Tag Archives: licenses

CDFW Asks Trout Anglers to be Mindful During Drought

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking trout anglers to be mindful about fishing in the state’s waters and the effects their catch can have on the populations. As the summer progresses, the effects of the current drought on California’s wildlife continue to mount. Aquatic wildlife are especially vulnerable as streamflows decrease and instream water temperatures increase, exposing cold water species such as trout to exceptionally hostile habitat conditions.

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Because of the lower water levels and accompanying higher water temperatures in many California streams, many trout populations are experiencing added stress, which can affect their growth and survival. Many of California’s wild trout anglers have adopted catch-and-release fishing as their preferred fishing practice. Careful handling of a trout after being caught with artificial lures or flies allows for the possibility of trout being caught additional times.

However, catch-and-release fishing during afternoon and early evening in streams and lakes that have elevated water temperatures may increase stress, hinder survival and increase hooking mortality for released trout.

“Please be mindful of the conditions when you are fishing,” said California’s Wild Trout Program Leader, Roger Bloom. “Afternoon and evening water temperatures may be too warm to ensure the trout being released will survive the added stress of hooking, fighting and sustained exposure to the warmer water that builds up during hot days in summer and fall.”

Some of the state’s finest trout streams have special angling regulations that encourage or require catch-and-release fishing. In waters that may experience elevated daytime water temperatures (greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit) the best opportunity for anglers to fish would be during the early morning hours after the warm water has cooled overnight and before the heat of the day increases water temperatures.

These low water conditions and warmer water temperatures are happening across the state—from Central Valley rivers flowing below the large foothill reservoirs to mountain streams in Southern California and in both east and west slope Sierra Nevada streams.

“Enjoy California’s outstanding trout fishing and help us to keep wild trout thriving by using good judgment,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief, Stafford Lehr. “Fish earlier and stop earlier in the day during these hot summer days ahead.”

Protective measures for catch-and-release fishing during the drought include:

  • Avoiding fishing during periods when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (likely afternoon to late evening)
  • Playing hooked trout quickly and avoiding extensive handling of fish
  • Keeping fish fully submerged in water during the release
  • Utilizing a thermometer and checking water temperatures every 15 minutes when temperatures exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Stopping angling when captured fish show signs of labored recovery or mortality
  • Utilizing barbless hooks to help facilitate a quick release

Although other states have used temperature triggers to close recreational fisheries, California does not currently have a legal mechanism in place to accomplish that. Historically, CDFW has requested voluntary actions by anglers to avoid catch-and-release fishing in waters like Eagle Lake and the East Walker River during periods of elevated water temperatures. At present there are local angling groups in Truckee encouraging anglers to participate in a volunteer effort to avoid fishing in the afternoon and evening.

As we move through these extreme conditions, CDFW is asking anglers to help protect our state’s native and wild trout resources. Anglers interested in researching local conditions prior to a trip should contact local tackle shops, check online fishing reports or contact a local CDFW regional office. Anglers should also consider using a hand-held or boat-mounted thermometer to assess water temperatures while fishing.

Media Contact:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Heritage and Wild Trout Program, (916) 464-6355
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Yolo County Jury Convicts Sturgeon Poachers

A Yolo County jury convicted a repeat sturgeon poacher and his accomplice of multiple felonies and poaching charges stemming from a 2010 poaching investigation. They were convicted June 19, with sentencing scheduled for Aug. 1.

In Feb. 2010, Nikolay Krasnodemskiy, 41, of North Highlands, and his partner Petr Dyachishin, 54, of Citrus Heights, were observed catching and retaining oversized sturgeon and processing their eggs into caviar. An extensive investigation conducted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers from the Delta Bay Enhanced Enforcement Project and the Special Operations Unit proved the two were selling the sturgeon and their eggs on the black market for personal profit. Sale of sturgeon, their parts, or any fish caught with a recreational fishing license is illegal.

Krasnodemskiy and Dyachishin were each convicted of two felonies related to conspiracy, in addition to multiple counts of commercial sales of sturgeon, possession of oversized sturgeon, failure to tag sturgeon and possession of sturgeon over the annual limit.

California’s sturgeon population is on the edge of sustaining a recreational fishery. As a result, sturgeon anglers must adhere to strict size, limit and tagging requirements to help wildlife officers distinguish between honest anglers and poachers, and to help CDFW biologists maintain adequate scientific data on the fishery and protect the larger breeding adults.

“Taking these poachers out of business will help ensure a healthy sturgeon population into the future,” said CDFW Captain David Bess, who participated in the investigation.

