Category Archives: Sharks

Compliance Requirements with Game Wardens?

Game warden Nicole Kozicki checks a waterfowl hunter’s hunting license

Question: What are the penalties for refusing to cooperate with and speak to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) game warden or to show I.D. upon request? (P.T.)

Answer: You are required to show your hunting or fishing license, tags and/or harvest report cards, proof of identification and any fish or game in your possession upon request. “All licenses, tags, and the birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians taken or otherwise dealt with under this code, and any device or apparatus designed to be, and capable of being used to take birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians shall be exhibited upon demand to any person authorized by the department to enforce this code or any law relating to the protection and conservation of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians” (Fish and Game Code, section 2012). Noncompliance with this regulation is punishable as a misdemeanor.


Are spiny dogfish considered sharks under the sharkfin ban?
Question: I know you can no longer buy shark fin soup at a restaurant. How about spiny dogfish fin soup? Are spiny dogfish included in this ban? (Anonymous)

Answer: Although the name may be confusing, dogfish are actually sharks in the elasmobranch subclass and are covered by Fish and Game Code, section 2021, which prohibits commercial trade of shark fins and products made thereof. A restaurant cannot lawfully sell shark fin soup made from the fins of a dogfish. As used in this section, “shark fin” means the raw, dried, or otherwise processed detached fin or the raw, dried, or otherwise processed detached tail, of an elasmobranch.


Bait balls for chumming?
Question: I have seen a product called Bait Balls advertised from a store where I routinely buy my fishing supplies. Would the use of this product in inland waters be considered chumming? (Nina)

Answer: “Chumming” is the practice of “placing any material in the water, other than on a hook while angling, for the purpose of attracting fish to a particular area in order that they may be taken” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.32). If this product will be broadcast independently and not used as bait on a hook, then using it would be considered chumming. Chumming is allowed while fishing in saltwater, but it is prohibited in most inland waters.

When fishing in inland waters (as per CCR Title 14, section 2.40), “Chumming is permitted only in:

(a) The Colorado River District, but only the approved bait fishes for this District may be used as chum (see Section 4.15) except in the Salton Sea where corn may also be used.
(b) Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay and their tributaries and saltwater tributaries.
(c) Sacramento River and tidewater of tributaries downstream from Interstate 80 bridge.
(d) San Joaquin River and tidewater of tributaries downstream from Interstate 5 bridge.”


Fully feathered dove wings required in a permanent camp?
Question: I have a dove possession question that my buddy and I argue about. After a day of hunting doves when we come back to camp, must we leave the wing on if we are spending a week at camp and are going to eat some of the doves that week? I know we must leave the wings on while transporting, but once we are in a permanent camp can the wings be removed? By leaving the wing on, after a couple days the birds develop a foul taste (no pun intended!). To me, they stink, even in the cooler. Last year a game warden came into camp and I forgot to ask him about it. My buddy said, “See, we were lucky!” But were we really? (Jim M.)

Answer: Your doves must retain a fully feathered wing either until you return to your home or until the bird(s) are being prepared for immediate consumption. “All birds, including migratory game birds, possessed or transported within California must have a fully feathered wing or head attached until placed into a personal abode or commercial preservation facility, or when being prepared for immediate consumption” (CCR Title 14, section 251.7). Camps are NOT considered to be your permanent or personal abode.

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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.

Are Abalone Report Cards Used to Set New Quotas?

North Coast free diver measuring a red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) to be sure it's of legal size before taking (CDFW photo by Patrick Foy)

North Coast freediver measuring a legal-sized red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) before detaching and taking it to the surface (CDFW photo by Patrick Foy)

Question: I was just filing my abalone harvest report, which rather than being due the end of January like before, is now not due until April 1. While I appreciate the extra time and opportunity to still fill out my report when I go to buy new tags for the season opener, I am wondering if this means my harvest data from last year is not being used to set quotas and limits for the following season. Specifically, is the impact of the Fort Ross closure and potential rebound or the north/south split of the last few years not being accounted for? (Darren M., Folsom)

Answer: I’m afraid you are mistaken about the deadline changing. Abalone report cards are still due Jan. 31. Beginning this year our online reporting system will accept late reports because they still contain valuable information even after the Jan. 31 deadline. In the future, late reporting may result in a mandatory late fee or temporary suspension of the privilege to harvest abalone.

