Category Archives: Archery

Diving for Lobsters with Hoop Nets

DFG Marine Biologist Travis Buck holds a California spiny lobster caught in a traditional hoop net (DFG photo)

CDFW Marine Environmental Scientest Travis Buck holds a California spiny lobster caught in a traditional hoop net (CDFW photo)

Question: In regards to catching California spiny lobster, the regulations say the following: Both rigid and collapsible hoop nets may be used from piers and boats. When fishing from a boat, five nets per person are allowed with no more than ten traps on a boat. When fishing from a pier, two hoop nets per person are allowed. Divers are limited to catching lobster by (gloved) hand only.

This leads me to my question. Is it legal for a snorkeler/diver/free diver to swim their hoop nets out to the desired location to drop and then retrieve their traps by hand, while floating in the water? This seems like a good option for people who do not own boats to set traps from and for divers when visibility is so poor that it’s impossible to see lobsters to catch by hand. (Joshua)

Answer: No, you cannot legally take fish hoop nets out to a fishing location while free or scuba diving. The law says that when diving for crustaceans (free or scuba diving), you may take crustaceans by the use of hands only (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80(g)). If you are in the water, you are diving. You can scout where you want to set your nets when diving, but then you need to stop diving and get out of the water to set and retrieve your hoop nets. If you don’t want to buy or borrow a boat, you can set traps from a kayak, a long board or even a stand up paddle board. Just be sure to wear a life jacket if you do!


Property rights via access by ATV down a dry river bed?
Question: During the last week of deer season, I approached a man riding a 4-wheeler who was obviously hunting since he had a rifle case. He was riding down the dry river bed for over a mile where it’s private property on both sides of the river. He argued with me that he had a right to be there as long as he stayed under the high water mark. I told him he could not be there and could not cross private property at all unless if in a boat and didn’t touch the river bar/land. He got huffy with me so I let it go and he proceeded on his way. What is the law when it comes to a river running through private land? (Heather D.)

Answer: This is a very complicated area of the law and will vary based on the characteristics of the waterway, the ownership of the land, the agencies involved and a number of other factors. In other words, before people get on their ATVs thinking they have the right to ride down dry river beds through private property, they should do some research to see exactly who owns or manages the land, what the characteristics of the dry waterway are and be absolutely sure they have a right to be there and won’t be trespassing. All situations are not the same and the laws may vary from place to place.


Pooling crabs?
Question: What is the boat limit for taking crabs other than Dungeness? I plan to have between two and four people (all with fishing licenses) on my private boat and need to know the answer to this question. Thank you very much for your help. (Jay T.)

Answer: You may not pool your crabs since boat limits apply only to finfish and not to invertebrates (CCR Title 14, section 27.60 (c)). With crabs, individual bag and possession limits apply. For crabs of the Cancer genus (excluding Dungeness crabs) including yellow crabs, rock crabs, red crabs and slender crabs, the limit is 35 crabs per person. Each crab must measure a minimum of four inches from edge of shell to edge of shell at the widest part (except there is no minimum size in parts of Humboldt County).


Bow and arrow hunting with a slingshot?
Question: Can a slingshot be used as a bow or crossbow? Would it be legal to hunt with an arrow and slingshot? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes, a slingshot can be used as a bow or crossbow as long as it can cast a legal hunting arrow (except flu-flu arrows) a horizontal distance of 130 yards, and as long as it meets one of the definitions of bows and crossbows listed in the Title 14 regulations. To be sure your slingshot meets the requirements, please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/, click on “CA Code of Regulations, including Title 14” and look up Title 14, section 354, subdivisions (a), (b) and (f).

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Diving for Abalone with Knives and Spear Guns

Red abalone feeding on kelp at San Miguel Island (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Red abalone feeding on kelp at San Miguel Island (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Question: I plan to head to the coast to try some abalone diving next weekend but need to clarify a few of the abalone regulations before I make the trip. First, I will take all abalone with a legal ab iron but want to also carry a knife. Would this be a problem?

Second, if my buddy and I want to spearfish and take abs on the same day, can we carry our guns while taking the abs or do we have to make separate trips to and from the car?

