Tag Archives: Diving

Beginning Bowfishing

        Bowfishing requires no special reels or gear – just a sport fishing license!         (Photo provided courtesy of Indianhead Ranch)

Question: I have been trying to get into the sport of bowfishing but two issues have my parents and I a little puzzled. My dad heard that if you are going to bowfish, you need some kind of special reel on the bow (don’t know whether it was an open face reel or a crank reel). We are also unsure what license I should use. Do we need a hunting or a fishing license to bowfish? (Nicholas M.)

Answer: You will need sport fishing licenses since you will be taking fish and not game. No special reels or gear are required for bowfishing but you must have the arrow shaft or the point, or both, attached by a line to the bow or to a fishing reel (includes crossbow) (California Code of Regulations, section 1.23).

Be sure to check with the governing law enforcement agency for the area where you intend to fish because not all areas of the state (including various federal, state and local parks) are open to bowfishing. Some areas prohibit using this type of fishing gear because they consider it possibly a “deadly weapon.” This has been the case primarily in incorporated city areas. If fishing in freshwater, please read section 2.25 in the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations for the list of permitted species and any special water restrictions (CCR Title 14, section 2.25).

Depredation hunting for squirrels?
Question: My uncle has a ranch up in northeastern California and his property has become overrun with ground squirrels. He’s worried about his calves stepping in the holes and breaking their legs. Do we need hunting licenses to help him get rid of these varmints? How can we legally help my uncle control his ground squirrel invasion problem and not get in trouble with a game warden? (Anonymous)

Answer: When taking nongame mammals (like these ground squirrels) for depredation purposes, the landowner must be able to prove damage by the nongame mammal prior to the take. Damage must be proven in order to fall under the parameters of “take” without a license. In addition, the no license requirement only applies to the landowner and their agent. The person “taking” under depredation must show proof in writing they are acting as an agent for the landowner for depredation purposes and they must carry this proof while doing so.

Shooting certain nongame mammals not causing damage may still be allowed by licensed hunters, but all hunters must have written permission of the landowner to hunt on private property.

As always, remember that safe gun handling practices must always be practiced when using a firearm and other laws may apply.

Range finding scopes on compound and crossbows?
Question: There are scopes with range-finding capabilities for compound and crossbows available on the market. Is it legal to have one of these scopes mounted on a bow or crossbow in areas where I am legally allowed to hunt in California? (Tim)

Answer: Scopes with laser rangefinders are not prohibited. Just be sure the device does not project any visible light or electronically intensify light for the purpose of either visibly enhancing an animal or providing a visible point of aim on an animal (CCR Title 14, section 353(i)). These devices may be used only for the take of nongame and furbearing mammals as provided in the Mammal Hunting Regulations (CCR Title 14, section 264.5).

How many rounds of ammo are allowed for an AR-type gun?
Question: When reading DFG regulations, I find a shotgun is limited to three rounds of ammo, but I cannot find anywhere how many rounds of ammo a rifle or AR is limited to. I’d like to know as I want no trouble when I go squirrel hunting with my AR-type gun. (Robert K.)

Answer:  There are no restrictions on the number of rounds a rifle can hold while hunting. According to DFG Lt. Todd Tognazzini, rifles sold in California for the past several years are restricted to a 10-round capacity. This is due to other firearms laws created under the assault weapon ban. However, rifles owned prior to the capacity ban can still be used for hunting as long as ammunition is legal for the area being hunted.

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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.

Why Shot Shell Limits in Refuges and Wildlife Areas?

Northern California Patrol Chief Mike Carion enjoying a beautiful day of hunting on a Sacramento Valley refuge (DFG photo)

Question: During the four duck limit era, the 25 shot shell limit in refuges and wildlife areas made sense. However, now that the limit is seven ducks, and in some cases the goose count can be six, why aren’t we allowed to carry more shells into the field? Inevitably, that limitation leads to one of us doing the “walk of shame” back to the truck to retrieve another 25 shells for a full day of hunting in a blind. That is not the most fun task given some of the walks at refuges like Little Dry Creek can be more than a mile in one direction. (Russ L.)