According to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Marine Environmental Scientist Jerry Kashiwada, data from all cards returned to the Fort Bragg office are now being entered and it takes additional time beyond the deadline for that to be completed. These data are very valuable in helping us determine the effects of the current set of regulations but it will take several years to sort out the regulation effects from year to year variations. We had already been noting shifts in fishing effort to Mendocino County before the Fort Ross closure and catch reduction in Sonoma and Marin counties.

Our current management of abalone does not change from year to year in response to report card data. Instead, it is based on the density of abalone monitored by dive surveys at eight index sites. But the card data does provide valuable indications of abalone status at the many sites not covered by index site surveys. The card data helps us determine the effects of the latest regulations, while the surveys show the effects on abalone populations and will largely determine future regulatory changes.

We are currently working on a new abalone management plan and will have public meetings in the near future to discuss details of the plan. For more information, please go to http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/red-abalone-fmp.


Hunting chipmunks
Question: I was recently in a conversation about hunting chipmunks and we are curious if it’s legal to do? I do not plan on hunting them, just want to know. (Michael C.)

Answer: Chipmunks are classified as nongame mammals, which generally would mean they may not be taken. However, chipmunks may be taken because California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 472(a) authorizes take of nongame rodents except for tree and flying squirrels, rodents that are designated as furbearers, and endangered or threatened species.


Shark fin prohibition
Question: According to the shark fin regulations, skate wings cannot be possessed as they are the expanded pectoral fins of an elasmobranch. I don’t understand this because the skates are still legal to catch and the only part of a skate that is eatable as far as I know is the wing. How do I prepare the skate if it’s illegal to possess the wing? (Joel)

Answer: “Shark fins” are defined to mean the raw, dried or otherwise processed detached fin or tail of an elasmobranch (FGC, section 2021). Since skates are elasmobranchs, the law applies to detached skate wings. The shark fin law was adopted in part to conserve state resources, prevent animal cruelty by prohibiting shark fin removal of live fish and to protect wildlife and public health due to high levels of mercury in shark fins. Many people do eat the body and tail of the skate. The harvest of skates for personal consumption is permissible under current law as long as the entire animal is harvested and not just the wings. You should transport the whole skate to where you are going to prepare it for immediate consumption.


Hunting on rental property
Question: I am renting some land and would like to hunt on it. Do I need hunting permission written into the lease agreement? Do I need to carry written permission from the landowner on my person? Do I need verbal permission? Or does my renting the land give me permission to hunt? (Jennifer)

Answer: It is unlawful to enter certain lands for hunting purposes “without having first obtained written permission from the owner, the owner’s agent, or the person in lawful possession of that land” (FGC, section 2016). But as the renter of the land, you are the person in lawful possession of the land, so you are not required to carry written permission from the landowner. However, prior to hunting on the land, you should make sure there are no restrictions in your lease or rental agreement that prohibits you from hunting on the property.

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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.

Drifting for Ducks

(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.


Importing insects?
Question: I would like to start up a business importing exotic dead insects into California to preserve and sell as curiosities. I realize that if they were alive, that’d be easy (No Bueno!), but what about dead ones? I propose to import them dead but not preserved, and then preserve them myself. Would it make a difference if I imported them already preserved? Aside from this sounding like the intro to a bad ‘50s giant bug movie, is what I am proposing to do legal? (Brent G.)

Answer: State fish and wildlife laws don’t prohibit importation or sale of insects, but there are other laws that you may need to be aware of. You should contact the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some creatures, although dead, may still contain live eggs within. And if any of the species you propose to import are restricted species, border inspectors will not likely differentiate between whether they are dead or alive.