Finally, if our abs are separated into individual bags (one for mine and one for his), can both bags be clipped onto a single float tube while we finish spear fishing or would that violate the separate possession regulation? Thanks! (Andrew M.)

Answer: You are allowed to carry a knife while diving for abalone but you may not use a knife in place of an abalone iron for taking abalone. The main reason for this rule is because abalone are hemophiliacs, and even the slightest cut to the foot when attempting to remove them from the rocks may cause them to bleed to death. This is a problem especially for abalone short of the legal size limit that must be released. Abalone irons are designed with rounded corners and wider and thicker bases to prevent injuries.

As far as spear guns, you are allowed to carry one while abalone diving (unlike when diving for spiny lobster where this is not legal). Each person’s abalone must be kept in separate identifiable bags, but the bags can both be clipped to the same tube.


Fishing on CSU campuses?
Question: While fishing on a reservoir located on the Cal Poly SLO campus recently, a Cal Poly professor approached us and asked us to leave. This reservoir receives water flow from Lake Santa Margarita where the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) stocks the fishery. The reservoir isn’t listed as a regulated fishery with special conditions. I believe it is public land, and licensed California anglers have a right to fish there. The professor disagrees. Who’s right? (Brian H., San Luis Obispo)

Answer: Fishing access to reservoirs is generally controlled by the person or entity that owns the land on which the reservoir is located. According to local CDFW Patrol Lieutenant Todd Tognazzini, Cal Poly may be conducting studies or engaging in other activities on the reservoir that are inconsistent with fishing. The best thing to do is check with the Cal Poly Police Department for clarification. They can probably provide you a current law they would enforce related to fishing there.


Archery during rifle season?
Question: I hunt archery exclusively, though sometimes I am not able to fill my tag. If I don’t fill my tag during the archery season, can I still use my archery tag and hunt during the rifle season? (Jonathan E.)

Answer: It depends upon what type of tag you have. If you have an archery only (AO) tag or a premium archery tag, then it may only be used for archery take. If you have a general zone tag, it may be used with archery equipment during the early archery season, and then with all legal big game methods such as a rifle, crossbow or archery during the later general season.


Gaffing salmon?
Question: Is it legal to use a gaff to land salmon? On a fishing web site I follow, some guys are recommending using a gaff if the net is busy and two fish need to be landed at the same time. I can’t find the section in the saltwater regulation book to answer my question. Can you help? I’m just trying to stay legal. (Ralph C.)

Answer: In ocean waters, gaffs may only be used to land salmon that are of legal size. If a fish is short and a gaff is used, the angler is in violation (CCR Title 14, section 28.65(d)). In inland waters, only anglers fishing from a boat in the Sacramento River main stem below Deschutes Road Bridge can use a gaff (measuring three feet or less) to land legal-sized fish (CCR Title 14, section 2.06). It’s best to release any short salmon as close to the water as possible to give them the best chance for survival.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Hunting From a Houseboat?

Houseboat on Lake Shasta (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Houseboat on Lake Shasta (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: On Lake Shasta, I have heard of incidents where an archer shoots at deer on the shoreline adjacent to a beached houseboat. Is this a violation of Fish and Game Code, section 3004 which forbids the discharge of a deadly weapon within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling, residence or building? In addition, people on houseboats often throw out fruit and salad scraps for the deer to eat, so the deer have become conditioned to looking for an easy meal from houseboaters when they beach the boats. The deer wander down close to the houseboats where unscrupulous archers in houseboats or small aluminum boats prowl the shorelines near the houseboats looking for an easy kill. I can’t believe it’s legal to hunt deer from boats like this. What’s the law? Thanks for all you do. (John D., Shasta County)

Answer: Archery hunting from boats on Lake Shasta is a common practice and perfectly legal provided certain rules are followed. The lake is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and no hunting is allowed around boat ramps, marinas or campgrounds. Houseboats are considered dwellings (per FGC, section 3004), so hunting and discharging a firearm or bow within 150 yards is prohibited unless the hunters have specific permission from the boat’s occupants in advance. Hunting from boats is legal as long as when shooting the boat is not moving under the power or influence of a motor or sails (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 251(a)(1)). Feeding deer and all big game is illegal, and this includes tossing out fruits and salad scraps for the deer (CCR Title 14, section 251.3). I you see any of this activity going on, please call 1-888-DFG–CALTIP to report violations.


