Tag Archives: fishing

Collecting Marine Invertebrates for a Home Aquarium?

Octopus with shrimp peering out from inside a reef at Anacapa Island (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Octopus with shrimp peering out from inside a reef at Anacapa Island (CDFW photo by Derek Stein)

Question: What are the explicit regulations concerning the collection of live marine organisms for use in a personal marine aquarium? I am interested in collecting octopus. From what I understand, live fish are not to be taken under any circumstances. But it seems that some other organisms are allowed as long as they do not come from a protected area. I am a marine biology student who wants to have a simple native “tide pool type” of aquarium for my own personal delight. I do have a California sport fishing license. (Cristiana A.)

Answer: Octopus may be collected for a home aquarium and transported live under the authority of a sport fishing license as long as they are exclusively for that person’s personal aquarium display. Maintaining live sport-taken octopus in a home aquarium is not considered public “display” and thus does not fall under the provisions of the marine aquaria pet trade (Fish and Game Code, sections 8596-8597). Transporting live “finfish” (as opposed to mollusks and crustaceans) is prohibited (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.62).

Invertebrates collected under the authority of a sport fishing license may not be used to establish breeding colonies for sale or trade with other people. Any trading, selling or possession for sale or trade of these animals constitutes commercial marine aquaria pet trade activity and requires all parties to hold “marine aquaria collectors permits” authorizing this practice. A marine collector’s permit is also required for any animals on display for the public.

People collecting live marine invertebrates for a home aquarium may do so only under the authority of a sport fishing license, and only those species allowed under a sport fishing license may be taken. In addition, any species with sport fishing restrictions (e.g. bag, size, possession, season limits, methods of take, etc.) are still covered under those regulations, and so collectors must also abide by these laws.


Number of rods to land last fish?
Question: When legally fishing with two rods and you are one fish shy of your limit, can you still fish with two rods or do you need to cut back to just one for the final fish to fill your limit? (Neil M.)

Answer: You can keep using both rods until you get your limit.


Are premium deer tags becoming unrestricted?
Question: I have a question about premium deer tags. When reading the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) definition of what determines if a tag is premium, it is very clear and I understand it. What I have not found is information that clarifies the procedure for a premium tag becoming unrestricted. If a tag is premium and the quota does not fill on or before the first business day after July 1, does it become an unrestricted tag the following year? That would make sense, however, when I look back at the drawing statistics in past years I have noticed it is not always what happens. As an example, A22 was a premium tag from 2003 through 2008 even though most of the 1000 tags were left over each of those years. In 2009 it went back to unrestricted. This year A22 and A31 were premium and did not fill in the drawing. Will they still be premium next year? (Steve B.)

Answer: Under the current regulations:

  • A Premium Deer Hunt is any hunt where the quota filled on or before the first business day after July 1, of the previous year.
  • A Restricted Deer Hunt is any hunt that filled on or before the first business day after August 1 of the previous year.
  • An Unrestricted Deer Hunt is any hunt that did not fill on or before the first business day after August 1, in the previous year.

The examples you provided occurred before the current regulations were adopted. The tag classification regulations that we have now where adopted in the 2009 big game drawing season.

This year, the deer tag quotas for A22 and A31 both filled on July 2, which is the first business day after July 1, so A22 and A31 will remain premium tags next year. The date in which a deer tag fills is the determining factor of which classification a tag is listed under, not whether the tag quota fills in the drawing or not. With this in mind, hunters need to pay close attention to which classification their tags are listed in each license year.

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.

Collecting Roadkill Raptors

American Kestrel (USFWS photo)

American Kestrel (USFWS photo)

Question: What are the rules concerning the use of birds of prey, such as owls, which have been killed by vehicles? I have found several in the local area which seemed to be dead along the side of the road but without evidence of damage to the body. My guess based on where they fell is they are “indirect roadkills.” If I wanted to save these animals for taxidermy or another use, would I need some kind of documentation? If so, what sort of permit would I need? It would be simple to document the finds I have made photographically at the site, but preserving them for inspection later by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) would be harder. Thanks for your help with this. (Ken Z., Visalia)

Answer: Under both state and federal law, it is not legal to collect or possess any species of bird that is protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This would include all raptors that have been killed by vehicles. There are permits available, under very specific circumstances that allow scientific or educational facilities to salvage these birds. Organizations that believe they may qualify for these permits would be required to obtain both a federal Salvage Permit and state Scientific Collecting Permit. More information on these permits can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/research_permit/ and www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-10a.pdf.

Another very valuable thing the average citizen can do when they see a potential road kill is to “document the find” in one of the databases such as www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/. If it is near a State Highway, the Department of Transportation keeps records specifically for planning and coordination purposes.


Fishing license and second rod stamp
Question: I have a California sport fishing license but did not pay for the second rod stamp. When I am out ocean fishing on my boat, am I only allowed one rod? I thought since it was the ocean I can have two rods out, even if I did not pay for a second rod stamp. (Anonymous)

Answer: The second rod stamp is only required when fishing in freshwater with two poles. In the ocean, any number of poles and lines generally can be used, with some exceptions. For example, fishing for lingcod, rockfish, greenlings or cabezon is limited to one line with no more than two hooks. Also, when fishing in San Francisco Bay or when fishing for salmon north of Pt. Conception, only one rod/line may be used per person.

