CDFW Recognizes National Hunting and Fishing Day, Celebrates Contributions of California’s Hunters and Anglers

Media Contact: Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

National Hunting and Fishing Day will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 26. In conjunction with this annual observance, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds Californians of the plentiful opportunities to enjoy hunting and fishing in the state and commends them for their commitment to conservation.

“California’s anglers and hunters play a crucial role in the conservation of California’s natural resources,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “On behalf of CDFW, I thank them for their invaluable contribution.”

President Richard Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972. It is annually held on the fourth Saturday in September to promote outdoor sports and conservation.

California is the third-largest state in the nation and approximately half of its land is publicly owned. That translates into millions of acres of huntable public property on which CDFW offers varied hunting opportunities.

In 2014, 284,761 licensed hunters contributed approximately $25,181,595 toward wildlife management and conservation activities in the state. Wildlife management and conservation activities have resulted in numerous success stories over the years in California. For example:

Tule Elk
1874: Thirty were remaining in California in one herd in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
2015: 4,200 animals distributed in 22 herds across California.

Wild Turkeys
1959: There were virtually no wild turkeys other than game farm birds, which were essentially raised to be shot and killed.
2015: There are an estimated 250,000 wild turkeys in the state.

Desert Bighorn Sheep (Nelson)
1915: They were nearly extirpated in the state.
2014: There are approximately 2,000 in California.

Aleutian Canada Goose
1970: There were approximately 200 to 300 in California.
2015: There are approximately 120,000 in the state.

Fishing opportunities also abound in the more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers in California. The state features more than 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of fish and shellfish species.

CDFW offers two “free fishing” days each year in the state, and this year prospective anglers received those opportunities on July 4 and Sept. 5. Fish production is also an important activity of CDFW, which in 2014 produced 2.5 million pounds of trout for recreational angling.

Last year, CDFW issued 1.78 million fishing licenses and those licenses (including report cards and validations) generated $63 million in funding for fisheries management and protection. California also received $17.3 million in federal Sport Fish Restoration Grants in 2015 — the grant amount is based on a formula that incorporates the geographical size of a state and the total number of licensed individuals in the state.

Fisheries management and conservation activities have also resulted in numerous success stories over the years in California. For example:

Wild Trout Fisheries
1970: No designated wild trout sport fisheries.
2015: 51 designated wild trout waters, encompassing 1,400 miles of streams and 14 lakes.

Landlocked Salmon
1993: No landlocked salmon sport fisheries.
2015: Twenty-one reservoirs support sport fishing for Kokanee salmon and 12 reservoirs support sport fishing for landlocked Chinook salmon.

Largemouth Bass
1874: Introduced into California.
2015: Twenty of 25 largest largemouth bass caught worldwide have been in California.

Alabama Spotted Bass
1974: Introduced into California.
2015: The current world record for the species was caught in a California reservoir. The state record for the species was broken twice in a one-month span, including a pending new world record.

For more information on hunting and fishing opportunities in the Golden State, please visit For information on how to purchase a hunting or fishing license, please visit For more information on National Hunting and Fishing Day, please visit