Dogs hunting fish?
Question: Some friends of mine recently sent me photos of their yellow lab “hunting” fish in a stream. They claim the dog can track and then bite the fish right out of the water. The dog then brings the fish (while still flopping) back up the beach to his master, where the fish then get cleaned and cooked. Apparently, this practice is legal back East where my friends live, so now I’m wondering about California. Can dogs be used/trained to “hunt” fish here? Since this is clearly a kind of “take,” is it legal? If so, what kind of license/tag would one need? (Thom C.)

Answer: If you review sections 2.00-2.45 in both the freshwater and ocean sport fishing regulation books, you will find the approved methods of take for harvesting fish, and using a dog is not a listed legal option (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 2.00– 2.45).


Sharing a hunt?
Question: My hunting partner has been very assiduous in accumulating points toward a cow elk hunt and estimates that he has two chances in three this year of getting a tag. He invited me along to help cut up the carcass and to share the meat. My question is can I can bring a rifle in case a finishing shot is needed? We would only tag one elk in any case, and naturally my hunting partner would get the first shot. He’s a pretty good shot so I expect the animal to go down quickly. I’m just wondering (Walter M., Lakewood).

Answer: Leave your rifle at home unless you have a tag. The only person authorized to take or assist in taking the elk is the person with the tag.


Residency requirements to buy a fishing license?
Question: I recently went to buy a California fishing license and noted I must declare that I have resided in California continuously for the past six months. My issue is I have residences in California, Idaho and Arizona. I utilize all of them during the year but don’t spend more than six months in any one of them. Do I have to buy a non-resident license in all three states? I’m a little confused so can you please clarify the law for my situation. (G. Dzida, Redlands)

Answer: California law is clear on the definition of a “resident.” A resident is defined as any person who has resided continuously in California for six months or more immediately before the date of application for a license, or persons on active military duty with the armed forces of the United States or an auxiliary branch or Job Corps enrollees.

If you are not a California resident by this definition, you cannot purchase a California resident license. However, if you have an Arizona fishing license with Colorado River Special Use Stamp affixed to it, you may take fish from a boat or other floating device on the Colorado River or adjacent waters that form the California-Arizona border.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Golden Sturgeon?

(CDFW photo)

Ryan Mayfield holding a white sturgeon (CDFW photo by Harry Morse)

Question: I caught a couple of sturgeon recently that were golden around the edges of the fins. I called them “golden sturgeon” but have never heard of sturgeon being this color. They were 40-45 inches in length. Could they just be young white sturgeon, or are they something else? (Dan)

Answer: According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Sturgeon Monitoring Program Manager Marty Gingras, California has only green and white sturgeon, and those species have never been hybridized. We’ve never seen or received reports of a white sturgeon that looked golden. A “golden sturgeon” is most likely a green sturgeon that appears a bit golden. Please remember that green sturgeon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 5.81(b)).

To differentiate between green and white sturgeon, here are a few quick and easy tips:

  • Dorsal scutes (bony plates) – Greens have 1-2 dorsal scutes trailing the dorsal fin, but on white sturgeon they are absent
  • Vent – Greens have the vent between the pelvic fins, but on white sturgeon it’s found toward the tail
  • Belly stripe – Present on greens but absent on white sturgeon.
  • Scutes along the side – Greens have 23-30 scutes while whites have 38-48

The first three characteristics above are most readily apparent and should help correctly identify the species. Sometimes the bluntness of the snout and location of barbels is mentioned, but these are variable and somewhat subjective.

You mentioned the fish you caught were 40-45 inches in length and you wondered if they were young. Unfortunately, not much is known about green sturgeon, but white sturgeon of that size are usually 10-15 years old, and quite likely have not yet  spawned for the first time.

For more information on sturgeon, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Resources/Sturgeon/.


