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Bait Regulations

Fishing Regulations California Freshwater Fishing

Article 3. Bait Regulations for Inland Waters

4.00. Bait-General.

Legally acquired and possessed invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians (except salamanders), fish eggs and treated and processed foods may be used for bait, except:

(a) No species specified as endangered, threatened, candidate, fully-protected, or otherwise protected under state and federal law may be used as bait.

(b) No salamander may be used as bait. See section 5.05 for other amphibians that may be used as bait.

(c) See Section 5.35 for restrictions on crayfish;

(d) See Section 7.50(b)(74) for restriction on bait collecting in Hat Creek;

(e) No trout may be maintained or possessed in a live condition in any container on or attached to any boat;

(f) Except for restrictions listed under special regulations, dead ocean fish may be used as bait statewide. This section supersedes the provisions of sections 4.10, 4.15, 4.20, 4.25 and 4.30.

4.05. Bait Fish Capture Methods.

(a) Approved bait fish may be taken only by hand, with a dip net not exceeding 36 inches in greatest dimension, excluding handle, or with traps not over three feet in greatest dimension. Such bait fish may not be purchased, bartered, sold, transferred or traded; or transported alive from the location where taken. Any other species taken shall be returned to the water immediately. Traps need not be closely attended. Dip net use: A dip net must be hand held, and the motion of a dip net shall be caused only by the physical effort of the operator. A dip net may not be moved through the water by any mechanical force or motorized device.

(b) Within the area bounded by Highway 111 on the north and east and Highway 86 on the west and south, approved bait fish may be taken only with dip nets with diagonal mesh size one inch and greater, or by traps in water greater than four feet in depth. Traps may not exceed three feet in greatest dimension. Approved bait fish may not be taken by hand within this area.

4.10. Bait Fish Use in the Southern District.

Except as provided below, live or dead fin fish shall not be used or possessed for use as bait in the Southern District:

(a) Dead threadfin shad and live or dead longjaw mudsucker may be used in all Southern District waters.

(b) Live threadfin shad may be used only at the location where taken.

(c) Golden shiner and red shiner may be used in San Diego County.

4.15. Bait Fish Use in the Colorado River District.

Except as provided below, live or dead fin fish shall not be used or possessed for use as bait in the Colorado River District:

(a) Live or dead golden shiner, fathead minnow, red shiner, mosquitofish, longjaw mudsucker, threadfin shad, goldfish, sunfish, molly, and dead carp may be used in all Colorado River District waters.

(b) Live carp may be used only at the location where taken.

(c) Tilapia may be used in the Salton Sea, and may be taken for bait only within the area bounded by Highway 111 on the north and east and Highway 86 on the west and south (except as in subsection (d) below.

(d) Tilapia may be taken and used for bait in the Colorado River and its associated backwaters only within the area bounded by Palo Verde Diversion Dam south to the Morelos Dam.

4.20. Bait Fish Use in the Valley and South Central Districts.

Except as provided below, live or dead fin fish shall not be used or possessed for use as bait in the Valley or South Central District:

(a) Live or dead golden shiner, fathead minnow, mosquitofish, longjaw mudsucker, and staghorn sculpin, and dead threadfin shad, Mississippi silverside and lamprey may be used in all Valley and South Central District waters except those listed in subsection (f) below.

(b) Red shiner may be used only in the Valley District north of Interstate 580 and Highway 132.

(c) Yellowfin gobies may be used in the Valley District only in those areas described in subsections (d)(1)-(3) below.

(d) In addition, except for trout and salmon, fin fish lawfully taken in the following waters by angling or with bait fish methods approved in Section 4.05 may be used, only in the waters where taken:

(1) Carquinez Strait and Suisun Bay and their tributaries and saltwater tributaries.

(2) Sacramento River and tidewater of tributaries downstream from the Highway 32 bridge near Hamilton City, Feather River downstream from the Oroville Hatchery Fish Barrier Dam, and American River downstream from Nimbus Dam.

(3) San Joaquin River and tidewater of tributaries downstream from Interstate 5 bridge.

(e) Live threadfin shad, Mississippi silverside and lamprey may be used only at the location where taken.

(f) Fin fish may not be used in Keller Lake (Glenn Co.), Letts Lake (Colusa Co.), Merced Lake (San Francisco Co.), Upper and Lower Plaskett Meadow Ponds (Glenn Co.), Whale Rock Reservoir (San Luis Obispo Co.).

4.25. Bait Fish Use in the North Central District.

Except as provided below, live or dead fin fish shall not be used or possessed for use as bait in the North Central District:

(a) Golden shiner, fathead minnow, red shiner, mosquitofish, longjaw mudsucker and staghorn sculpin may be used in Napa and Sonoma counties, in Marin County except for Stafford Lake, in Lake County except for the Eel River and its tributaries, and in Lake Mendocino (Mendocino Co.).

(b) Live threadfin shad, Mississippi silverside and lamprey may be used only at the location where taken.

4.30. Bait Fish Use in the Sierra and North Coast Districts.

Except as provided below, live or dead fin fish shall not be used or possessed for use as bait in the Sierra and North Coast Districts.

(a) In Donner, Fallen Leaf and Tahoe lakes Lahontan redside, tui chub, Tahoe sucker, Lahontan speckled dace, mountain sucker and Paiute sculpin may be used only in the same lake where taken.

(b) In Shasta Lake only golden shiner, red shiner, fathead minnows, mosquitofish and threadfin shad may be used or possessed for use as bait.

(c) Crayfish shall not be used for bait in the Pit River and all tributaries between Pit 3 Dam (Lake Britton) and the Fall River-Cassel Road Bridge at Fall River Mills, California (includes Hat Creek and Fall River and their tributaries).