Nikolay Krasnodemskiy was the subject of multiple sturgeon poaching investigations including Operation Delta Beluga II in 2005, which culminated in a conviction and revocation of his fishing license. Soon after his fishing license was reinstated in 2009, he became the subject of another sturgeon poaching investigation. By Feb. 2010, wildlife officers had observed him continue his sturgeon poaching activities, including commercial sales.

Wildlife officers will seek a permanent revocation of Krasnodemskiy’s fishing license and forfeiture of all fishing gear seized during the investigation.

CDFW appreciates legitimate sturgeon anglers for their patience with sturgeon tagging and recordkeeping requirements, which were integral to making the case as well as the long-term management of the sturgeon fishery. CDFW also thanks the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for their dedication and successful prosecution of the case.

Media Contact:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

Big Game Drawing Deadline Approaches

A buck (male deer) in California foothills
A California buck

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding hunters that the deadline to apply for the 2014 Big Game Drawing is just weeks away. Sales transactions must be completed before midnight on June 2, 2014. Applications for elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, premium deer tags and fundraising drawing tags may be submitted at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office, by telephone sales or online.

All hunt tags for premium deer, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep are awarded through CDFW’s Big Game Drawing. Successful applicants will receive a receipt to show their hunt choices have been entered in the drawing. CDFW expects the drawing results to be available online in mid-June. Hunters may also contact a CDFW license sales office to check the results.

The following resources are available to assist hunters:

  • Proposed seasons, tag drawing application instructions and drawing statistics can be found in the 2014 California Big Game Hunting Digest. The book is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.
  • To find a license agent near you or to purchase items online, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols.
  • To submit drawing applications by telephone, please contact the license sales line at (800) 565-1458.

Fund-raising Drawing Opportunities

CDFW’s random drawing fund-raising program includes tags for deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. This year the program will not include a bighorn sheep tag drawing. The drawings for deer, elk and antelope are open to any resident or nonresident 12 years of age or older as of July 1, 2014. The cost to enter the drawings is $5.97 per entry, per hunt. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, and may apply for the drawings as many times as they wish by June 2, 2014. Winners will be required to purchase an annual hunting license. However, the tag will be issued at no additional cost.

Open Zone Deer Tag

An Open Zone deer tag allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt.

Multiple Zone Elk Tag

The fund-raising random drawing elk tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the following zones: Northwestern, Northeastern, Marble Mountains, Siskiyou and La Panza. Hunters may use any legal method of take. All three subspecies of elk may be hunted, although only one elk may be harvested. The hunt dates open one week prior to the earliest season in that zone and run through the end of the regular season.

Northeastern California Pronghorn Antelope Tag

The fund-raising random drawing antelope tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the Northeastern antelope zones (Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley) with any legal method. The hunt dates are from Aug. 2 to Sept. 21, 2014.

Media Contacts:
Lai Saechao, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-7416
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW Coastal Wardens to Conduct Wildlife Checkpoint

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be conducting a wildlife checkpoint operation to promote safety, education and compliance with law and regulations.

CDFW law enforcement division will be conducting the inspection on Highway 1, south of Fort Bragg, May 18, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The wildlife checkpoint is being conducted to protect and conserve fish and wildlife, and to encourage safety and sportsmanship by promoting voluntary compliance with laws, rules and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.

Abalone enforcement has been one of the top priorities for CDFW for the past several years and have strict size and take limits to protect the resource.

Media Contacts:              
Tiffany Stinson, CDFW Law Enforcement, (707) 824-1260
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Officers Snag Diver off Catalina Island

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers cited a 46-year-old Ventura County man for using rubbing alcohol to force fish out of rocks and capturing them to sell. The diver was cited for two Fish and Game Code violations: use of chemical while collecting marine aquaria and unlawful take of marine aquaria at Catalina Island, which is prohibited by law.

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On the afternoon of Nov. 13, officers from the patrol boat Thresher observed a large recreational sailboat with commercial fishing license numbers painted on the stern anchored in Emerald Bay on the northeast coast of Catalina Island. Officers boarded the boat and found a man sport fishing. The angler told the officers that his partner was SCUBA diving.

Officers entered the 62-degree water and observed a diver squirting a liquid (later determined to be rubbing alcohol) from a bottle into cracks of rocks. The liquid was forcing small fish, Blue Banded Goby (Lythrypnus dalli), into the open water where the man then caught them with a small aquarium fish net and immediately put them in a small plastic receptacle attached to his SCUBA gear. The warden used a mask and snorkel from just below the water’s surface to watch the diver squirt the bottle twice. The warden then dove down, showed the diver his warden identification, and directed the diver to come to the surface. Before ascending, the diver left one of his squirt bottles on the rocks and attempted to drop a small, mesh bag containing another squirt bottle. A warden retrieved both squirt bottles and the mesh bag.

