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What is Considered a Legal Striped Bass Size in California?

20 pound test for striped bass

Fishing in California may seem complicated because of the different areas and the number of species with unique restrictions. Besides licensing, it helps to know what you can catch and keep, restricted areas, and sizing limits, including the legal striped bass size in California.


California permits fishing for striped bass during all seasons. Any striped bass, including hybrids, are subject to the following regulations.  


San Francisco Bay District’s restrictions apply to most of the state except for the exceptions below. When fishing recreationally at most California locations, you can keep up to two striped bass. Of note, you cannot catch two striped bass, give one to another angler, and proceed to catch and keep a third.


The minimum size limit for striped bass is 18 inches in length with no maximum length. However, you can’t keep a striped bass if you used a sinker weighing more than four pounds or employed a power-driven gurdy or winch to catch it.


California provides some exceptions to the rule. When fishing in the Southern District (excluding Lake Elsinore), the Colorado River District, New Hogan Lake, San Antonio Lake, or Santa Margarita Lake, you can catch and retain up to ten striped bass. Additionally, there is no minimum legal size for striped bass in these locations. 


Lake Elsinore is the exception to the exception. Though located in the Southern District, fishing for striped bass at Lake Elsinore follows the San Francisco Bay area’s restrictions. 


You can find more information here for more helpful tips to make your next angling excursion a success.


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