Compound bow fishing for sharks?
Question: Is it legal to bow hunt sharks? Someone told me a man in California took a 550 pound mako shark with a compound bow. (Robert S.)

Answer: Spears, harpoons and bow and arrow fishing tackle may be used for taking all varieties of skates, rays and sharks, except white sharks. Such gear may not be possessed or used within 100 yards of the mouth of any stream in any ocean waters north of Ventura County, nor aboard any vessel on any day or on any trip when broadbill swordfish or marlin have been taken. Bow and arrow fishing tackle may also be used to take finfish other than giant (black) sea bass, garibaldi, gulf grouper, broomtail grouper, trout, salmon, broadbill swordfish and white shark (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 28.95).

Regarding crossbows, under hunting regulations, a crossbow is not considered archery equipment. But under fishing regulations, crossbows may be used for bow and arrow fishing tackle. It does not matter what type of bow or crossbow is used under legal bow and arrow fishing, but a line is required to be attached to the bow and the arrow/bolt (CCR, Title 14, section 1.23).


Carrying rifles through a game refuge?
Question: How do I legally travel through a wildlife game refuge on the way to hunting on the other side of the refuge? With bolt action rifles, we take the bolt out so that it’s not a functioning gun anymore. What about with a lever action gun? How can we legally cross through the game refuge? (Erin)

Answer: The possession of firearms is not prohibited “when traveling through any game refuges when the firearms are taken apart or encased and unloaded. When the traveling is done on a route other than a public highway or other public thoroughfare or right of way, notice shall be given to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) at least 24 hours before that traveling. The notice shall give the name and address of the person intending to travel through the refuge, the name of the refuge, the approximate route, and the approximate time when that person intends to travel through the refuge” (Fish and Game Code, section 10506).

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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.

Fishing for Manta Rays in California

bat ray D. Troutte

California Bat Ray (Photo by Dean Troutte)

Question: Is it legal to fish for manta rays in California, specifically in the San Francisco Bay area? (Gina T.)

Answer: Manta rays are generally not found off California, and since they are filter feeders, it may be difficult to persuade one to take your bait. The northernmost limit of their range in the eastern Pacific Ocean is around San Diego, where they are only spotted occasionally. However, if a manta ray were to stray farther north, then yes, it may be legally taken by hook and line off California. I suspect you instead may be referring to bat rays which are more widely distributed and caught fairly regularly on hook and line. If so, they too are legal to take.


California lizardfish
Question: Please verify for me the catch limit on California lizardfish. My understanding is the limit is 10 fish/species with a total bag limit of 20 fish of all species. Right? I don’t see this species mentioned as one of the “no limit” species. Lizardfish are being caught 4-5 at a time on the piers on the Central Coast and someone is telling the anglers there is no limit, so keep all you catch. (Rose H., Santa Barbara)

Answer: You are correct. A bag limit of up to 10 lizardfish per angler is allowed. There are no size or season restrictions for these fish though.


Selling a polar bear rug
Question: I’ve inherited a white polar bear rug that has been in the family for 30-40 years. I have no papers or receipts for it. Can I still sell it? (Christian P., Tulare)

Answer: No. Fish and Game Code section 4758 prohibits the sale of any bear parts, even if the bear is not native to California, and violations are prosecuted as felonies.


Big game baiting
Question: I have a question regarding the “baiting” of big game. In the Mammal Hunting regulations booklet on page 12 it says:

257.5. Prohibition Against Taking Resident Game Birds and Mammals by the Aid of Bait.

Except as otherwise provided in these regulations or in the Fish and Game Code, resident game birds and mammals may not be taken within 400 yards of any baited area.
(a) Definition of Baited Area. As used in this regulation, “baited area” shall mean any area where shelled, shucked or unshucked corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed whatsoever capable of luring, attracting, or enticing such birds or mammals is directly or indirectly placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, and such area shall remain a baited area for ten days following complete removal of all such corn, wheat or other grains, salt, or other feed.

