Free fishing in California

How To Fish Without a License in California

Any Californian resident that’s 16 years and above is required to have a fishing license is so as to take part in any type of fishing.

However, it is possible to fish for free in California without a fishing license.

You can catch finfish using a line and hook. At the same time, you can catch lobsters and crabs with a net from the piers and public jetties.

Mind the Rules & Regulations

That being said, all regulations should be followed, and you can only fish in these locations if you do not have a license. The areas must have unrestricted access for public use.

Although you don’t require a license to fist at public fishing area, all the other regulations apply.

They include seasons, fishing hours, gears restrictions, bag capacity, and small bags still apply when fishing at a public pier.

Related: How to oil a fishing reel

On the free fishing days, it is important for all anglers to have the necessary report card in case they are fishing for Sturgeon, Abalone, steelhead, salmon, and spiny lobster.

Some species, however, are plenty and do not require a bag limit. They are mostly found in public piers. Those ones are named under section 27.6(b) page 37 of the ocean fishing regulations booklet.

Quick Tip

In order to be effective, an easy and quick tip is to first lookup, visit your nearest tackle and bait shop where you intend to go fishing. You will get the information on what fish to catch and where. Also, inquire on the most appropriate tackle and bait for the fish and place you are going to fish.

Moreover, there are two free fishing days offered by the state of California every year when people can fish in island waters and oceans with no license. For example, in 2019, the free fishing days were July 6th and August 31st.

The CDFW and Revenue Branch Website normally announce the free fishing days.

The two days are offered for encouraging existing and new anglers to engage in this amazing culture. It is also a great way to help you test fishing before deciding to purchase a one year permit. Some CDFW areas provide a ‘fish in the city’ program.

The program allows you to fish at the center popular metropolitan locations on particular days. The free fishing days’ purpose is to educate new anglers on the most effective ways of catching fish, fish behaviors, and fishing tackle and fishing regulations. You are also taught how to clean and prepare fish so that you can enjoy your catch for dinner.

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Fishing Without a License in California – Way Forward

If you are not sure whether a particular fishing location requires a fishing license, the best way is to inquire from your local CDFW. You can also decide to get a fishing license so to avoid any citation or look for another location where you are sure that license is not needed.

Apart from all the locations and events we have mentioned, any other type of fishing without a license in freshwater or ocean in prohibited. Marine resources need to properly manage for sustainability and for enabling professional and recreational anglers to continue enjoying fishing and providing meals.

Erick Thompson

Hi, I'm a fishing & kayaking enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tidbits with newbies, intermediates, and experienced anglers alike.

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