The waters of Monterey Bay, California, are open to those fishing from boats, including kayaks. However, fishermen are bound by the regulations of the California Department of Fish and Game and specific rules for the Monterey-South Central Management Area.
The California Department of Fish and Game reports the Monterey Bay area as having open seasons on rockfish, cabezon, kelp greenlings, rock greenlings, leopard shark, spiny dogfish, flatfish, halibut, seabass, sturgeon, and other species. The only closed seasons are on Dungeness crab and abalone. Other seasons may close early if harvest guidelines are met.
Licenses, Stamps and Report Cards
Kayak fishers over the age of 16 are required to have a valid California fishing license. The Sport Ocean Enhancement Stamp is not needed to fish in Monterey Bay. It’s required only when fishing south of Point Arguello. If you are taking sturgeon or pointy lobster from Monterey Bay, you will need a report card specific to that species.
Fishing from a kayak is legal for licensed fishermen, as is diving from a kayak for spearfishing. However, it is illegal for a kayaker to help another fishermen on the shore take a fish. Also, if you are spearfishing, no other type of fishing gear is allowed in the kayak.