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What’s New for 2017

Fishing Regulations California Freshwater Fishing

Section 1.74, Sport Fishing Report Card Requirements, has been amended to remove outdated language pertaining to spiny lobsters. Reporting requirements remain the same for all freshwater species. Remember, if you hold a steelhead, salmon, or white sturgeon report card, you must report your results to the Department by January 31 of the following year, or you may be restricted from obtaining the same card in a subsequent license year. See www.wildlife.ca.gov/reportcards for details on how to report your harvest online!

Section 7.50, Special Fishing Regulations, has been amended to increase angling opportunity for landlocked salmon. Daily bag and possession limits have increased to 10 fish per day and 20 fish in possession for Trinity Lake, Lake Pardee, New Bullards Bar Reservoir, Bucks Lake, and Upper Scotts Flat Reservoir.

The bald eagle closures at Eastman Lake in Madera and Mariposa counties are no longer needed so they have been removed from Section 7.50. Eastman Lake is now open to fishing year round!

Two additional changes to Section 7.50 have been made to protect steelhead trout. The take of rainbow trout is now prohibited in Los Padres Reservoir. (See subsection (b)(105).) In addition, Las Garzas Creek and its tributaries have been removed from subsection (b)(97) of the Special Fishing Regulations to protect steelhead trout.

There are other changes to the freshwater sport fishing regulations, so please review all of the 2017-2018 regulations pertaining to the species you intend to take.

How to use this book

It is important to note the waters where you intend to fish can have further take, method, gear and closure provisions for various freshwater species. Therefore, it is each angler’s responsibility to verify the regulations for all species in their chosen location(s) and water(s), prior to sport fishing in California waters.

Statewide Regulations

First familiarize yourself with the statewide regulations for General Provisions and Definitions, Fishing Methods and Gear Restrictions, Fishing Hours, and Bait Regulations listed.

General District Regulations

Next familiarize yourself with the General District Regulations that apply to the Sport Fishing District in which you will be fishing. To determine the Sport Fishing District, use the District Definitions listed and the state map at the end of the book.

Trout, Steelhead or Salmon?

If fishing for trout, steelhead or salmon: Consult the Alphabetical List of Waters with Special Fishing Regulations.

  • If the water you intend to fish is on this list, follow the regulations as noted on these pages. If the water you are fishing is a tributary to any lake or reservoir, you must check under both the name of the stream/river and the connecting lake or reservoir.
  • If the water or the connecting lake or reservoir is NOT listed in the Alphabetical List of Waters with Special Fishing Regulations, then follow the General District Regulations listed in step 2.

Bass, Sunfish, Sturgeon, or any species other than Trout, Steelhead or Salmon

If fishing for bass, sunfish, catfish, sturgeon, or any species other than trout, steelhead or salmon: Consult the Species Regulations and locate the regulations for the species you want to pursue. Be sure to also check the water where you intend to fish as additional take, method, gear and closure provisions may apply.

If you have any further questions, please contact the local regional office serving the county where you will be fishing.

State sport fishing regulations may change during the year. Before engaging in any sport fishing, please access one of the following sources for up-to-date information:

  • Check the Department’s News Room at wildlife.ca.gov/news for any new announcements, or
  • Call the Department office nearest your fishing location

It is unlawful to do the following

  • Fish without a valid fishing license if you are 16 years of age or older (FGC 7145);
  • Fail to return a report card by the deadline printed on the report card. Reporting harvest online at www.wildlife.ca.gov satisfies the return requirement (CCR T-14, Section 1.74);
  • Take or possess fish taken illegally (FGC 2000 and 2002);
  • Transfer licenses, tags, validations, permits, applications or reservations to another person (FGC 1052);
  • Use or possess any license, tag, validation, permit, application or reservation not lawfully issued to the user (FGC 1052);
  • Alter, mutilate, deface, duplicate or counterfeit any license, tag, validation, permit, application or reservation (FGC 1052);
  • Fish without the required report card on a free-fishing day (CCR T-14 Section 1.74);
  • Sell fish taken with a sport fishing license (FGC 7121);
  • Cause the deterioration or waste of any fish taken in the waters of this state (CCR T-14 Section 1.87);
  • Use explosives in state waters inhabited by fish (FGC 5500);
  • Use or possess any net in state waters except as is authorized (FGC 8603);
  • Disturb legal traps set by another person (FGC 9002);
  • Litter into or within 150 feet of state waters (FGC 5652);
  • Possess fish where the size or species cannot be determined (FGC 5508 and 5509);
  • Fail to exhibit on demand all licenses, tags, validations, permits, applications or reservation to any peace officer or authorized CDFW employee (FGC 2012);
  • Fail to exhibit, on demand, all fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles and any device or apparatus capable of being used to take them, to any peace officer or authorized CDFW employee (FGC 2012); or
  • Prohibit a warden from inspection of any boat, market or receptacle where fish may be found (FGC 1006).