New Recreational Lobster Fishing Regulations.


Senior Member
I received an email from Department of Fish and Wildlife that I thought I share here.

It relates to upcoming lobster fishing and the new regulations thereof.

Two points stuck out that I almost sent them an email asking if there was a typo with one of them.

It was regarding the start time of the season. It has been changed from 6:00 AM (0600) to 6:00 PM (1800).

Other is the change from Possession limit to Bag limit. Thus, unlike before, you can hoop net next day even if you have unconsumed lobsters from previous day. Which is great.

Also no hoop netting allowed 24 hrs. prior to the opener start time.

Other regulations seem to be the same.

Below are the new regulations. Good luck everyone.


Recreational Lobster Fishing Information

California's coastal waters are home to a multitude of invertebrates (species lacking a bony skeleton). The California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) takes a particularly special place within this group as a highly sought-after target of both California's recreational and commercial fisheries. Below is a summary of spiny lobster regulations for the 2023-24 season.

Recreational lobster season opens at 6:00 p.m. on the Friday preceding the first Wednesday in October and closes at 12:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday (night) after the 15th of March.

Recreational Bag Limit: Seven lobsters per person.

Minimum Legal Size Limit: Three and one-fourth inches, measured in a straight line on the midline of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell (3 ¼ inch carapace). Please see the lobster measurement diagram (PDF)(opens in new tab) on how to measure your lobster.

Permit Requirements: CDFW Spiny Lobster Report Card and California recreational fishing license, available at CDFW's Online License Sales and Service. An Ocean Enhancement Validation is also required if fishing in ocean waters south of Point Arguello (Santa Barbara County), unless fishing under the authority of a one- or two-day California recreational fishing license.

Skin and SCUBA Diver Gear Requirements: All skin and SCUBA divers must only use their hands to take lobster.

Pier Fishing Gear Requirements: You may use up to 2 hoop nets while fishing from a public pier.

Vessel Fishing Gear Requirements: You may possess up to 5 hoop nets while fishing from a vessel, but the total number of hoop nets from a vessel cannot exceed 10, even if there are more than 2 people on the boat

Fishing Locations: See the CDFW Ocean Sport Fishing Interactive Web Map(opens in new tab).

Hoop Nets Prohibited 24 Hours Prior to the Season Opener: Hoop nets may not be deployed south of Point Arguello, Santa Barbara County during the 24 hours leading up to the recreational lobster season opener.


Well-Known Member
So if I'm reading this right it looks like lobster season opens at 6PM on Sept. 29th? Anyone planning anything?

As ocean temperatures climb has anyone seen or heard anything about spiny lobster being caught further north?


Senior Member
Per their email:
California's 2023-2024 recreational spiny lobster season is set to kick off Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, at 6 p.m., continuing through March 20, 2024.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Ocean temperatures haven't risen along the coast. Negligible change to temperatures and the fish in different spots. El Nino is when you see southern species moving north but that is mainly with pelagic species.


Well-Known Member
I see a third change. The way the rule is written you cannot hoop net for crab from thursday night at 6 pm till friday night at 6 pm of the day before and of lobster season.
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Well-Known Member
I see a third change. The way the rule is written you cannot hoop net for crab from thursday night at 6 pm till friday night at 6 pm of the day before and of lobster season.
Yes indeed. It does say hoop nets are not permitted at all south of Point Arguello for 24 hours prior to the opener...


Well-Known Member
I wonder if that includes the hoop nets that are used to net large fish?
I think it will depend on who it is that is issuing the ticket. The intent seems obvious that you should not be using hoop nets that
are baited in order to catch crustaceans. That's not how it is literally written though unfortunately.