Outdoor Opportunities Abound on National Hunting and Fishing Day

It’s National Hunting and Fishing Day today – an annual celebration of hunter and angler contributions to conservation that provides California’s hunters and anglers a wonderful excuse to spend the day afield or on the water. A valid California hunting or fishing license is required along with any required validations, tags and report cards. These items are available for purchase at CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website. All California fishing and hunting regulations remain in effect.

Just in time for the start of many deer, upland game bird and small game seasons, the U.S. Forest Service has reopened about half the national forests in California after historic wildfires and fire conditions forced their closure. Nine forests in California remain closed. CDFW has reopened many of its lands previously closed due to fire conditions. A list of reopened CDFW properties is available at the CDFW website. Hunters and anglers should check ahead for any fire-related closures, camping restrictions and follow local health guidelines before heading out on any trip.

Among the many hunting opportunities available this Saturday are mountain quail, all quail species in the early coastal quail zone, ruffed grouse, sooty grouse, tree squirrels and rabbits. All of California’s deer seasons are opening – or have opened – on schedule. Among the popular deer hunting zones opening to rifle hunters on Saturday are D3-5 and D8-10. They join several deer zones already open, including B1-6 and C1-4.

California anglers have many options this Saturday as well. Ocean fishing remains strong up and down the coast for tuna, rock cod and lingcod. River fishing for Chinook salmon is improving in the north of the state, and trout and bass anglers can find aggressive fish looking to fatten up ahead of winter. CDFW continues to stock trout for recreational angling. Those plants are published on CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule.

Established in 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day occurs on the fourth Saturday in September and recognizes the important contributions hunters and anglers make through their leadership in fish and wildlife conservation.

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Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communication, (916) 215-3858

CDFW Seeks Authority to Refund Elk, Pronghorn Tags for Areas Impacted by Wildfires, Forest Closures

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pursuing a regulation change that would allow elk and pronghorn (antelope) hunters whose seasons were cut short or eliminated due to wildfires and forest closures to receive a refund of their 2020 tag fees along with a restoration of their preference points used to acquire their tags. Eligible hunters would also receive an additional preference point for elk or pronghorn for the 2020 season.

“We need to do right by these hunters who have lost most if not all of their hunting opportunity in 2020 due to these unprecedented forest closures and wildfires,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “These are expensive tags that can take many years – sometimes a lifetime – to draw. Refunding tag fees and restoring preference points is the least we can do for this group that does so much to fund our scientific research and conservation of these iconic California species.”

The proposed change to the California Code of Regulations must be approved by the California Fish and Game Commission. On Thursday, Sept. 17, the Commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee approved the proposed regulation concept, which is expected to be taken up by the full Commission in December and if approved, would go into effect in April 2021.

The proposed regulation identifies 14 elk hunts and two pronghorn hunts whose tag holders would be eligible for a refund of tag fees and a restoration of their preference points after submitting their unused tag along with a signed statement that they were unable to hunt for the entire season or a significant portion of the season due to the statewide closure of national forests and other affected lands as a result of the September 2020 wildfires.

The 14 elk hunts eligible for tag refunds would be:

  • Marble Mountains Either-Sex Apprentice (Roosevelt), Sept. 9-20
  • Northeastern California Archery Either Sex (Rocky Mountain), Sept. 2-13
  • Marble Mountains Antlerless (Roosevelt), Sept. 9-20
  • Marble Mountain Bull (Roosevelt), Sept. 9-20
  • Northwestern California Antlerless (Roosevelt), Sept. 2-24
  • Northwestern California Bull (Roosevelt), Sept. 2-24
  • Siskiyou Antlerless (Roosevelt), Sept. 9-20
  • Siskiyou Bull (Roosevelt), Sept. 9-20
  • East Park Reservoir Antlerless (Tule), Sept. 5-Oct. 1
  • East Park Reservoir Bull (Tule), Sept. 5-Oct. 1
  • Lake Pillsbury Period 1 Antlerless (Tule), Sept.9-18
  • Northeastern California Either-Sex Apprentice (Rocky Mountain), Sept. 16-27
  • Northeastern California Bull (Rocky Mountain), Sept. 16-27
  • Northwestern California Either-Sex (Roosevelt), Sept. 2-24

The two pronghorn hunts eligible for tag refunds would be:

  • Zone 4 Lassen Period 2 General Buck, Sept. 5-13
  • Zone 3 Likely Tables Period 2 General Buck, Sept. 5-13

The proposed regulation does not include a refund for deer tag holders, whose hunting seasons generally are longer and whose tags are less expensive. Some premium deer tags may be returned to CDFW with a request to have preference points reinstated and one preference point awarded for the species for the current hunt year prior to the season opening. Tag return and preference point eligibility requirements and additional information is available on CDFW’s website.

A California resident elk tag costs $461.50, not including application and processing fees. A California resident pronghorn tag costs $155.27, not including application and processing fees. Application and processing fees would not be eligible for refunds. Hunting license fees similarly cannot be refunded.

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Media Contact:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858

CDFW Reopens Additional Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has reopened 20 additional properties that were previously closed due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions.

All other fire-related closures will remain in effect until Sept. 25, 2020 unless extended. Please check the U.S. Forest Service website for national forest closures.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip. The following links show up-to-date closures:

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

CDFW Photo: The Hope Valley Wildlife Area in Alpine County is among 20 CDFW properties recently reopened to public use.

CDFW Reopens Nine Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has reopened nine properties that were previously closed due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions.

The reopened properties are Butte Valley Wildlife Area in Siskiyou County, Heenan Lake Wildlife Area in Alpine County, and By Day Creek Ecological Reserve and Pickel Meadow, West Walker River, Green Creek, East Walker River, Cartago, and Burcham & Wheeler Flats wildlife areas all in Mono County.

All other fire-related closures remain in effect through Monday, Sept. 21.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip. The following links show up-to-date closures:

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

CDFW Photo: The Heenan Lake Wildlife Area in Alpine County is among nine CDFW properties that have reopened to public use.

Lower Klamath River Salmon Quota Met

Based upon California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projections of the recreational fall Chinook salmon catch on the Klamath River, anglers will meet the Lower Klamath River adult fall Chinook salmon quota below the Highway 96 Bridge near Weitchpec for the 2020 season as of 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 14.

This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from the Highway 96 Bridge to the mouth of the Klamath River at the Pacific Ocean. The fishery at the mouth of the Klamath was closed as of Tuesday, Sept. 8 and will remain closed to all fishing for the rest of the calendar year. The rest of the lower main stem of the Klamath River below the Highway 96 Bridge at Weitchpec will remain open to the harvest of jack (2-year-old) Chinook salmon (less than or equal to 23 inches). All adult Chinook salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card.

Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook salmon in other reaches of the Klamath Basin, including the main stem of the Klamath River above Weitchpec and the entire Trinity River until the closure of those fisheries.

Anglers may monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling the information hotline at (800) 564-6479.

For more information regarding Klamath River fishing regulations, please consult the 2020-2021 California Freshwater and Supplemental Sport Fishing Regulations at wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.