Answer: This is a rule that applies to many National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) and Wildlife Areas (WA) in the state. It was put into place to increase effective shooting by waterfowl hunters on public hunting areas, thus ensuring a more enjoyable hunting experience for all hunters on the area. By limiting the amount of ammo a hunter can carry into the field, the goal is to reduce possible unsportsmanlike behavior (e.g. excessive and/or less discriminating shooting) which will improve the hunting experience.

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Waterfowl Biologist Shaun Oldenburger, Los Banos WA established the first shotgun waterfowl shell restrictions in 1977 with a limit of 50 shells per day. In 1978, this regulation was expanded to Kern NWR (25 shells) and in 1979 expanded to nearly all San Joaquin Valley NWRs and WAs (25 shells). Grizzly Island was included in 1980. By 1985, shell restrictions expanded to all Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley NWRs and WAs, and in 1986 San Jacinto was included.

In 1979, when the 25 shotgun shell restrictions were first established in the San Joaquin Valley, the waterfowl season length was 93 days with a seven bird bag. By 1988, waterfowl populations had declined and so the season was reduced to 59 days and four duck bag limits. Still, the primary purpose of the 25 shotgun shell restrictions is to increase both the hunting experience and improve overall shot selection by waterfowl hunters. Daily bag limits will not dictate these restrictions, since removing them may increase the unsportsmanlike behaviors that caused their introduction to begin with.

Fortunately, waterfowl populations in California are currently healthy and so a more liberal bag limit is now in place. Hopefully, with this combination of healthy waterfowl populations and the 25 shotgun shell restrictions in place within the NWRs and WAs throughout the state, hunters are enjoying their hunting experiences now and will continue to do so well into the future!

Scuba to catch Dungeness crabs?
Question: Is it legal to use SCUBA equipment to catch Dungeness crabs? (David B.)

Answer: SCUBA divers may take Dungeness crab using only their hands. No hooked device may be possessed while taking Dungeness crab while diving (California Code of Regulations, section 29.80(g)).

Archery hunting within the city limits?
Question: I hunt using archery and am wondering if it is legal to hunt within city limits, with permission, on a golf course for excess turkey and deer. If so, could you please send me a permission to hunt form that I could use to ask private property owners to sign? (Rev. Mark H.)

Answer: As long as the season is open and you have permission from the property owner, Fish and Game law does not prohibit you from hunting within city limits or on golf courses. According to DFG retired captain Phil Nelms though, many local jurisdictions have enacted ordinances in the interest of public safety that may restrict your ability to hunt in these public areas. Please check with the City Police or County Sheriff to see what, if any, such ordinances may exist in your area. Keep in mind too that any type of firearm or other deadly weapon (archery) may not be discharged within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling (Fish and Game Code, section 3004).

Permission to hunt on private property must consist of a one-on-one agreement between the property owner and the hunter. A sample signatory form can be found on DFG’s website at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/pdffiles/FG994.pdf.

Where to find fishing regulations?
Question: I don’t live near any DFG offices and would like to know how I can obtain a copy of the Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. (Rob B.)

Answer: Regulations are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2011.asp and from DFG license offices and businesses that sell fishing licenses. To find a distributor in your area, go to www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/OutletSearch/FindOutlet and enter just your city and zip code. You will then be provided with a list of locations in your area that distribute regulation booklets.

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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.

Noise Suppressors for Target Shooting or Hunting?

Whether hunting or target shooting, noise suppressors are not legal to use or even possess (Photo: National Shooting Sports Foundation)

Question:Is it legal to use noise suppressors (mistakenly called silencers) on rifles and handguns? I know that porting, venting, flash collars and muzzle brakes are OK to use at target ranges and while legally hunting in California. Can a noise suppressor that is attached to the front end of the barrel, or that slides over the front end of the barrel, be lawfully used at a target range or while legally hunting anywhere in California? (Tony N., Sr.)

Answer: No, stay completely away from silencers. It is a felony for any person, firm or corporation within the state to possess a silencer (California Penal Code, section 12520). Upon conviction, punishment includes imprisonment in the state prison or a fine not to exceed $10,000, or both. A silencer is defined as “… any device or attachment of any kind designed, used or intended for use in silencing, diminishing or muffling the report of a firearm.” This definition and law also applies to any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a silencer (California Penal Code, section 12500).