Does this also prohibit aerosol attractants? An aerosol is not considered feed but it is “capable of luring, attracting or enticing.” In the regulations it does not specifically prohibit non-feed attractants. (Ken M.)

Answer: This section (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 257.5) prohibits the use of any feed (real or artificial) that is capable of attracting an animal to an area, and when the attractant used causes the animal to feed (on the substance), it is prohibited. Generally, aerosols sprayed into the air are permissible because there is nothing to feed on. But the same products applied to a surface (e.g. tree, brush, rock, etc.) where the animal licks, eats, chews, nibbles, etc. the surface is considered feed and is a violation.

Intentional acts that disrupt any birds’ or mammals’ normal behavior patterns (CCR Title 14, section 251.1), and feeding big game mammals (CCR Title 14, section 251.3) are also prohibited.

For the complete regulations, please go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/ to find the California Mammal Hunting Regulations for 2013-2014.


Electric fishing reels
Question: Are electric fishing reels allowed in the state of California? (John M.)

Answer: Yes. Nothing in the Fish and Game Code prohibits the use of electric fishing reels manufactured for sport fishing. Acceptable fishing methods and gear restrictions can be found in section 2.00 of the Freshwater Regulations booklet and 28.70(a)(3) in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/ or wherever fishing licenses are sold.

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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.

How to Control Nuisance Crows?

Question: I live in Redondo Beach and was told by the city to ask you what could be done about an infestation of the nuisance birds that are an absolute plague in our neighborhood. I have small children that are woken up by these vile creatures starting at 3am to around 8am! Please get back to me and let me know what I can and cannot do. (Armando R.)

Answer: There is a provision in the Fish and Game regulations that allows for landowners to destroy (shoot) crows that are damaging farm fields or other crops. However, it seems this is not what you are dealing with, not to mention the fact that firearms cannot be discharged within city limits. If I interpret your question correctly, your principle complaint is the noise level.

There are actually a number of cities that have similar problems with crows and the cities have coordinated with either the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture or the U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to implement abatement measures. Here is a good article written by the Washington Department of Wildlife regarding nuisance crows http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/crows.html. As you will see as you read it, it’s a tough issue because most of the abatement measures work only for short periods of time. If you believe the crows are in such a concentration that they create a public health hazard (droppings), then your city or county health department should be notified.

Bottom line, if the roosting crow population continues to grow, the city may need to get involved by contacting the USDA, Wildlife Services Division.


Pacific angel shark limits?
Question: Yesterday I caught and released a Pacific angel shark. At first I did not know what it was. It looked like a guitar fish but was different. After looking through the regulations, I didn’t see anything about the Pacific angel shark. Is there a bag limit and/or size limit on them? Or are they a protected species? I also caught and released a broadnose sevengill shark. The regulations list a limit of one but no size limit. Does this mean any size can be taken? (Alan V.)

Answer: When a fish species is not mentioned specifically in the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, section 27.60 applies (found on pg. 32 of the current Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet). The general bag limit instructs fishermen to keep no more than 20 fish per day, of which no more than 10 fish may be of the same species.

Additionally, there are some species for which there is no bag limit (see section 27.60(b) for these species). If no size limit is given for a species, there is none.


Catching turtles at the lake?
Question: I’ve been seeing turtles at this lake we like to fish, and there’s a good chance I could catch one. What are the regulations regarding catching turtles? Can I bring it home as a pet or to eat? (Huu Tran)

Answer: Before attempting to catch one of these turtles, it will be important for you to positively identify what species of turtle it is. Be aware it is illegal to capture western pond turtles, a native California species, but it is legal to catch and collect non-native turtles (painted, slider and softshell turtles) under authority of a sportfishing license. While there are no bag or possession limits for these non-native turtles, there are restrictions on the methods of take that may be used to catch them (CCR Title 14 Sections 2.00 and 5.60). The only way to legally collect western pond turtles would be if you held a scientific collecting permit (CCR Title 14, section 40(a)). However, these permits are issued only to scientists doing bona fide research.


