This report reviews the state of the California Current System (CCS) between winter 2012 and spring 2013, and includes observations from Washington State to Baja California. During 2012, large-scale climate modes indicated the CCS remained in a cool, productive phase present since 2007. The upwelling season was delayed north of 42 degrees N, but regions to the south, especially 33 degrees to 36 degrees N, experienced average to above average upwelling that persisted throughout the summer. Contrary to the indication of high production suggested by the climate indices, chlorophyll observed from surveys and remote sensing was below average along much of the coast. As well, some members of the forage assemblages along the coast experienced low abundances in 2012 surveys. Specifically, the concentrations of all life-stages observed directly or from egg densities of Pacific sardine, Sardinops sagax, and northern anchovy, Engraulis mordax, were less than previous years' survey estimates. However, 2013 surveys and observations indicate an increase in abundance of northern anchovy. During winter 2011/2012, the increased presence of northern copepod species off northern California was consistent with stronger southward transport. Krill and small-fraction zooplankton abundances, where examined, were generally above average. North of 42 degrees N, salps returned to typical abundances in 2012 after greater observed concentrations in 2010 and 2011. In contrast, salp abundance off central and southern California increased after a period of southward transport during winter 2011/2012. Reproductive success of piscivorous Brandt's cormorant, Phalacrocorax penicillatus, was reduced while planktivorous Cassin's auklet, Ptychoramphus aleuticus was elevated. Differences between the productivity of these two seabirds may be related to the available forage assemblage observed in the surveys. California sea lion pups from San Miguel Island were undernourished resulting in a pup mortality event perhaps in response to changes in forage availability. Limited biological data were available for spring 2013, but strong winter upwelling coastwide indicated an early spring transition, with the strong upwelling persisting into early summer.