Beer on a boat?
Question: Why do most, if not all, boats for hire ban taking beer or liquor aboard? I have worked as a deckhand and fully understand the safety concerns, as well as what large amounts of space coolers full of beer for up to 70 people on a half-day trip might take up. What I am wondering though is whether there are any U.S. Coast Guard or Department of Fish and Game (DFG) laws against it that I can quote for people who ask. Many of the anglers I’ve spoken with over the years get angry because they think the boat is just trying to make a buck. (Rob M.)

Answer: There is no Fish and Game law prohibiting alcohol aboard a boat. However, there is a Harbors and Navigation Code law (section 655) that prohibits a person from operating a vessel while intoxicated, similar to the prohibitions for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Lead in possession on a duck hunting refuge?
Question: Some say if you are duck hunting on a refuge and you have some lead quail loads in the truck (because you’re going quail hunting on the way home in the afternoon), a game warden could ticket you for having lead shot in possession. Other friends say that as long as the lead shot is secured in the truck and not in your actual possession while hunting, then you’re not in violation. It seems to me this situation would be like the 25 shell limit in the field. As far as I know you can have additional shells in your truck as long as you only have 25 or less in your possession while hunting. If you run out then you can return to the truck for more. Who’s right? (Eric M.)

Answer: You are. As long as the lead stays in your truck, you should have no problem.

What to do when an abalone’s shell breaks?
Question: Earlier this season I was diving a low tide looking for big abs. I happened to find a nine-incher. He was really clamped down and a lot stronger than the clickers I’m used to. In the process of popping him off, the shell broke into pieces. Since I did not know the legality of keeping an ab with a broken shell, I had to leave it there. It haunts me every day. Did I do the right thing? (Jesse L.)

Answer: First of all (as you probably now know), before trying to pop any abalone off their substrate, be sure to first insert the abalone iron correctly under the animal to be sure you have the appropriate leverage to pop the animal off without injuring it. If the animal is clamped down too tightly to where you can’t get the ab iron under the animal correctly without harming the animal, then you should leave it alone and come back later once the animal has relaxed and you can remove it properly. A better idea would be to pursue another abalone that is not locked down to the rocks.

Regarding your situation, you did the right thing as the law requires that abalone are in a whole condition and attached to the shell.  It is impossible to measure an abalone with a fractured shell and often the abalone is no longer attached to the shell once you fracture it.  Next time try to leave a clamped down abalone alone and choose another that may be more easily harvested.

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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.

All That Glitters Is Not Legal

(Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question: I have been studying up on different methods of spear fishing while free diving and have read about the use of “glitter” as an attractant for bait fish. I have an idea to sprinkle glitter in the water so that when the bait fish come to investigate, the large game fish will follow and be caught as they attack the bait fish!

What are your views and the legal ramifications of this method? I understand chumming is not legal for taking game animals in our state, but the use of artificial lures is. With my idea the game fish would not be chummed by this method but instead just attracted by the collection of bait fish. If this method actually works, would it be legal?  (Theodore G., Stockton)

Answer: You have an innovative idea there. Unfortunately, even if your plan to lure unsuspecting fish to you by sprinkling shiny, sparkling glitter in the water were to work, you could be cited for doing so. Placing glitter in the water is littering and is prohibited under Fish and Game Code, section 5652.

The activity you describe would be considered chumming. According to DFG Game Warden Michele Budish, chumming is defined as “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). Chumming in the ocean is allowed, but chumming in freshwater is permissible only in specific areas and for certain fish species (see CCR Title14, sections 2.30 and 2.40).

Rare abalone die-off in Sonoma County
Question: I was diving in Sonoma County last weekend (Aug 28) in Fisk Mill Cove. The water was dirty as if there was a plankton bloom and visibility was only four to five feet. On my very first dive to about 12 feet I looked into a cave in the rocks with my light and saw something I’ve never seen before in 50 years of diving for abalone. There was an abalone laying upside down and clinging to a piece of kelp rather than clinging to a rock like usual. My dive partner told me he picked up two similar abalone on one dive. They were also in a rock cave just laying upside down on the rocks. Later we met two other divers who had been diving at Timber Cove the day before and they too came across a couple of abalone laying upside down on their shells among the rocks.