Are lighted arrow nocks legal for bowhunting?
Question: I would like to use luminocks or nocturnal lighted nocks on my hunting arrows to help better recover arrows after the shot. I’ve heard current laws were being amended to allow the use of lighted nocks on arrows for bowhunting. I plan to hunt for bear and deer but want to be sure they are legal in California? (Carl)

Answer: Yes. As of July 1, 2013, the following regulation was amended to specifically allow lighted nocks. Please see the last sentence below.

CCR Title 14, section 354(c): For the taking of big game, hunting arrows and crossbow bolts with a broad head type blade which will not pass through a hole seven-eighths inch in diameter shall be used. Mechanical/retractable broad heads shall be measured in the open position. For the taking of migratory game birds, resident small game, furbearers and nongame mammals and birds any arrow or crossbow bolt may be used except as prohibited by subsection (d) below. Notwithstanding the general prohibition of the use of lights in Fish and Game Code section 2005, arrows or crossbow bolts with lighted nocks that do not emit a directional beam of light may be used.


Video while fishing
Question: I am an avid videographer and I like to take a lot of video while fishing. I recently purchased a camera mount that will allow me to take underwater fishing videos while trolling. My plan is to set this up on a separate pole with heavy line to drag behind the boat as we fish. The only thing on the end of the line will be the weight and camera. There will be no lures or hooks on the line. The video will not be used in an attempt to take fish. Instead, I will use it later when I edit videos of my trip to provide hook up and action scenes. Is any of this against fish and game regulations? Can having the camera mounted at the end of the line on a pole not being used for fishing be considered as another rod in the water? Just want to make sure I am not doing anything wrong in case we get checked by a warden. (Gerry M.)

Answer: As long as the rod is used only for video equipment and is not as an additional rod to take salmon, this is all legal.


Replacing lost deer tags
Question: After a long search I am certain I have lost my deer tags. How do I get replacements before my hunt next Saturday? (Jim C., Yuba City)

Answer: Replacing a lost or destroyed big game tag (deer, bear and pig tags) can be done only through a CDFW license sales office and requires signing an affidavit and paying a fee of $9.79.  The duplicate tag can be obtained in person or through the mail.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

GPS Collars on Dogs While Hunting?

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GPS collars may be used on dogs only when bird hunting but are prohibited when hunting mammals (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: My dog is often hard to follow when we’re hiking through heavy cover. Is it legal to use GPS tracking devices on dogs while hunting? (Mark M.)

Answer: GPS collars may be used on dogs only when bird hunting but are prohibited when hunting mammals. Electronic dog retrieval collars employing the use of global positioning system equipment (devices that utilize satellite transmissions) are prohibited on dogs used for the pursuit/take of mammals (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 265(d)(2)).


Lighted fishing lures
Question: I have begun to see fishing lures for sale on eBay that are LED-lighted. Are these legal in California? I fish the Sacramento and Feather rivers. (Donna B.)

Answer: Yes. There are no prohibitions against using LED-lighted lures in either fresh or salt water.


Can I carry a gun for protection during archery-only season?
Question: I am an avid bow hunter and spend most of the archery season stalking deer and bear in the deep canyons, and walking from ridgeline to ridgeline carrying nothing but my bow and my two knives.

However, I have not been able to continue my tradition of solo crosscountry hunting trips recently due to the high numbers of marijuana gardens being found and raided in my hunting zone. I am not sure of the ethnicity of the marijuana farmers, but I have family in south Texas and they have told me stories of the Mexican drug cartels kidnapping people and forcing them to go into the wilderness and farm these big marijuana gardens. These people have strict orders to shoot anyone that may cause a threat to the crop.

After hearing this, I stay a whole lot closer to main roads and out of canyons but am still fearful of being confronted by these guys with guns when I just have my bow and the bear deterrent I carry in bear country. My question is why can’t I, being an American citizen, have a firearm in my possession while bow hunting? Doesn’t the Second Amendment give me the right to bear arms? This was just a question that crossed my mind today as I was deer hunting and I hope you can answer it for me. (Vincent W.)

