The fish size limits for California vary by subspecies and sometimes by area. One of the most popular species, the California halibut, has a designated minimum size of 22 inches total length. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife outlines these regulations.
In stipulating size limits, the Department of Fish and Wildlife specifies which measurement to use. For some species, the measurement is in total length, while others use a fork length measurement.
Surfperches are a common catch along the California coastline. The redtail surfperch has a miminum of 10 1/2 inches total length, while the other surfperches carry no minimum measurement, as per the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Other popular catches include yellowtail, white sturgeon and striped bass. The minimum measurement for yellowtail is 24 inches fork length. White sturgeon may be no smaller than 40 inches fork length and no larger than 60 inches fork length. California halibut may not be smaller than 22 inches total length.
Certain species have size limits in specified areas only. The striped bass is such an example. For this fish, there is no size limit south of Point Conception, whereas north of Point Conception a striped bass must measure at least 18 inches total length, as stipulated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Full regulations on size and season are available from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.