Have you heard or seen this before? Are these abalone dying? Is the plankton bloom doing something to the abs? Are the abs suffocating from the plankton bloom? Are the abalone ok to eat? (T. Yamashita)

Answer: What you observed last weekend in Sonoma County is a rare die off event and your observations are similar to many reports we’ve received from other abalone divers in the area. All of the reports mention abalone observed lying upside down on the bottom and the water a dark brown color with visibility less than a foot. Reports have come from Fort Ross State Park, Russian Gulch, Timber Cove and Salt Point State Park where the abalone are dying.

According to DFG Senior Marine Biologist Ian Taniguchi, these abalone deaths coincided with local phytoplankton blooms (red tide), accumulations of drift kelp and calm ocean conditions. Similar invertebrate die-offs have occurred along the North Coast in the past, typically inside protected coves and under similar ocean conditions. The abalone deaths may be due in part to the large phytoplankton bloom, but the investigation is still ongoing. While we don’t know exactly what’s causing the die-offs, we do know they are not due to Withering Foot Syndrome – a fatal disease found in some Southern California abalone.  Withering Foot Syndrome is specific to abalone (in this case, sea stars appear to be dying as well) and causes the abalone’s body to shrink (also not the case in this instance).

Large phytoplankton blooms can make some filter-feeding shellfish like mussels and clams toxic to humans and cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. Abalone are not filter-feeders though – they eat kelp and other seaweeds. At this time, the abalone season is still open and all harvest regulations remain in effect

The California Department Public Health (CDPH) is collecting samples of shellfish for analysis from the affected area and advises recreational consumers to be cautious and not consume seafood that may have been affected by the bloom. CDPH will post their analysis results as soon as they are available at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/DDWEM.aspx.

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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.

Must Abalone Divers Carry Measuring Gauge and Fishing License Underwater?

Diver measures abalone with fixed-caliper measuring gauge (Photo by Ken Bailey)

Question: I believe the regulations say you must carry an abalone gauge and a fishing license when diving for abalone. Does that mean both need to be on my person when diving or is having those items in my float tube sufficient? (Mr. Chee)

Answer: It depends on the circumstances. The short answer is that they may be left in the dive tube only if the dive tube remains in your immediate possession.   The long explanation follows:

According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Lt. Dennis McKiver, all individuals including divers must have an Abalone Report Card in their immediate possession while fishing for or taking red abalone (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 29.16(a)). In addition, every person while taking abalone shall carry a fixed-caliper measuring gauge (CCR Title 14, section 29.15(f)). As long as the dive tube is in the immediate possession of diver, then the diver may leave their Abalone Report Card and abalone gauge in their dive tube. It is required that “undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached,” therefore it is always best if you carry your measuring gauge with you.

Let’s say you surface with an abalone and then have to swim a distance to retrieve your dive tube and abalone gauge, only to measure and discover the abalone is undersize. Now that you have had to swim away from the location where the abalone was taken, you may not be inclined or able to return and find “the same surface of the rock from which detached.” If you are being watched by the warden and fail to replace the abalone “immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached,” then you might be cited for violating CCR Title 14, section 29.15(d), failure to immediately reattach abalone to the same surface of the rock from which detached, and also section 29.15(f), failure to carry a measuring device while taking abalone as required. The measuring device should remain in your immediate possession, so your best bet is to anchor your float tube close by so it doesn’t drift away while you are diving and your gauge and license are always close at hand.

Carrying more than one firearm while hunting?
Question: While hunting, is it legal to carry more than one firearm, not including handguns? I cannot locate any regulations that prohibit carrying a rifle and a shotgun together. (Jason H.)

Answer: Generally, carrying multiple firearms while hunting is not prohibited by Fish and Game laws. However, there may be restrictions if you are hunting in a specific wildlife area or refuge or during a restricted season, such as an archery-only season.