Answer: I appreciate your concern and understand you wanting to be safe while in the woods. But, under current California Fish and Game laws, if you choose to hunt during an archery-only (AO) season or during the general season under the authority of an AO harvest tag, it is not legal for you to be in possession of a firearm while in the field.

However, AO tags/seasons are only one option, you can instead choose to hunt during the general season under a general tag with a bow, and if so you may carry a firearm. Hunting under the AO authority grants special opportunity in exchange for leaving the firearm in camp.

With respect to archery-only hunts for deer, in order to allow the possession of firearms by anyone other than peace officers, Fish and Game Code, section 4370 would have to be amended. For other archery-only hunts, the Fish and Game Commission would need to amend the applicable regulations for those hunts. It is not up to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).


Ivory piano keys
Question: My mother has an old piano that has been in her family for about 70 years and she needs to sell it. She says it has ivory keys. We were wondering if it would violate any Fish and Game laws to sell it? If so, any suggestions? (Cathi D.)

Answer: African and Asian elephants are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principle federal agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the ESA and CITES, and federal regulations do allow for some elephant ivory to be owned, bought, and sold. You should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (800) 344-9453 or their website at www.fws.gov for further information regarding federal restrictions.

As far as state regulations, the California Penal Code section 653o (a) says, “It is unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of any … elephant.”


Ocean stamp needed for pier fishing?
Question: Do we need an ocean enforcement stamp to fish on a pier? (Sher K.)

Answer: No sport fishing license or Ocean Enhancement Validation is required when fishing from a public pier.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

Archery Practice Down a Dirt Road?

(Photo by Michigan DNR)

The most important factor to always keep in mind while archery shooting is public safety (Photo by Michigan DNR)

Question: My neighbor who lives a few houses down from me has a 15-year-old son who shoots his BB gun in his backyard. I used to shoot my bow in my backyard until my dad found out it’s illegal. I am 13 and live in the mountains of Southern California (close to San Bernardino) and am hoping it might be legal to practice my archery by shooting down a dirt road? Can you please let me know ASAP? Thanks. (Ashmanger)

Answer: Generally, Fish and Game Code laws only regulate the use of archery equipment or firearms while hunting. However, the same rules for firearms apply to archery equipment in this situation – you may not shoot over or across a road or within 150 yards of a neighbor’s home, barns or outbuildings, even if just archery target shooting (Fish and Game Code, section 3004). If you are on a private road on private property (off the public roadway), no Fish and Game Code law prohibits target practice with your bow and arrow. Beyond this, different counties and communities may have more restrictive ordinances that they enforce so you should check with your local law enforcement office for this information.

The most important factor to always keep in mind is public safety. Well-traveled roads and highways, or even those occasionally traveled, are not appropriate places to shoot. If you were to injure another person or livestock, or damage property, you could be subject to civil and possibly criminal prosecution. While shooting even just off a road may be legal, it may not be safe.


Hooks for salmon in San Francisco Bay?
Question: When fishing for salmon from the bank in the San Francisco Bay with spinning lures, is a single barbless hook ok or does it have to be a barbless circle hook attached to the spinning lure? (Terry D.)

Answer: Barbless circle hooks are only required when fishing with bait and angling by any means other than trolling. Since you’re not using bait, no circle hooks are required, even though you are not trolling. You must be doing both things – using bait, and fishing in a manner that is not trolling – to be required to use barbless circle hooks. In addition, you should be using no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks with your spinning lure (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.80.)


Fishing attractant or pollutant?
Question: I have heard that spraying WD-40 on a fishing lure as a fish attractant works well. Is it legal to use? There seems to be much confusion as to what is actually in WD-40. I would also like to know if the sunscreen I put on before entering the water is hazardous to marine life. (Ray I.)

Answer: It is not legal to spray WD-40 on your fishing lures as an attractant. The same goes for any substance that may be harmful to fish (e.g. sunscreen).WD-40 contains petroleum and is specifically prohibited by law to be deposited or introduced into the waters of the state (Fish and Game Code, section 5650). When it comes to sunscreen, I would just try to use discretion as any foreign substance, even sunscreen, may carry chemicals that may be harmful to fish and other aquatic life if introduced in large enough quantities. General rule of thumb is when applying sunscreen, wait 20 minutes before swimming for it to completely soak into skin so that it is less likely to wash off in the water.


