Tag Archives: importation

Can Fin-clips Identify Different Trout Strains?

(CDFW file photo by Roger Bloom, Heritage and Wild Trout Program)

(CDFW file photo by Roger Bloom, Heritage and Wild Trout Program)

Question: With trout season opening soon, I was thinking about how several years ago I ran across a way to identify what strain a Lake Crowley trout was based on which fins were clipped. Identify as follows: adipose only-Eagle Lake strain, adipose and left ventral-Kamloops (from Junction Reservoir), adipose and right ventral-Coleman, and ventral only-Kamloops or Coleman. No fin clips would indicate a natural spawn and not from a hatchery. And, what hatchery would these plants have come from? Possibly Hot Creek or maybe Fish Springs? I have talked to the driver planting catchables in Silver Lake and learned those plants came from the Fish Springs hatchery. Thanks for any info you can provide. (Ron A.)

Answers: In the mid-1990s, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) fisheries biologists applied fin clips to Eastern Sierra trout stocked in Crowley Lake to evaluate their performance, growth, return to creel, etc. The results were very interesting.

According to CDFW Fisheries Program Manager Curtis Milliron who conducted those studies, wild trout were unmarked and at that time both rainbow trout (RT) and browns constituted about 25 percent of the catch of all larger fish caught at Crowley. They did not substantially supplement the average size class, however. The marked trout came from both Fish Springs (Coleman strain RT and Eagle Lake trout) and from Hot Creek Hatchery (Kamloops strain RT).

Coleman strain fish were found to be caught most often by anglers while trolling, while Kamloops were often associated with nearshore angling. Eagle Lake trout (ELT) were found all over the lake, including feeding on large snails right on the lake bottom. Additionally, ELT outlived the other strains, and therefore greatly contributed to the “carryover” population, which are fish that do not get caught in the first year after being stocked and return to anglers at a much larger size.

By about 1999, Milliron discontinued the Crowley Lake trout strain studies but thinks some marked fish may have persisted in the lake for another five years, at most. Today, no similar studies are being conducted, and fin clips to identify the various strains of Eastern Sierra trout are no longer being applied. But, thanks to the findings of the studies, a management plan for Lake Crowley was created, and the lake continues to draw anglers back year after year as one of the most popular and productive trout lakes in the Eastern Sierra.


How many turkeys in possession?
Question: My buddy and I are going out of town on a three-day turkey hunt. If we both get a turkey each day (total of six) and get stopped by a warden on the way home, will we be legal? I heard that you can’t have more than one bird with you at a time, but the regulation states possession limit is three birds per hunter for the season. I want to make sure we are legal. Otherwise I will have to travel back and forth after each successful day and it’s about a two-hour drive each way. Thanks for any information you can give me. (Brent M.)

Answer: You do not have to return home after taking a bird on any one day. The daily bag limit for turkeys during the spring season is one bearded turkey per day and you can take three per season. You may have three bearded turkeys in your possession as long as you only take one per day.


Spearfishing rockfish and lingcod after dark?
Question: Can rockfish and lingcod be taken by spearfishing after dark? (Brian S.)

Answer: Yes, you may spearfish for rockfish and lingcod at night, except in San Francisco Bay (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.56).


Buying skulls from other states
Question: I found someone in Oregon selling a raw coyote skull. I own some flesh-eating dermestid beetles and am interested in buying the skull from them to clean off. Is it legal to buy raw (uncleaned) skulls from other states if it was obtained legally and not from California? I know you can’t purchase almost any part of California fish and game, but can we bring parts in from other states? (Anonymous)

Answer: Yes, as long as the animal was legally taken in another state and is properly imported with a “Declaration for Entry into California form,” then it can be possessed. The same goes for most species, but there are some exceptions, such as bears, mountain lions, and fully protected birds and mammals whose parts cannot be legally possessed in California (Fish and Game Code, section 3039). For a copy of the declaration form, please go to www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/entry-declaration.aspx. Remember that deer and other cervid skulls may not be brought into the state unless special rules are followed to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (see CCR Title 14, section 712).

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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.

Ethics of Shooting Birds on the Water or on the Ground

Wood duck (USFWS photo)

Wood duck (USFWS photo)

Question: Is it lawful to shoot a bird that is on the water, or if I’m field hunting, to shoot a bird that is standing on the ground? I do not consider it sporting, but I was party to a group of hunters that took part in the above actions. Just curious what the official word is on this. (Nick V.)

Answer: It’s not illegal, but it’s certainly not sporting as it violates the Fair Chase Principle. “Fair chase” is the ethical, sportsman-like, lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an unfair advantage over such animals. In addition, it can also be unsafe to shoot birds on the ground or on the water because nearby hunters might be in your line of fire.


Is it legal to keep legal-sized fish caught in hoopnets?
Question: If I catch fish in a hoop net while lobster fishing, are they legal to keep provided they meet any size requirements? I have been throwing them back because I’m not sure it is legal to catch them that way. Someone told me they must be caught on fishing line only. What about sea snails and octopus that are caught in my hoops? Can other line-caught sportfish, such as tuna, be used as bait in lobster hoops? Please advise. (Steve G.)

Answer: You were correct to return fish caught in your hoop nets because hoop nets are not a legal method of take. Finfish may only be caught by hook-and-line except in very specific circumstances listed under “Finfish – Gear Restrictions” in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65).

