Author Topic: Q & A: California Halibut Fishing during a Groundfish Closure?  (Read 713 times)

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Offline RHYAK

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Thought this was a very interesting question, showing how vague and up to interpretation the regulations are. Its like saying fishing in SoCal if fishing for Calico Bass on a nice January day and I am getting a mix bag of Calico and rockfish but quickly releasing the rockies without pulling from the water depending on the situation could receive a ticket or could not. Its not a cut and try answer, so not sure how that could stand up in a court. If anyone has any further on this please add.

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Question: I want to fish for California halibut from a boat out of Tomales Bay near Bird Rock or Elephant Rock or go out of the Gate. I used to fish for them whenever herring, squid or anchovy would come in to spawn during the winter or spring. The halibut would lay in wait as the forage fish came through, usually from January through April or May.

I haven't done this kind of fishing for a long time (years in fact) because no one wants to go out there in the wintertime when no one else is fishing and we are absolutely alone at sea. My fishing buddy wants to go but is worried that we would be cited for targeting lingcod or rockfish. I told him that as long as we were not keeping anything except the halibut, we would not be cited. We wouldn't be doing anything wrong. But he repeated that he was worried that we would have no protection against being cited because we were out there during the closed groundfish season.

Can we be cited for targeting groundfish as long we do not keep any incidentally caught groundfish? Or, how about steelhead or Pacific halibut or canary cod or anything else that you are not allowed to keep? (Jerry Z.)

Answer: You know that the sandy bottoms are where the halibut hang out. You indicated fishing the Bird Rock and Elephant Rock areas, so keep in mind there are a lot of underwater rock outcroppings there. That's where the rockfish and lingcod hang out.

According to local California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Jim Jones, incidental catch is not a violation. However, once you do catch a species that is prohibited, it's recommended that you leave that area. If you continue to fish and catch fish you are not targeting, you could be cited.

If you are fishing during a closure (such as now) and start catching lingcod and rockfish, even if you are fishing catch and release, you could receive a citation for targeting those fish, depending on the situation


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Offline Dogpound

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Re: Q & A: California Halibut Fishing during a Groundfish Closure?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 10:24 PM »
Definitely Leaves a lot of discretion to the warden.  I would be more concerned up here or north, than down south. with  Calicos hanging out where rockfish hang out a lot of times.  I would hope if you were bounce balling or had a live bait rig on fishing over sand and happened to catch incidentals a warden would have some knowledge to realize you are not targeting the rcg complex.  But the way that question was answered you never know.........



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Offline RHYAK

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Re: Q & A: California Halibut Fishing during a Groundfish Closure?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 09:19 AM »
Definitely Leaves a lot of discretion to the warden.  I would be more concerned up here or north, than down south. with  Calicos hanging out where rockfish hang out a lot of times.  I would hope if you were bounce balling or had a live bait rig on fishing over sand and happened to catch incidentals a warden would have some knowledge to realize you are not targeting the rcg complex.  But the way that question was answered you never know.........

Yeah guess that is the problem. I believe that a majority of the halibut hang out around reefs anyway but chill in the sand on the sides of them waiting to ambush. So to say they are only in Sand is BS. But who knows.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 09:51 AM by RHYAK »
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