According to retired DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, exceptions to this general rule occur in certain areas and during seasons when all firearms are prohibited. Such exceptions include certain wildlife areas, refuges, areas with county firearms closures and archery only seasons/zones.

For the authorized methods of take for various categories of game and nongame birds/mammals, please check the hunting regulations (sections 311, 353, 465, 475 and 507 (for waterfowl)). The regulations are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/.

Selling vintage Native American jewelry containing bear claws?
Question: I realize buying and selling bear claws is prohibited in California, but is there an exception in the law for vintage Native American jewelry? These pieces often include bear claws in their designs, which are an important part of their culture. They also, of course, in no way cause any damage to the current bear population. (Neil Z., Burbank)

Answer: Unfortunately, the purchase or sale of the pieces or parts of any bear is prohibited and the law does not provide any exception for Native American art pieces (Fish and Game Code, section 4758).

Disabled American Veteran Reduced Fee Licenses
Question: I am a disabled American veteran. Can I purchase the reduced fee fishing license online? How about the reduced fee hunting license online? (Randolph Toy)

Answer: No, you will need to purchase these licenses initially from a DFG office because you will need to fill out the reduced fee forms. Once you are in the system, you will be able to purchase these licenses online in the future.

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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.

Turning a Waterski Kneeboard into an Abalone Diving Rig?

Red abalone with tealia (Photo by DFG Marine Biologist Derek Stein)

Question:What is the definition of a boat or vessel? I ask because I am altering an old waterski kneeboard into a specialized abalone diving rig with a small anchor so I can accurately place my board closer to abalone. It’s a smaller version of a surfboard. It has no sails, rudders, oars or motor but does have an anchor. The anchor will be a marker for me to follow down on my next breath. I am wondering though if by adding this anchor I am making it into what will be construed to be a vessel? (Devin G.)

Answer: There is no prohibition against using a kneeboard instead of a float tube, which is much more common for abalone. A diver may use an anchor on a float tube or kneeboard if they choose to, but most just tie a line to a piece of kelp to keep the tube in place. What you describe is a legal device to access an abalone diving spot as long as you are not using SCUBA equipment. A kneeboard would not be considered a boat or vessel so you will not need to tag your abalone and fill out your card until you return to shore.

Retaining just one claw when crabbing?
Question: Our fishing club is planning a fishing trip for local crab out of the Santa Monica Bay area. Some people in the group insist we should only keep one claw from each crab so they can be put back to grow another claw and still live. I know with lobsters we are instructed to leave them whole until they are ready for consumption to allow the game warden to verify it’s a legal catch. Is it legal to keep only one claw, or do we need the entire crab to allow the game warden to verify? (Jerry E.)

Answer: You are required to take the whole legal-sized crab to prove your crab is of legal size. Possessing just claws would be a violation because the size of the crabs they came from cannot be determined (Fish and Game Code, section 5508). Crabs also carry a lot of meat in the body. Crab season for all crabs of the genus Cancer (except Dungeness crabs) is open all year. The size limit in Southern California is four inches and the part of the crab that we measure is the main body shell (edge of shell to edge of shell at the widest part).

While crabs may be able to regenerate lost claws under good conditions, crabs with only one claw have a far tougher time fending off predators than if they had both claws for protection. Predators will go after any weakened animal, so just removing a claw may be considered a waste of fish – also a state violation.

A two-day nonresident hunting license to shoot pigs?
Question: My friend is coming to California soon and I’d like to take him out pig hunting. Since we’ll only have a couple of days available to hunt, can he just purchase a two-day nonresident license to cover him on the days we hunt? It seems like a waste to buy a full license for only a few days of hunting. (Jared H., Coalinga)

Answer : Unfortunately, no. The two-day hunting license is only valid for taking resident small game and nongame birds/mammals and is not valid for big game species in California.. Your friend would be required to buy an annual nonresident license and a current nonresident wild pig tag.

