Pier Regulations

In general:  This link contains all the applicable Santa Barbara County Municipal Codes that apply to County Parks and some that apply specifically to Goleta Beach and Pier. If you have any questions as to what is permitted or acceptable practice please click on the link.

The following section  identifies and explains those California Department of Fish and Game 
(DFG) marine sportfishing regulations that apply to all fishing within the Park including specific regulations when fishing from the pier

Fishing Licenses:  The good news is that no license is required when fishing strictly from the pier. But if you step off the pier to retrieve a fish in the surf line a license is required just as if you had caught the fish from shore in the first place. 

Licenses can be purchased locally but must include a Ocean Enhancement stamp if fishing south of Point Conception. If a license is required it must be displayed on or above the waist. Best to buy your license at the beginning of the year as there is no pro-ration of the fees for a partial year license.

Tackle:  You may only have two (2) lines in the water at a time when fishing from the pier.  This means two poles, two crabnets, two handlines or any combination as long as it adds up to no more than two (2) items. 

Many pier anglers will bring two poles for fishing, a third for jigging live bait and a crab net. So only one of the fishing poles can be used while crabbing or  jigging..  Special regulations apply to crabs and lobsters which can only be taken by hand or by traps or nets attached to a line ... they may not be taken by baited or unbaited hooks (snagging).  The use of castable crab snares (non-hook weighted loops) is permitted.

Making Bait:  The overall rule when making bait is to take no more than you can reasonably use.  Commonly caught  live baits (smelt, herring, sardines and anchovies) have no daily or possession limits and many anglers take advantage of their erratic availability by drying or freezing large quantities for later use.  To avoid a ticket for 'waste of resource' it is important that all caught bait be utilized and not just simply discarded. 

Mussels and sandcrabs not only have individual possession limits (10#'s mussel or 50 sandcrabs) but also require a fishing license if taken from shore. 

Worms and the small (non-cancer species) crabs found in mussel clumps are legal as baits but only if they were obtained incidentally to the taking of the mussels themselves.  This means that no mussel clumps may be damaged in order to get at the crabs and worms such as occurs when the clump is slammed to  the deck to shake the other baits free. Such damage is also considered a 'waste of resource'.

DFG Regulations:   It is always a good practice to obtain and review a copy of the most recently released Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations at the start of each season.  The booklets are generally released in March of each year and may be obtained at local Bait and Tackle or sporting goods stores.  The regulations and the mid-season supplements are also available online

What's Open:  Up to date summary of current size and possession regulations applicable to our area (Point Conception to the Mexican Border) since there are some local species (lingcod, lobster, grunion) that have seasonal limitations.  The DFG distinguishes between 'boat-based' and 'shore-based' anglers. Fortunately pier & shore anglers have the fewest such restrictions. 

DFG Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):  This is another valuable resource compiled by the Department of Fish and Game.  It covers most of the situations that may arise and should be consulted whenever in doubt.

Remember ... these rules and regulations exist for the benefit of both anglers and the targeted species. Please respect the concern and effort that has gone into developing them.  Fish responsibly so that the existing fishing stocks will be maintained and improved for future generations.

Thank You

Questions or comments? ... email Pierhead

Copyright © 2007 by Boyd Grant.  All Rights Reserved