How to find existing hunting license number?
Question: How can my son find his existing hunting license number? He has his certificate but lost his license. Can you let us know what to do? (Carla B.)

Answer: Your son can contact any CDFW office that issues licenses or any outside vendor that sells hunting licenses, and ask them to look it up. He will just need to provide either a driver license number, or if too young to have one, provide the parent’s identification information that the previous license was purchased under.

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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 exotic ranch animals on private lands?

Non native animals kept behind confining fences are not classified as either game or nongame wildlife. Thus, no hunting regulations apply. (Photo by Carrie Wilson)

Question: What is the law in regard to hunting “exotic ranch animals” on private lands? I see an advertisement for hunts (pigs, goats, etc.) with no tags or licenses required. These hunts are offered 24/7 year-round. How can this be legal? (Monty S.)

Answer: Imported animals that are not native to California and that are put behind a confining fence are not classified as either game or nongame wildlife. They are considered domestic animals/livestock and are not covered by state Fish and Game laws, so hunting regulations do not apply and no hunting licenses or tags are required.

Feral (domestic animals that have reverted to the wild) goats and a number of other species that have become wild in California are covered under nongame laws (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 472). A hunting license is required to take any nongame animals listed in this section.

Most of the hunts you describe would fall into the first category. These are generally referred to as “canned” hunts where the animals are turned loose in an area or enclosure where they cannot escape or become feral. In this case, it is not considered hunting and so no license or tags are required. There have been some cases where prohibited species, such as tigers, have been brought unlawfully into California for canned hunts. If the exotic animal is not a prohibited species and not covered under section 472, then hunting licenses and tags are not required.


What to do with banded waterfowl?
Question: This past weekend a banded speckled-belly goose was taken at my duck club. I’d like to report this banded bird to the authorities. The time, date and place, as well as the tag number seem obvious to report. Is there any other information needed, and who should I report this band to? (Larry L.)

Answer: Since waterfowl are migratory, the U.S. Geological Survey has the responsibility of collecting and analyzing all banding information. Government and private sector scientists and waterfowl managers tag and monitor migratory waterfowl every year. This banding information helps them to assess population numbers and track their movement patterns. You may also be asked to provide information about weather and any other waterfowl the goose was flying with when taken. Please go to http://www.reportband.gov to report banded birds.


Target shooting and hunting on private property?
Question: I live on 20 acres out in the country and am thinking about purchasing a .22 rifle so that I can target practice or maybe even hunt on my land. Is it legal for me to do this? (Jerry M.)

Answer: Generally, if you live in an unincorporated area, you may discharge a firearm. However, we strongly recommend that you first check with your county sheriff’s office before doing so as there may be county ordinances that prohibit discharging firearms in your particular area.

To hunt on your property, you still must have a valid hunting license. If you don’t already have one, you will need to first take a hunter education course. In addition, even if hunting on your property, you must still remain at least 150 yards (450 feet) away from any of your neighbors’ houses, barns and outbuildings, etc unless they have given you permission to hunt closer.

A .22 caliber rimfire rifle is only legal for a few species, such as rabbits, squirrels and some nongame species. With few exceptions, all federal and California fish and game laws are in effect on all properties no matter whether they are public or private lands.


Shark spear fishing from a kayak?
Question: Is it legal to spear leopard sharks from a kayak with a pole spear (better known as a Hawaiian sling)? I know I can legally fish for them here in the Morro Bay area, and I’ve read that the rules and regulations for fishing also apply to spear fishing. But, can I actually spear them while sitting in my kayak? They cruise about six to 12 inches below the surface while about five to 20 yards off shore. I’ve seen many of these sharks measuring five feet long and know that I’ll probably need to enter the water with the shark after it has been speared in order to land it. Nevertheless, I believe I can do it. Please let me know if this is legal. (Dan W., Morro Bay)

Answer: Yes, with the exception of white sharks, it is legal to spear sharks from a kayak (California Code of Regulations Title 14, sections 28.90 and 28.95). Leopard sharks have a bag limit of three and a minimum length requirement of 36 inches.

