What to know about the 2023-2024 Rockfishing Season!

Deciphering the 2023-2024 Rock Fishing Regulations. Depth Restrictions, Species Identification and Closures. Check your management area for specific rules.

San Francisco Management Area – (Ocean waters between 38°57.5′ N. latitude (Point Arena) and 37°11′ N. latitude (Pigeon Point)

May 15-July 15 2023. 50 fathoms or deeper only. No Inshore fishing or retention of inshore species.

July 16-December 31 2023. All depths open to fishing.

SF Management Area

Central Management Area – (Ocean waters between 37°11’N. latitude (Pigeon Point) and 34°27′ N. latitude (Point Conception))

May 1- September 30 2023. All depths open to fishing.

October 1-December 31 2023. 50 fathoms or deeper only. No Inshore fishing or retention of inshore species.

Central Management Area

To clarify, at the start of the season.

North of Pigeon Point from May 15 – July 15


South of Pigeon Point May 1 -September 30


Important to remember that no inshore fish are allowed to be kept when inshore fishing is closed, regardless of what depth they were caught. Emphasizing that it doesn’t matter if you caught a blue or a black in deeper than 50 fathoms, no retention of inshore species allowed.

How can I tell which species are inshore and which are slope and shelf?

Im so glad you asked. Here are some ID cards provided by CDFW, ODFW and Recfin to help with identification. Not only are there ID cards for Inshore, Shelf and Slope rockfish, there are also some for the Copper, Quillback and Vermillion among others. The individual species ID cards include several variations in color and appearance for each species. There are a few that are helpful in comparing and contrasting

Ok, So now I know what I can fish for and when? How can I find the 50 Fathom line?

Keep in mind it does not follow the contour line! Check you local waypoints!

Here is a link to the waypoints from Canada to Mexico.

Here is another link to the NOAA list of the same.

Now that we are catching all these deepwater fish, how do we safely release them? (Yes, they can be safely released!!!). Stay tuned for more information about barotrauma. Coastside has an interesting history of involvement in influencing the use of descending devices to create more fishing opportunity for all.

Baroutrauma info!

Here is a great barotrauma video, served with extra cheese lol.

Check out our Greybeard Articles on Rockfishing for additional info!

Check out the Mendocino, Northern and Southern Management Area rules here.