Once on the sailboat, the suspect told the officers he was a licensed marine aquaria collector and his buyers were paying him $10 per fish.  He stated that he did not know it is illegal to use rubbing alcohol to catch the small fish, or that it is illegal to partake in marine aquaria collection operations off Santa Catalina Island.

The diver had 63 goby fish in the plastic receptacle attached to his gear. During the interview, officers saw another plastic sealed container underneath the boat. The second container was holding an additional 109 goby fish.  The fish were counted, photographed and returned to the sea.

The man’s dive gear was seized and charges will be filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

The marine aquaria laws that protect Catalina Island prevent collectors from depleting local species around the island. Collecting marine aquaria from the ocean is legal with the proper permits.

Media Contact:
Lt. Eric Kord, CDFW Law Enforcement (858) 538-6017
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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Southern California Man Charged in Commercial Fishing Violations

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement officials filed dozens of misdemeanor charges in October against a Southern California man, accusing him of violating a series of commercial fishing regulations.

Adam Crawford James, 32, of Winnetka is accused of multiple violations of the Fish and Game Code, including commercial take of lobster without a permit, commercial take of sea urchin without a permit, illegal take of nearshore fish without a permit, failure to complete and submit records of fish taken under a commercial license, the illegal take of several varieties of fish during the closed commercial season and several other serious charges.

During their investigation CDFW wildlife officers received information from the CalTIP hotline that James was attempting to sell commercially caught fish to restaurants without a Receiver’s License. In California, commercial fishermen are permitted to sell their catch directly to restaurants, provided they have a Receiver’s License and complete required documentation of the marine life that is taken.  This management tool helps to protect the resource, and ensure sustainable fisheries for years to come.

The investigation revealed that James appeared to be in violation of far more, when evidence of fishing during closed seasons, and taking species that required special permits began to surface.

“Most commercial fishermen are ethical and diligently follow the laws and regulations,” said CDFW Assistant Chief Dan Sforza. “Thanks to the information received from the CalTIP hotline and good, solid police work we were able to file charges.”

The charges were filed with the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office in Oct.

If convicted of these violations in court James could face jail time, fines, loss of his commercial fishing license, community service and other penalties. No court dates have been set.

CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters) is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide Fish and Wildlife with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters.

CalTIP was introduced in California in 1981 in order to give Californians an opportunity to help protect the state’s fish and wildlife resources. The toll free telephone number, (888) 334-2258 operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do not have to give your name.

Media Contact:
Capt. Rebecca Hartman, CDFW Law Enforcement, (310) 678-4864
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Offshore Enforcement Active at Southern California Lobster Opener

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine officers contacted more than 400 anglers while patrolling Catalina, San Nicholas and the Santa Barbara islands during the recreational lobster season opener that started Sept. 28. During the opening weekend, CDFW wildlife officers issued 35 citations and 26 warnings.

Violations included undersize lobster, overlimit of lobster, lobster report card violations, fishing in a Marine Protected Area (MPA), violations of sheephead, lingcod and commercial sea cucumber regulations, no commercial fishing license and commercial lobster traps wired shut.

Due to the large amount of activity around the offshore islands in past years, CDFW officers deployed three department vessels, the Thresher, Coho and Swordfish, to enforce laws and regulations as well as public safety in the ocean miles off the California coast. Several significant cases were made during the opening weekend, including:

  • After receiving a CalTIP report officers inspected a commercial fishing site and found 14 of 16 lobster traps wired shut rather than open as regulations require. A formal complaint is pending with the District Attorney.
  • A wildlife officer rescued a diver in distress complaining of severe cramping in both legs. After the diver was towed back to his boat, he was found to be in possession of 10 lobsters, four of which were undersized. He was cited for an overlimit and released.
  • Officers observed a boat anchored on the border of the Blue Caverns MPA with one man aboard and a diver with a light swimming in the MPA. When an officer jumped into the water, the diver turned off his light and attempted to outswim the warden to the boat, where another officer was waiting for him to surface. The suspect said he was “only looking” and did not have any lobsters. A second warden entered the water and found the fleeing diver’s game bag with lobster in it. After a search of the boat and gear, the men were found to have 21 lobsters. They were cited for an overlimit, failure to show on demand and diving in a protected reserve.
  • A commercial lobster vessel was setting unbaited, open traps along the Palos Verdes coastline. One of the crew members was found to not have a commercial fishing license and was cited.
  • Officers boarded a 50-foot sport fishing vessel and found the captain operating an unlicensed charter boat operation and charging passengers $900 for the trip. The boat did not have a commercial registration or ocean enhancement stamps. A formal complaint is pending with the District Attorney.
  • At Santa Barbara Island, a diver attempted to distract officers with the classic “what’s that over there?” while trying to drop his dive bag. The warden put on his SCUBA equipment and retrieved the bag 60-feet below the surface. It was filled with nine lobsters, and the diver was cited for an overlimit.
  • While on patrol, the crew of the Swordfish heard a mayday distress call from a 45-foot sport boat less than a mile from their location. The boat was grounding on the rocks of Anacapa Island. They rushed to the scene and pulled the boat off the rocks. A man and his three teenage children were aboard and the boat had a dead battery.