Coastal Access?
Question: I have a coastal/waterway access question. If a stream with a state highway marker goes under the Pacific Coast Highway and into a beached cove, can I walk down the center of the stream to the ocean and go for a swim? The land surrounding the stream is private, and the landowners would like to assert that no access to the cove is allowed, even from a boat. (Mike Pinkerton)

Answer: In California land is deeded under flowing stream channels, so you would be trespassing. If the land is posted with no trespassing signs at 1/3 mile intervals, fenced or under cultivation you could be cited for this violation (Penal Code, section 602.8). The water you described is state water and as long as you were floating on the water, such as in a boat, there would be no violation.

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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.

Can I Use a Camera on my Bow to Film my Hunts?

Archery pro, Keli Van Cleave (Photo by Bill Konway)

Question: I have heard it is illegal in California to use a camera (such as the Roscoby Riser camera) that mounts onto your bow to film your hunts. Is this true? If so, why? (Shane S.)

Answer: Mounting a camera (with no spotlight) onto your bow is legal. It would only be a problem if it was an electronic device with lights to assist in the taking of game (California Fish and Game Code, section 2005).

Abalone and SCUBA diving on the same trip?
Question: We want to go abalone diving and SCUBA diving on the same day. I know we have to free dive for abalone, but we also want to SCUBA dive on the same trip. We live away from the coast but can only do a one-day trip, so which one should we do first? How can we do this without getting in trouble with a game warden who might think that we used the SCUBA for the abalone? (Matthew P.)

Answer: If you’re planning to be out on a boat, just make sure that you don’t have any SCUBA gear present on the boat while diving off of it. If you’re entering and exiting from the shore, be sure to leave your SCUBA gear in your car or in your camp. You could probably do your dives in either order but just be sure that it’s obvious your dives were done separately and that SCUBA assistance was not part of your abalone dive. The law prohibits having SCUBA gear on a boat or floating device when diving for abalone or when abalone are onboard. The law does not prohibit driving home from your dive site with both abalone and SCUBA gear in the same car.

Why can’t fishing licenses extend for 12 months from purchase?
Question: Has the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) ever considered a 12 month fishing license – good for 12 months from the date purchased? If not, is there a reason? Also, has the number of resident fishing licenses grown, stayed the same or declined in the past five years here in California? (Paul R.,San Diego)

Answer:  Sport fishing license sales fluctuate, but generally, have been declining gradually for many years. The DFG maintains a website of license sales statistics at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/statistics/statistics.html.

According to DFG Sport Fishing Program Analyst Glenn Underwood, we occasionally receive suggestions to change the sport fishing license structure to make licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase. Generally, they come from anglers who do not fish until the summer or fall each year and do not wish to purchase a sport fishing license for the remainder of the year. Making fishing licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase would not reduce the number of licenses an angler has to purchase. If an angler doesn’t fish until July each year, the angler would have to purchase a new license each July, it would expire in June of the following year and the angler would still have to purchase a new license each year in July. There is no real advantage to the angler.

Several factors would have to be dealt with before sales of fishing licenses valid for one year from the purchase date could be implemented. For example, license years and expiration dates for fishing licenses and stamps are set in the Fish and Game Code and would have to be changed.

Several of DFG’s licenses are issued in the form of report cards. Report cards grant the licensee the privilege to pursue a particular species, and help DFG gather valuable data regarding the time spent pursuing the species and the number and location of the species harvested. If DFG switched to a license that’s valid for one year from the date of purchase, report card data would not be from the same time period. Therefore, it would not be very useful.

All of the states bordering California issue licenses that are valid for the calendar year, except Nevada which employs a license year of March 1 through Feb. 28. None offer licenses that are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

DFG offers several short-term fishing licenses for anglers not wishing to purchase an annual Sport Fishing License. Anglers who choose to fish only occasionally may want to purchase a Two-Day Sport Fishing License for $21.86 or a One-Day Sport Fishing License for $14.04.

DFG also provides two Free Fishing Days each year when anglers do not need licenses or stamps to fish, but appropriate report cards are required (e.g. sturgeon, steelhead, abalone, etc) and all other regulations such as size and bag limits must be followed. For 2011, Free Fishing Days will be held on July 2 and Sept. 3. In addition, a fishing license is not required while fishing from a public pier in ocean or bay waters.

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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.