How to determine private vs public property?
Question: How do I find if a body of water is legal to fish out of? I am wondering about a local lake with a public road that leads up to it. There are no private property signs posted anywhere. However, from a boat you can see signs are posted in some of the yards. (Anonymous)

Answer: Even though private property perimeters are required to be either fenced, under cultivation, or posted with no trespassing signs at 1/3 of a mile intervals (Penal Code Section 602.8) so the public knows or can determine correctly if the property is private, it’s best to stay on the safe side. If you can’t find signs specifically prohibiting access, trespassing and fishing, you may want to contact your local sheriff’s office, which should be able to define which waters and properties are public, which are private and where the boundaries are.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.

The most important factor to always keep in mind while archery shooting is public safety

Are Hatcheries Producing Triploid Trout?

Triploid rainbow trout produced at the San Joaquin Hatchery (photo by David Hunter)

A triploid rainbow trout produced at the San Joaquin Hatchery (photo by David Hunter)

Question: A friend told me  state Fish and Wildlife fish hatcheries are now producing and stocking triploid fish. Is this true? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes! These vivacious, catchable, sterilized rainbow trout are produced by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fish hatcheries. Triploid fish have an extra set of chromosomes (3N) as a result of pressure treatment, combined with carefully monitored temperature and time precision during egg fertilization. The resulting fish are sterile, making them a more ecologically sound option for recreational fishing in many waters across the state. The fish perform for anglers like a diploid (fertile) fish, many grow larger than the fertile diploids, and they are increasingly being produced in other states for recreational stocking throughout the country.

In fact, new legislation that went into effect January 1, 2013 requires the CDFW to sterilize nearly all fish planted for recreational purposes. This sterilization practice has been in place for decades and requires no manipulation of the cell genomes – no genes are modified or transferred in this process. The carefully applied pressure during fertilization simply encourages the retention of an extra set of chromosomes normally in the egg but later discarded. Polyploidy (more than two sets of chromosomes) is common in the animal kingdom.


Do new sturgeon regs change two rod privileges?
Question: The new sturgeon regulations mandate that only barbless hooks may be used when fishing for sturgeon. Does this mean it is now illegal to use two rods in waters where only barbless hooks are allowed? This doesn’t seem right. (Anonymous)

Answer: No. Establishment of the barbless regulation for sturgeon does not alter use of the second-rod validation (e.g. the 2-rod stamp). The second-rod validation pertains only to specific bodies of water.


Crab snares?
Question: I’ve read about crab fishing using a fishing pole and “crab snares” but don’t know what regulations apply. Can you please clarify? (Tim T.)

Answer: These are referred to as “loop traps” In the Ocean Sport Fishing regulation booklet (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.80). Basically, they are composed of a bait box and up to six monofilament loops used to ‘snare’ the crab, and they are fished at the end of a line. Crab traps, including crab loop traps, may be used north of Point Arguello to take all species of crabs. For the take of Dungeness crabs from commercial passenger fishing vessels, please refer to the Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet (CCR Title 14, section 29.85.)

Note: Loop traps may have only a maximum of six loops total. You may find many loop traps with more loops for sale, but to stay legal when fishing in California waters, you’ll need to cut off any extra loops.


Why the need for sturgeon fishing report cards and tags?
Question: Why am I required to buy a sturgeon fishing report card and tags in order to go sturgeon fishing? What will the collected money be used for? Will the money be directed to a dedicated fund account? (Anonymous)

Answer: The sturgeon fishing report cards with tags were created to help with enforcement of the sturgeon bag limit, a key conservation measure. In addition, data from the report cards is a valuable complement to on-going sturgeon research. The monies received from the sturgeon report card will be used to fund increased data analysis of the sturgeon populations (white and green) and enforcement of the regulations related to the sturgeon fishery. Card fees are not going to a dedicated fund because a dedicated fund can only be created by the Legislature.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.