California spiny lobsters are crustaceans that are common from Point Conception to Baja California. Lobster season is generally open from the first Saturday in October through about March 15 and is carefully monitored and regulated. California spiny lobsters are slow-growing animals that biologists estimate take as long as seven years to grow to legal size. Fishermen must have a valid California fishing license with an ocean stamp, a lobster report card and a lobster gauge to measure for proper size.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Capt. Rebecca Hartman, CDFW Law Enforcement, rebecca.hartman@wildlife.ca.gov

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CDFW Law Enforcement Active at Eastern Sierra Deer Opener

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers contacted more than 800 hunters while patrolling more than 14,000 square miles of Inyo and Mono counties during the deer season opener that started Sept. 20. During the opening weekend, 13 CDFW wildlife officers issued eight citations and 22 warnings.

Violations included hunting deer without a valid deer tag in possession, having loaded guns in a vehicle on a public roadway, overlimits of trout, speeding and driving without insurance.

Officers also conducted a wildlife checkpoint operation to promote safety, education and compliance with law and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.

On Monday, Sept. 23, the southbound lanes of Highway 395 were reduced to one lane and all vehicles traveling south on U.S. 395 were screened by the CDFW’s law enforcement officers. Screening consisted of an introduction and brief questions. Approximately 2,000 vehicles were contacted. Of those, 262 vehicles submitted to an inspection. A total of four violations were found, including three deer tagging violations, and one angler was found to have an overlimit of trout (32 trout). Several hunters were warned for not fully filling out their Deer Harvest Report Cards.

Average screening took less than 20 seconds per vehicle and the average inspection took about two minutes and 30 seconds per vehicle. If violations were found, the occupants were detained and issued citations.

CDFW also provided informative literature about the invasive quagga mussel and New Zealand mud snail to help reduce the spread of these invasive species.

Media Contacts:
Lt. Bill Daily, CDFW Law Enforcement, (760) 872-7360
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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CDFW Southern California Special Hunts Applications Now Available

Applications for the 2013 California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) special hunts in Southern California are now available online at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/DFGSpecialHunts/Default.aspx.

Apprentice pheasant hunts will be offered at Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve in San Diego County and at Peace Valley near Gorman in Los Angeles County.

The program consists of two types of hunts: Family hunts that can accommodate 18 hunters, and youth hunts that can accommodate 12 hunters for each of the sessions.

These special hunts are provided by CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunt Program, in cooperation with many volunteer organizations. They are meant to provide a high quality and educational experience that supports hunter education. They also provide an additional public hunting opportunity for upland game birds on both public and private lands.

For additional information pertaining to the Special Hunts Program within the South Coast Region, please contact CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunt Program for the South Coast Region at (805) 965-3059.

Hunt Locations:

Peace Valley, Los Angeles County: Located at Interstate 5 and state Highway 138, eight miles south of Gorman. This hunt is on state property managed by the California Department of Water Resources.

Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve, San Diego County: Located in eastern San Diego County between the towns of Jamul and Delzura, on Highway 94. This hunt is on property managed and owned by CDFW.

For any questions regarding the application process, please call CDFW’s Upland Game Bird Special Hunt Program at (916) 445-3418.

Media Contacts:
Nick Bechtel, CDFW South Coast Region, (805) 965-3059
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Officers Catch Poachers at Riverside County Lake

Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently cited four fishing poachers for illegally catching more than 200 fish in a private community lake in Riverside County.

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CDFW officers received an anonymous tip that four men were using gill nets to take fish from a remote area of Canyon Lake. Gill and throw nets are illegal to possess within 100 yards of any inland body of water in the state.

The wardens contacted the fishermen as they were leaving the water with the nets and seized one gill net, one throw net and 238 fish, including 29 carp, 126 sunfish and 83 bass, of which 74 were undersized.

“Anglers often complain about the low number of fish in area lakes and illegal activities like this are often a leading culprit,” said Warden Dustin Holyoak. “If it had not been for the actions of a citizen, this activity could have gone on indefinitely until the population of fish in that area was depleted.”

The four men were cited and released on June 23. Charges of fishing without a license, possession of illegal fishing gear, over limit of sunfish, over limit of bass and possession of short fish are pending with the Riverside County District Attorney.

All the seized fish were dead and could not be returned to the water.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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