be a great way to get exercise and you have the opportunity to catch a variety of species . Ernie Marlan was fishing for halibut when he caught and released this white seabass .
Photo Courtesy of Amy Wellenkamp
adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council in June 2022 and the California Fish and Game Commission in November 2022 and are expected to take effect on or around Jan . 1 , 2023 . As in previous years , the boatbased fishery for most groundfish species was closed beginning Jan . 1 , while spear divers and shorebased anglers will continue to have year-round fishing opportunities for groundfish , according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife . For groundfish including Rockfish , Cabezon and Greenling ( RCG ) as well as lingcod , the boat-based seasons will “ bring a mix of increased and reduced fishing opportunities , depending on the species ,” the CDFW said in a statement . Unlike prior years , all Groundfish Management Areas will have a portion of the season when ‘ all-depth ’ fishing is allowed and anglers are not subject to the Rockfish Conservation Area ( RCA ) depth constraints . This allows new fishing opportunities for deeper-water shelf and slope rockfish , which are most abundant in areas that have been previously closed to recreational groundfish fishing . “ While recognizing there are concerns with copper and quillback rockfish that will reduce nearshore
• DUNGENESS CRAB & COMBO TRIPS fishing time in the near-term , the California Department of Fish and Wildlife ( CDFW ) is excited to offer recreational anglers new deeperwater and offshore bank and reef opportunities for groundfish that have been closed for more than two decades ,” said CDFW Environmental Program Manager Marci Yaremko . “ We look forward to seeing the diversity of healthy species come across the docks in the coming years as significant new fishing grounds will now be available to recreational angling .” The following is a summary of the new boat-based regulations for RCG species and lingcod : Central Management Area between 37 ° 11 ’ N . latitude ( Pigeon Point ) and 34 ° 27 ’ N . latitude ( Point Conception ): For nearshore rockfish , cabezon and greenlings : closed Jan . 1 through April 30 , open at all depths
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February is a great time to walk the coast and fish for surf perch . Jerkbaits and carolina rigs with soft plastics are often the most productive all along the California coast .
Photo Courtesy of Ernie Marlan
May 1 through Sept . 30 , closed Oct . 1 through Dec . 31 . For all other rockfish ( shelf and slope species ) and lingcod : closed Jan . 1 through April 30 , open at all depths May 1 through Sept . 30 . From Oct . 1 through Dec . 31 , take of shelf and slope rockfish and lingcod is open seaward of the 50 fathom RCA line . Take is prohibited shoreward of the 50 fathom RCA line . San Francisco Management Area between 38 ° 57.5 ’ N . latitude
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