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Fishing Methods & Gear Restrictions

Fishing Regulations California Freshwater Fishing

Article 1. Fishing Methods and Gear Restrictions

2.00. Fishing Methods–General.

(a) Except as otherwise authorized, all fish may be taken only by angling with one closely attended rod and line or one hand line with not more than three hooks nor more than three artificial lures (each lure may have three hooks attached) attached thereto. Anglers in possession of a valid two-rod stamp and anglers under 16 years of age may use up to two rods in inland waters which regulations provide for the taking of fish by angling, except those waters in which only artificial lures or barbless hooks may be used. See District Trout, Salmon and Special regulations for exceptions.

(b) Snagging is prohibited. Snagging is defined as impaling or attempting to impale a fish in any part of its body other than inside the mouth by use of a hook, hooks, gaff, or other mechanical implement. This definition does not include activities otherwise authorized under these regulations for the lawful use of a gaff, bow and arrow, or spear.

(c) It is unlawful to kill, or retain in possession any fish which has not voluntarily taken the bait or artificial lure inside its mouth. Any fish not taken pursuant to these regulations, shall be released immediately back into the water.

2.05. Leader Length Restriction.

It shall be unlawful to use any configuration of fishing tackle in anadromous waters unless the distance between the terminal hook or terminal lure and any weight attached to the line or leader, whether fixed or sliding, is less than six feet. For purposes of this section, “weight” includes any product used to submerge the line or leader, including non-buoyant artificial flies or artificial lures, but does not include integrated or sinking fly fishing lines, lead core lines used while trolling from a boat, dropper weights used while trolling from a boat, or clipped weights used with downrigger systems.

2.06. Use of Gaffs.

No person shall possess or use a gaff in inland waters, except that a gaff three feet or less in length may be used to land legal-sized fish only by anglers fishing from a boat in the Sacramento River main stem below Deschutes Road Bridge.

2.08. Special Fishing Methods and Bag Limits –Barrett and Upper Otay Lakes, San Diego County.

The following fishing methods restrictions and bag limits apply to Barrett Lake and Upper Otay Lake:

(a) Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.

(b) The bag limit for all species is zero.

2.09. Possession of Illegal Gear.

Except as otherwise provided, no person shall use or possess, except in his or her home, any landing gear, any nets, except standard landing-type dip nets not exceeding 36 inches in diameter across the net opening and 60 inches in net length/depth, excluding handle, gaffs or spears within 100 yards of any canal, river, stream, lake or reservoir. Non-electronic underwater viewing devices may not be used for taking fish except under the provisions of Section 2.30.

2.10. Hook and Weight Restrictions.

(a) Definition of Gap: For the purposes of this section, “gap” means the distance measured from the point of a hook to the shank.

(b) Maximum Gaps and Gear Rigging for Rivers and Streams unless otherwise provided (does not apply to lakes and reservoirs, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (see Section 1.71 for definition of the Delta), and the Colorado River).

(1) No person shall use any single hook with a gap greater than 1 inch or any multiple hook with a gap greater than 3/4 inch.

(2) It is unlawful to use any hook which is directly or indirectly attached closer than 18 inches to any weight exceeding 1/2 ounce.

(3) It is unlawful to use any multiple hook or more than one single hook on non-buoyant artificial lures exceeding one ounce.

(4) It is unlawful to use any weight directly attached below a hook.

(c) Maximum Gaps for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (see Section 1.71 for definition of the Delta).

(1) No person shall use any single hook with a gap greater than 1 inch or any multiple hook with a gap greater than 3/4 inch.

2.12. Special Fishing Methods-Shasta County.

(a) In all waters of the Fall River Valley downstream from Thousand Springs Road, in the Pit River from the confluence with the Fall River downstream to Lake Britton, and in Hat Creek from Hat No. 2 Powerhouse downstream to Lake Britton, western suckers may be taken by hand or hand-thrown spears only by enrolled members of the Pit River Tribe.

(b) Open Season: January 1 through April 15.

(c) No fish other than western suckers may be speared, and all fish other than western suckers captured by hand must be immediately returned live to the water.

(d) No other fish may be possessed along with western suckers as part of a mixed bag.

2.15. Use of Lights.

Lights may be used when fishing at night when and where such fishing is permitted. Lights may be used on or as part of any fishing tackle (this supersedes Section 2005 of the Fish and Game Code).

2.20. Fishing Beneath Ice.

Fish may be taken beneath the ice during the open season for that water.

2.25. Bow and Arrow Fishing.

(a) Bow and arrow fishing is permitted only for the taking of carp, goldfish, western sucker, Sacramento blackfish, hardhead, Sacramento pikeminnow and lamprey, all year, except in:

(1) Designated salmon spawning areas (See Fish and Game Code Section 1505).

(2) The Colorado River District where only carp, tilapia, goldfish and mullet may be taken.

(3) See bullfrogs (section 5.05).

(4) The East Fork of the Walker River between Bridgeport Dam and the Nevada State line where only carp may be taken.

(b) Bow and arrow fishing is permitted for bullheads and catfish in the following waters:

(1) Within the boundaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (See Section 1.71)

(2) Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino County

(3) Lake Isabella in Kern County

2.30. Spearfishing.

Spearfishing is permitted only in:

(a) The Colorado River District for carp, tilapia, goldfish and mullet, all year.

(b) The Valley District and Black Butte Lake (Tehama County) for carp, tilapia, goldfish, striped bass, western sucker, Sacramento blackfish, hardhead, Sacramento pikeminnow and lamprey, from May 1 through September 15, except that no spearfishing is permitted in:

(1) Shasta County (see Section 2.12).

(2) Tehama County except Black Butte Lake.

(3) Butte Creek (Butte Co.).

(4) Feather River below Oroville Dam (Butte Co.).

(5) Designated salmon spawning areas (See Fish and Game Code Section 1505).

(c) The Kern River from the Kern-Tulare county line upstream to the Johnsondale Bridge for carp, goldfish, western sucker, hardhead and Sacramento pikeminnow, from May 1 through September 15.

(d) See bullfrogs (Section 5.05).

2.35. Taking Fish near Dams, Fishways, Screens and Egg-Taking Stations.

No fish may be taken within 250 feet of:

(a) Any fishway or any egg-taking station.

(b) Any dam or any weir or rack which has a fishway or an egg-taking station.

(c) The upstream side of any fish screen.

Fish may be taken upstream or downstream from any dam that does not have a fishway or egg-taking station (this supersedes Section 5502 of the Fish and Game Code).

2.40. Chumming.

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.

2.45. Computer Assisted Remote Fishing.

(a) It is unlawful to take or assist in the taking of any fish in or from this state, by computer-assisted remote fishing.

(b) It is unlawful to establish or operate a computer-assisted remote fishing site for the purpose of taking any fish from or within this state.

(c) For the purposes of this section, “computer-assisted remote fishing” means the use of a computer or any other remotely controlled device, equipment, software, or technology, to remotely control the aiming or discharge of any weapon, including, but not limited to, any firearm, bow and arrow, spear, harpoon or any other weapon capable of killing or injuring any fish, for the purposes of taking any fish.

(d) For the purposes of this section, “computer-assisted remote fishing site” means any computer, internet site or web-based device or system, or other electronically operated site or system used to assist in the remote taking fish