Regulations for Fishing on the California Delta

Regulations for Fishing on the California Delta
The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, also known as the California Delta, includes all rivers, canals, sloughs, cuts, forebays and flooded islands within its limits. It is located between Sacramento and Stockton and composed of approximately 1,000 miles of waterways. The California Delta has myriad fishing grounds offering visitors plenty of fishing opportunities. Regulations are enforced to ensure productive fisheries in years to come.

Fishing License

All anglers age 16 and above must have a valid freshwater fishing license to take any fish from the California Delta. Fishing licenses are available to both residents and nonresidents for an annual permit or short-term permit that ranges from one to 10 consecutive days.


You can find many species in the Delta, including bluegill, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, crappie, channel catfish, bullhead catfish, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon. For channel catfish and bullhead, fishing season is open all year without any possession and size limits. For striped bass, fishing season is open all year with a daily bag limit of two and a minimum size of 18 inches. You are allowed to fish for sturgeon all year with a daily bag limit of one and a minimum size of 46 inches with a maximum size of six feet. Always check with the California Department of Fish and Game for the most current sport fishing regulations, as rules may change each year.

Hook and Weight Restrictions

Fishing hook and weight restrictions are enforced on the Delta. You cannot use a single hook with a gap greater than one inch or any multiple hook with a gap bigger than 3/4 inch. Gap is defined by the California Department of Fish and Game as the distance measured from the point of a hook to the shank.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

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