Category Archives: Fishing

Sport fishing, diving and related materials.


Canary rockfish now open to catch and retain



Publisher and Editor in Chief at United Seabears
Peter Jaeckle is the publisher and Chief Editor of the California Hunting Post.You can find him also on Google+,Twitter, Facebook and on many other sites. Over the past decades he has written on investments, dogs and dog rescue, economic and on environmental topics.

Oh, groundfish, Canary rockfish! They are my favorite fish in ocean waters. I admit it, it is not clamorous to catch rockfish, not even Canary rockfish. They are not fish that put up a fight and give you a hard time landing them. Nor to they make for an exciting challenge, chase, and battle to get them to your boat.

On the contrary, it is often a far greater challenge to get your boat to where the Canary rockfish are than to lure and catch them. Unless, of course, you find it exciting to spool off hundreds of feet of fishing line from your heavy-duty saltwater fishing rod.

Nevertheless, for pseudo saltwater fishermen like myself, it is exciting to feel the tug of fish after fish after fish on your descending line that is weighted down with a few pounds of lead. You already know that you got a catch before the line hits the bottom.

Thereafter, you have another type of fight at your hand: Reeling in 200 feet of heavy fishing line with several pounds of weights on it. Not to speak of anywhere from two to six heavy rockfish caught on your hooks. Naturally, the number of fish varies with the number of hooks allowed on one rod and line and, of course, with the fish population on your secret rockfish spot.

Believe me or not, that is hard work. The lead is dead weight and the fish are also just hanging there letting you do the heavy lifting. Literally. But your rewarded is delicious fish meat.

In 2000, Canary rockfish became officially “overfished”. A number of restrictions were put into place to protect the fish and help rebuild their populations. Among them, restrictions and prohibitions on retention, shortened seasons, the closure of certain deep-water fishing areas ( such as my favorite spot over 40 miles out of my home port), and promoting the use of descending devices. These devices improve the survival for released fish.

Of course, as fishermen know rockfish tend to look much like the one in the picture below.

canary rockfish = groundfish

They have a hard time to survive when reeled up at a fast rate.

Be that as it may, the protective measures put in place to protect Canary rockfish populations resulted in a recovery that was faster than anticipated. As a result, the California Fish and Game Commission decided to allow fishing for groundfish, including Canary rockfish, as of February 7, 2017.

Open seasons and fishing depths are as follows for each Groundfish Management area:

  • Northern – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 30 fathoms (180 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction

  • Mendocino – Open May 1 through Oct. 31 in 20 fathoms (120 feet) or less; Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restriction

  • San Francisco – Open April 15 through Dec. 31 in 40 fathoms (240 feet) or less

  • Central – Open April 1 through Dec. 31 in 50 fathoms (300 feet) or less

  • Southern – Open March 1 through Dec. 31 in 60 fathoms (360 feet) or less

The 20-fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour. The 30, 40, 50 and 60-fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (50 CFR Part 660, Subpart G).”

These statewide changes also include:

  • A new sub-bag limit of one canary rockfish within the 10-fish Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) Complex bag limit

  • A decrease in the sub-bag limit of black rockfish from five to three within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit

  • Elimination of the sub-bag limit of bocaccio within the 10-fish RCG Complex bag limit

  • A decrease in the lingcod bag limit from three to two fish

  • Allowance of petrale sole and starry flounder to be retained year round at all depths

Bronzespotted rockfish, cowcod, and yelloweye rockfish fisheries remain closed statewide.

It is important to stay informed and to abide by the changed regulations. To do so either call the Recreational Groundfish Hotline at (8310 649 2801 or visit the Marine Region Groundfish Central website of the CDFW.

To those of you who love to hate any restrictions on hunting, fishing, and the use of the outdoors I say consider this impressive example of a successful conservation effort. We can, indeed, we must protect our wildlife and the environment for our own future use and for our children. It is well worth the effort.