The seasons are changing, and so are fishing regulations. The first large groundswell rolled through the bay and slowed the ground fish bite. Salmon season will close south of Pigeon Point this weekend as anglers start to gear up for Dungeness crabs.
Salmon season closes in ocean waters from Pigeon Point to the Mexican border Sunday, Oct. 7. The season will remain open from Pigeon Point north to Point Arena through Nov. 11.
The Sunday closing date is appropriate, because the season was about done here in Monterey Bay, with the exception of a few fish that were caught near Soquel Point during the final days.
That should remind us that salmon in the Santa Cruz Harbor will also be off limits after Sunday.
The traditional late-season salmon fishing that takes place on the north side of San Francisco Bay at spots including Duxbury Reef and Bolinas Bay has not produced many fish this season.
It appears as though the return into the Sacramento River may be a little lower than anticipated, and the population of adult salmon still out at sea does not look encouraging.
The first large northwest swell recently rolled through Monterey Bay, and as the surfers delighted in it, fishermen found discouraged rockfish. This was the first slow week this summer for rockfish, as the large groundswell rolled the inshore water over and rockfish grew stubborn about biting.
Halibut fishing has also started to take a turn as the water cools and baitfish move into deeper water. The chance at white sea bass is still an option for the very patient anglers.
The good news is that rockfish season will remain open in our water from Pigeon Point south through Dec. 31.
Meanwhile, wintertime means Dungeness crabs to many of us. This season should be no different, as the Dungie season will start for sport anglers Nov. 3. It will be highly anticipated. Most are hoping for a season as good as the past few, so that there will be plenty of steamed crabs for all.
If you’re interested in the exotic shellfish, spiny lobster season started in Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 29. Many local divers headed south, and a few boaters I know also headed down with lobster hoop traps in tow.
It may be time to switch gears and species from fish to lobster, but there is plenty to catch.
- Mike Baxter has fished in the Monterey Bay Area since he was a boy and has been a licensed charter boat captain for more than 20 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.