|Question: A group of friends and I are planning to take a trip on their yacht, basically sailing up and down the coast and visiting some of the small islands along the way. A couple of us like to fish but aren’t sure of what regulations will apply to us if we’re fishing outside of state waters. Do we have to have a fishing license if we are fishing more than three miles from shore? I’ve heard something about the coastal three nautical mile limit but want to be sure we have our ducks lined up before we launch. Thanks for your help. (Randi L.)??
Answer: Yes. California sport fishing licenses are required even when fishing outside of California waters if the vessel you're fishing from is registered in California, or if your trip either begins or ends in California waters.
The only time you will not need a California license is if your boat is not registered in California and your trip originates in another state or country, and you never come into California waters to fish or to conduct commerce (e.g. purchase fuel, food or other goods.) This includes the offshore islands that are considered a part of California (e.g. Farallon Islands, Channel Islands, etc.)
In addition, species that are illegal to possess in California are also generally prohibited from being imported into California. Fish and wildlife cannot be imported into California unless legally taken and possessed outside of the state (Fish and Game Code, section 2353).
Question: I will be going camping next week at a place called Hell Hole Reservoir near Lake Tahoe and I need to know if I may bring a jeep survival knife with me. The knife has a 15-inch blade with a sheath. I know you are not allowed to carry a knife more than three inches long in California, but I need to know if there is an exception for camping. (Mitch L.)
Answer: There is no Fish and Game law regarding your knife and I am not aware of any law regarding knives with blades that are longer than three inches.
According to DFG Capt. Phil Nelms, “Generally, prohibited weapons are listed in California Penal Code, section 16590, and special provisions regarding knives and similar weapons begin at section 20200. You may want to pay special attention to sections 21310 and 16470 regarding concealed dirks and daggers, but knives with fixed blades are generally not prohibited as long as they are carried openly (not concealed).”
To check all the laws regarding knives online, please go to www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html. In addition, you may want to contact your local police or sheriff’s department for more information regarding dangerous weapons.
Two rod stamps required on Free Fishing Day?
Question: Is a second rod stamp required to fish with two rods on the two free fishing days when no license is required? (Melana H., Sacramento)
Answer: Yes! Free Fishing Day allows fishing without a California sport fishing license, but other requirements for additional stamps and report cards still apply. Those items must be purchased and in anglers’ possession if they are required, even on Free Fishing Day. The next free fishing day will be on Sept. 8.
Question: Can game feeders be used on private property if pulled down prior to hunting or the beginning of hunting season? (D. Corvello)
Answer: No. Feeding wildlife with a game feeder in California is illegal for several reasons. First, game feeders usually broadcast grain on a timer system and are primarily designed for big game. The feeding of big game is specifically prohibited by regulation (CCR Title 14, section 251.3). Second, feeding wild animals in a manner that changes their behavior is considered harassment (CCR Title 14, section 251.1). Finally, there are strict rules regarding bait, the definition of a baited area and the restrictions that apply to the take of wildlife related to a feeder (CCR Title 14, section 257.5).
Question: I cannot find anything in the ocean regulations pertaining to net casting. Is it legal to use a net to catch bait fish between Morro Bay and Pismo Beach? (Dewey S.)
Answer: Throw nets may be used in that area, but only for herring, Pacific staghorn sculpin, shiner surfperch, surf smelt, topsmelt, anchovies, shrimp or squid. The regulation says throw nets may be used only north of Point Conception for those species (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.80).
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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 CWilson@dfg.ca.gov.