Other exceptions exist, such as when pier fishing – only two methods may be used. There are only a few exceptions like these, but I’d recommend reviewing the Gear Restrictions section of the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet and any regulations for the species you’re pursuing to ensure you’re following the law.


Legal to collect moon jellyfish for personal use?
Question: I am interested in collecting some moon jellyfish just for my personal use but want to be sure it’s legal. They would not be sold or traded. If legal, can I collect them under a basic fishing license or would I be required to have a marine collector’s permit? (Tucker M.)

Answer: Moon jellyfish occurring outside the tide pool zone (1,000 ft. seaward from mean high tide) may be legally taken with a fishing license and the bag limit is 35 (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 29.05 & 29.05(a)).


Crab pot dimensions?
Question: My son wants to build his own crab pot. I think it’s a great project but I can’t find any official size regulations. He already has line, buoys and bait containers. I found a web page that described a circular pot as measuring 42 inches in diameter, 14 inches deep and weighing 90 pounds. Are those the required dimensions? Can they be bigger/smaller? Any help is appreciated. (Anonymous)

Answer: As long as the trap has “at least two rigid circular openings of not less than four and one-quarter inches inside diameter so constructed that the lowest portion of each opening is no lower than five inches from the top of the trap” (CCR, Title 14, section 29.80 (c)), your son is free to construct a pot using any dimensions!

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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.

Drifting for Waterfowl

(Photo courtesy of David A. Jones, Ducks Unlimited)

(Photo courtesy of David A. Jones, Ducks Unlimited)

Question: Is it legal to drift down or anchor a boat in a river to hunt for waterfowl? The river is in the “Balance of the State” zone and is surrounded by unincorporated privately owned farmland, with the occasional house or barn visible from the water. I know you cannot discharge a firearm within 150 yards of a dwelling or near a public road, and I know that all motors must be out of the water. Would drifting be considered forward motion? (Anonymous)

Answer: Drifting is not considered “under power.” What you describe would be legal as long as you access the river from a legal access point, and once you’re hunting, your motion is not due to momentum provided by the motor before it was turned off. You must also take into account the retrieval of the birds you take. Should you take a bird that lands on private property that you do not have the authority to access, you run the risk of a hunting trespass for retrieval, or waste of game if you do not retrieve it. Also, you need to remember not to discharge a firearm within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling, and these may be difficult to see from the river. Finally, there may be other state or local ordinances and regulations (such as no shooting zones) or other restrictions that may prevent you from hunting the section of water you want to hunt.


Returning female Dungeness crabs
Question: I was surprised to discover the current regulations do not say female Dungeness crabs must be thrown back. Has there been a change in the long standing regulation that required this? Is it now legal to keep the female Dungeness crab, providing all other stipulations are met (size, season, limit, zone)? (Kurt H.)

Answer: Yes! Sport fisherman may keep the female Dungeness crab – commercial fishermen must throw them back. Since the females are often much smaller and less meaty than the males and lack the large claws, many fishermen toss them back so they can reproduce more young for future generations. The larger females that meet the minimum size requirements also carry the most eggs and produce the most offspring, so it’s beneficial for the population to let the females go. However, there is no law that compels you to do so.


How to legally display mountain lions?
Question:I read where Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law a bill allowing the mounting and display of these animals in California. Does that mean that mountain lions taken in other states can be brought into California for mounting and display? (Peter B., Los Angeles)

Answer: No, it is still illegal to import mountain lions. Fish and Game Code section 4800, which was enacted via an initiative measure in 1990, provides that mountain lions are specially protected mammals that cannot be taken or possessed except under limited circumstances related to public safety or protection of property. SB 769, which amended the law in 2011, now allows for the possession of a mountain lion carcass, but only if all of the following requirements are met:

1) The lion was legally taken in California;

2) The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has specifically authorized the possession for the purposes of SB 769; and

3) The carcass is prepared for display, exhibition, or storage, for a bona fide scientific or educational purpose, at a non-profit museum or government-owned facility generally open to the public or at an educational institution, including a public or private postsecondary institution.

Only mountain lions taken for depredation or public safety reasons in accordance with the Fish and Game Code will fall within the SB 769 exception allowing possession of displayed mountain lions.


Yo-yo fishing
Question: I know jug fishing, yo-yo fishing and the use of trotlines with 20+ hooks per line are the norm in the South. I am interested in yo-yo fishing in California for catfish and possibly trying a two-jug trotline with 10 to 12 hooks on the line to catch catfish. My question is: In California, are private (non-commercial) fishermen limited to just one line with three hooks max? In reading the regs, it seems that an extra pole endorsement is just that, for an extra pole, not an extra line. (Mark H., San Bruno)

In regard to yo-yo fishing and trotline fishing, here is an article from 2007 Outdoor Life:http://www.outdoorlife.com/articles/fishing/2007/09/tackle-free-fishing

Answer: You must closely attend your lines at all times and you are limited to two lines with a maximum of three hooks on each line with a two-pole stamp. Otherwise, you must use a single line with three hooks maximum when fishing bait, or three lures per line which could each have three hooks. It is illegal to allow lines to simply fish themselves while attached to a float. For a similar previous question and answer, please go to: http://californiaoutdoors.wordpress.com/2008/11/.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.