Pacific Bluefin Tuna Fishing Season

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This year, look for the biggest angling adventure in the biggest ocean, and you will feel like the king of the waters. Tuna fishing is not only challenging, it is fun and the Pacific coast is a great destination for anglers who want to heighten the thrill. Know the Pacific Bluefin tuna fishing season and catch big fish.

Pacific Bluefin Tuna Fishing Season

There are various types of tuna fish, and the most popular one for anglers is the Bluefin. This fish can swim at a depth of 1,600 feet, and can weigh up to 900lbs. If you have the right gear you can plan to catch this mighty fish. However, be sure to head down to the waters at the right time of the year.

An image of Bluefin tuna underwater

When Does Pacific Bluefin Tuna Season Begin?

The best time to catch this fish species in North America is between March and May and then from August till November. However, it is not as if you will not be able to find Bluefin tuna during the summer or winter months at all.

The best time to fish for recreational anglers is always open, however, there are some times of the year when you can catch the giant fish easily because it is around the coast where you go fishing. Along the coast of California, you can find Bluefin from late June to November.

The Nature of Pacific Bluefin Tuna

To understand the best time to fish for this particular species, anglers must know a little about the nature of the fish. In the Pacific, Bluefin spawn from mid-April to June. Soon after spawning, they migrate to the cooler water areas, which means that around the end of June, this fish moves towards the north.

By the end of fall, this fish is on its way back to the southern water regions as winters make the northern areas cold. In the Pacific, there are numerous countries that share the Bluefin tuna population, and therefore there are some rules on the quantity and fishing timings for each of them.

The Migration Pattern

When this fish species is ready to spawn, it heads to the Sea of Japan in the Pacific Ocean, and by the end of June, this fish travels back thousands of miles to live around the coast of California. You can also find this fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

This fish species travels up and down along the coast of California and Washington according to the seasons for most of its life, until it is an adult and then returns to the Sea of Japan to spawn. The Pacific region off the coast of California allows fishing all year round, with peak between March and October.

The Best Time to Fish For Tuna in the Pacifica

Now that I know when this species travels away from the Californian coast, and when it travels up towards the coast of Washington, it is easier to understand the best time to fish for tuna in the Pacific waters.

Anglers can head out to catch this fish in March, or April when the fish is around the coast of California and ready to feed heavily before heading up north for the summertime. Another excellent period is between July and October when this fish is feeding heavily before the winter. Adult tuna moves farther from the coast to the Sea of Japan to spawn between June and August.

An image of freshly caught Bluefin tuna

Fishing Season According to Location

Anglers can find this species in the Pacific Ocean along numerous coasts in the world. However, in America, this fish can be found in the west and due to the weather conditions, and the temperature of the water, Bluefin Tuna is found in various areas all around the year, with the most favorable months between April and November.

Whether they are swimming towards the cooler parts of the ocean, or are swimming southwards due to the cold winters in the north, you can find Bluefin Tuna in the Pacific waters on the coast of Washington and California. The specific cities that have become famous tuna fishing spots are:

  • Baja,
  • San Clemente Island,
  • Monterey Bay,
  • San Diego,
  • Victoria,
  • Westport.

Pacific Bluefin Tuna Season in Other Parts of the World

This fish species is considered highly migratory since it travels large distances throughout the year. You can fish for Bluefin in the Pacific Ocean from March to December along the coasts of the following countries:

  • New Zealand,
  • Eastern Australia
  • Japan,
  • Philippines,
  • Mexico.

Apart from the vast North American coast, the shores of all these countries can be adventurous destinations for passionate anglers who wish to catch big tuna. Angling can be an adventurous sport and people love to fish the Pacific waters because the giant Bluefin found here are fierce, athletic and powerful.

Tuna Fishing Seasons Vary With Location

If you are planning to fish for this sea giant in the southern Pacific, off the coast of Australia or New Zealand, you can find this species between October and March. While these months are winter in the north, around these countries it is a great time to fish for tuna swimming closer to the surface to feed on all kinds of fish before migrating to the north.

Along the coast of the Philippines, the suitable time to fish for tuna in the Pacific is the same as around California. You can enjoy this adventurous sport all around the year. However, you must know the rules of the country to explore its coast for this energetic and powerful fish.

Why Is the Spawning Season Unsuitable for Fishing?

When the Pacific tuna moves to the Sea of Japan and Philippines from June to August to spawn, the swimming season is considered off because fish moves deep into the sea to lay eggs. All fish find hidden spots at the bottom of the water to lay their eggs, and therefore, they are not close to the surface.

Moreover, Bluefin tuna in the Pacific require the temperature of between 70⁰ Fahrenheit and 86⁰ Fahrenheit. This temperature is most suitable for them to lay eggs, and in the late summer season, the Japanese and Philippine waters offer this temperature. While adult tuna migrate to these places to spawn, there are plenty of young tuna at the coast off North America for anglers to target.

A close-up image of Bluefin tuna

The Fishing Limits for the Species

In the Pacific Ocean, the common authority of Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission harvests and sets quotas for each country. The American authority of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration further sets rules for recreational anglers and professional fishing companies.

When you set out to catch this fish species on the west coast, there are a few limits to follow as of right now you can only keep two fish per person. Since the best season to fish on this coast does not end, the anglers must know the rules. Moreover, it would help to know the best time to catch tuna in a short time.

Keeping Conservation in Mind During Fishing Season

The Pacific variation of the Bluefin is considered special, and since many years, international organizations have taken care of the harvest, and fishing policies. However, the number of Bluefin tuna in the Pacific Ocean has deteriorated considerably.

All anglers must abide by the quota of catches because the species is at risk due to the high demand of tuna for consumption worldwide. For professional tuna anglers, the commercial harvest status is clear and stated by the NOAA Fisheries. So when anglers go fishing during the season, they know the allowed quantity of fish to catch.


Anglers who want to add more adventure to their fishing experiences often try to plan trips according to the Pacific Bluefin tuna fishing season. While the ideal time to fish lasts for many months at the western coast, anglers must know the nature of the fish and the best locations to find some big catches.