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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.

Hunting From a Boat?

Question: Is it legal to drift down or anchor a boat in a river to waterfowl hunt? The river is surrounded by unincorporated, privately owned farmland on each side with the occasional home 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? Should I contact the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to inquire about the specific stretch of river I would like to hunt? (Michael K.)

Answer: It would be legal to drift down with the current or anchor a boat in a river to hunt waterfowl so long as you entered the area legally and were on navigable waters. According to DFG Game Warden Todd Tognazzini, hunting may not occur while boats are under power or under the influence of power (e.g. gliding from powered forward motion even after ignition is turned off). Only human or current powered forward motion is allowed while hunting (ref. F&G Code 3002).

The distance required from a residence or other occupied dwelling is 150 yards and if the adjacent private land is fenced, or cultivated, or posted with no trespassing signs at 1/3 mile intervals, you would not be able to legally enter those lands even to retrieve a downed duck or goose. For specific questions about a particular body of water it would be a great idea to contact the closest DFG regional office.


Did DFG Replant a Baitfish?
Question:When the Lake Davis poisoning project was completed, did DFG replant a baitfish population as well as restocking the trout? If so, what baitfish were replanted? Thanks. (Dale S.)

Answer: No, a baitfish population was not put into Lake Davis after the chemical treatment to eradicate northern pike. According to Lake Davis Project Manager Randy Kelly, Lake Davis has very good populations of insects, crayfish and other invertebrates that have supported excellent trout fishing in the past and should continue to do so into the future. Baitfish were not native in that drainage and bullhead, bass and pumpkinseed are still in the reservoir. The chemical treatment was done at a concentration that was adequate to eliminate all the pike and trout, which are more sensitive than the above warm water species, but was not at a high enough concentration to kill all the above mentioned fish that survived in the lake.

Use of live or dead baitfish is generally prohibited in the Sierra District, which includes Lake Davis, except as provided in Section 4.30 of the Fish and Game Regulations. Lake Davis should provide excellent trout fishing after ice out (when the surface covering of ice on the lake thaws) in the late winter or early spring of 2009. About one million trout ranging from fingerling size (three to five inches) up to 18 pounds were restocked in the reservoir and surrounding tributary streams after the treatment to eliminate pike. Fishing was very good in 2008 and should be excellent in 2009.


Is it Legal to Spear or Harpoon a Shark?
Question: We often see sharks swimming on the surface and sometimes they even freely swim up right next to our boat. I know it’s legal to spear and harpoon most sharks, so my question is would it then also be legal to catch them with a gaff if they are within easy reach with a gaff pole? (Steve S., Carlsbad)

Answer: No, free-gaffing is not a legal method of take for any species of sharks. While the regulations allow for the take of sharks (except white sharks) with spears, harpoons, and bow and arrow fishing gear (Section 28.95), a gaff may not be substituted for a spear or harpoon. In addition to those devices, the law (Section 28.65) allows for sharks to be taken by hook and line or by hand (although “by hand” doesn’t sound like the wisest method to me).
(A gaff is any hook with or without a handle used to assist in landing fish or to take fish in such a manner that the fish does not take the hook voluntarily in its mouth [Section 28.65(d)]).


It Is Illegal to Post Signs on Land You Do Not Own
Question: I’ve been finding some of my favorite hunting areas now have “No Hunting” signs hung on the fence lines. The problem is these signs are being posted by people who don’t even own the land! This has got to be illegal but I’m not sure what the regulations actually say here. Can you offer us some help? (Jack L.)

Answer: It is illegal for someone to post any sign prohibiting trespass or hunting on any land unless authorized by the owner or the person in lawful possession of the property. By the same token it is also unlawful for any person to maliciously tear down, mutilate or destroy any sign, signboard or other notice forbidding hunting or trespass on land (ref. FGC Section 2018.)

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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.