Taking sea snails and octopus caught incidentally in your lobster hoop net is not allowed (CCR Title 14, section 29.10(a)). Any finfish that is legal to take or possess in California may be used as bait in your lobster hoop net.


If license is forgotten, will a photo copy of license do?
Question: My son and I fish from our private boat almost exclusively and keep our sport fishing licenses aboard so they are always present. On rare occasions we will attempt to fish without the boat, and a few times have forgotten to bring our licenses. To prevent us from mistakenly being without our fishing licenses, can we show a photo copy of our licenses or can the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issue more than one copy to a sport fisherman? (Murray C.)

Answer: Good questions, but the answers to both are no. You must have a valid fishing license in your possession when fishing or attempting to take fish, and you must present it to a game warden upon request. Additionally, only one license may be issued to a person per year.


Importing buffalo hides and products?
Question: Are there any restrictions on importing buffalo hides or buffalo art productions into California?

Answer: American buffalo (Bison bison) are considered a domestic breed of bovine (like cattle, goats and sheep) and thus no Fish and Wildlife laws regulate them. American buffalo hides are not restricted by CDFW and so they may be imported or possessed as long as they were obtained legally. However, the live importation of other species of true buffalo (e.g. African Cape Buffalo, etc.) or their hides is restricted by law (CCR Title 14, section 671).


Is it legal to catch carp and trout by hand?
Question: I recently read a post from people saying they had caught carp by hand in a lake. Is this legal in California? I have caught trout by hand in streams when I was younger, but wasn’t sure if that was legal either. Can you please clarify? (Nick)

Answer: There are no freshwater finfish species that can be legally taken by hand from any California lake waters within the state (only exception: a few fish species are allowed to be caught by hand during specific times in a few non-lake areas, as per CCR Title 14, sections 1.76 and 2.30.)


Electronics and hunting
Question: Is there any law against mounting a camera to the scope of a rifle to record my hunting experience? (Barry N.)

Answer: No, there is no law against this as long as there is no light emitted from the camera.

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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.

Computer-Assisted Fishing

To fish using remote-controlled boats, the fishing rod must remain attached to the hooks and line. must be  for fishing must

Computer-assisted fishing is not legal, but battery powered remote-controlled boats are as long as a fishing rod remains attached to the line to maintain control when a fish is hooked.

Question: In the regs it states, “It is unlawful to take or assist in the taking of any fish in or from this state, by computer-assisted remote fishing.” However, I have heard that you can use a remote-controlled boat to tow a line and or bait out as long as the bait and hook are connected to a rod and reel and not to the boat. Is there any truth to this? (Toby M.)

Answer: Most of these remote-controlled boats that people talk about are not powered by computers. They are battery powered. Only remote computer-assisted fishing is prohibited. Even though the remote-controls may employ some computer technology, this law does not prohibit their use as long as the person in control is present at the site. Thus, these types of boats are legal to use so long as the angler maintains control of the hook and line via a fishing rod. Remote-controlled boats are most often used to take hook and line out farther or into tight places that the angler cannot reach by regular casting.

Remember that a legal number of hooks must be used, and in inland waters you are limited to either three hooks or three artificial lures with a maximum of three hooks on each lure (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 2.00).


Squirrel hunting during archery season
Question: My dad and I often hunt together. During archery season and squirrel season, I deer hunt with a bow and he always comes along with me. We were wondering if it’s okay for him to hunt squirrels with a .22 rifle while I deer hunt. (William H.)

Answer: During an archery only deer season, you would be prohibited from carrying, or having under your control, any firearm (Fish and Game Code, section 4370). The exception would be if you are a peace officer. However, if your dad is not hunting deer, this provision would not apply to him.


Importing birds from Mexico
Question: I have family in Mexico who have given me a parrot and some love birds which I would like to bring to California. I have been searching the web and have been directed here. Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated. (Bob S.)

Answer: Some species of “love birds” such as Quaker or Monk parakeets are prohibited under restricted species law (found in CCR Title 14, section 671(c)(1)). If the species you are inquiring about are not restricted species, provisions to import them would be found by consulting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For a complete list of restricted species, please check the following: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/specialpermits/.


Special regulations for kayak fishing
Question: I recently purchased a kayak and I’m trying to find information on regulations. Do I have to have a net? How many rods can I use? I have searched the web site but haven’t found anything kayak-specific. (Christopher P.)

Answer: A kayak is generally considered a boat/vessel, so regulations that apply to boats also apply to kayaks when angling. Unless you are fishing for a few species such as rockfish, lingcod, cabezon, greenling or salmon north of Pt. Conception (Santa Barbara County), there are no boat-specific limits on rods for boats fishing in the ocean. A landing net with an opening of not less than 18 inches is required for boats (and kayaks). The reason is for assistance in landing undersize fish of species having minimum size limits (CCR Title 14, section 28.65(d)).


Where can I get a copy of the Fish and Game Code?
Question: I would like to know where the California Fish and Game Code is officially published so that I may appropriately cite regulations therein. (Elizabeth J.)

Answer: Both the California Fish and Game Code (FGC) and the California Code of Regulations Title 14 can be easily accessed from links on our enforcement page at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/. Otherwise, CD copies of the FGC may be purchased from LawTech Publishing, 1060 Calle Cordillera, Suite 105, San Clemente, CA 92673, (800) 498-0911 or www.lawtechpublishing.com. To view the Fish and Game Code online, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.

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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.