All posts by ptirawildlife

Recreational Canary Rockfish, Black Rockfish and Lingcod Bag Limit Increases Effective June 1, 2019

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced increases to the recreational canary rockfish (Sebastes pinniger), black rockfish (S. melanops) and lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) daily limits.

Within the statewide Rockfish Cabezon Greenlings Complex daily bag limit of 10 fish, the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from two to three fish, and the sub-bag limit for black rockfish will increase from three to four fish. The daily bag limit for lingcod will increase from one to two fish for areas south of 40°10’ N. lat (near Cape Mendocino), returning the statewide bag limit for lingcod to two fish. The changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019.

Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began in 2017 as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, incremental increases to the daily sub-bag limit are being implemented to balance fishing opportunity while keeping catch within harvest limits.

Less optimistic stock assessment outcomes for black rockfish in 2015 and lingcod in 2017 resulted in a reduction to both the harvest limits and bag limits for these species. A review of the most recent recreational catch information showed that less catch for these species occurred during 2017 and 2018 than anticipated. This prompted the current increase in the statewide black rockfish sub-bag limit and lingcod bag limit south of Cape Mendocino to better achieve allowable harvest.

Catches of several important groundfish species, including canary and black rockfish, are monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits are not exceeded.

Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish webpage.

Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2814
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988


Lead-Free Hunting Takes Effect Statewide July 1

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wants to remind hunters that beginning July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition will be required when taking wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California.

CDFW strongly recommends that hunters acquire and practice with nonlead ammunition well before heading afield, particularly in advance of upcoming big game seasons, to make sure rifles are sighted in and to understand how their firearms perform with nonlead ammunition.

The nonlead ammo requirement includes hunting on public land, private property and licensed game bird clubs, and applies to rifles, shotguns, pistols and muzzleloaders in any gauge or caliber for the take of any legal species. The nonlead ammo requirement extends to the legal take of nongame birds and mammals and includes firearms used for depredation to take species causing property damage.

The requirement does not apply to hunting with pellet rifles. Since pellet rifles are not classified as firearms, the use of lead pellets is allowed. Lead ammunition is allowed for target shooting where that activity is permitted.

California will become the first state in the nation to require nonlead ammunition for all firearms-related hunting. California’s phase-in of nonlead ammunition for hunting originated with state legislation signed into law in 2013. In 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted regulations to phase in the requirement over time with full implementation July 1, 2019.

In recent years, with advances in technology and more states and the federal government restricting the use of lead hunting ammunition, manufacturers have responded with an increasing variety of nonlead ammunition offerings. Nonlead ammunition has been required for waterfowl hunting nationwide since 1991, and many California hunters already have made a voluntary change to nontoxic hunting ammunition due to health and environmental concerns.

The first California hunting seasons impacted by the lead ammunition ban include the general rabbit season, which opens statewide July 1, and the A Zone general deer season, which opens Aug. 10 along much of the California coast.

CDFW advises hunters to shop carefully when purchasing nonlead hunting ammunition, particularly from out-of-state-based sporting goods stores and other mass retailers that may stock their California outlets with lead hunting ammunition in advance of upcoming seasons.

All ammunition in a hunter’s possession may be inspected by wildlife officers. Hunters are encouraged to assist in confirming compliance by retaining and carrying in the field ammunition boxes or other packaging.

For more information, please visit CDFW’s Nonlead Ammunition in California webpage at For in-depth research and ballistics analysis of nonlead hunting ammunition, please visit

Media Contacts:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (209) 826-0463
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

CDFW Accepting Applications for Opening Week Deer Hunt at the Knoxville Wildlife Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for a limited, lottery draw deer hunt for the opening week of the A Zone general deer season on the Knoxville Wildlife Area in Napa County.

The 21,000-acre Knoxville Wildlife Area is located approximately 1.5 miles north of Lake Berryessa. This special lottery draw deer hunt is to limit the number of hunters on a popular public hunting area during the opening week of the season and improve the quality of the experience.

Only 120 hunt permits will be issued for this special lottery draw deer hunt. The hunt permit is valid for the single hunt period, Aug. 10-16, 2019. The Knoxville Wildlife Area will be closed to all other users during the hunt period.

For more information and to apply for the lottery draw, please visit

Applications will be accepted through June 20, 2019.

Successful applicants will be selected through a random computerized draw and will be notified by e-mail four to six weeks before the hunt period. Up to four hunters may apply as one party by including all the required information on the online application. Multiple applications from any hunter will result in disqualification from the drawing. Substitutions of hunt party members will not be permitted.

When applying for the lottery draw, hunters must possess a valid 2019-20 California hunting license.

Deer hunt preference points will not be considered for this lottery draw – nor will preference points be affected if drawn for this special hunt.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Stacy Martinelli, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 576-2868

Kern River Hatchery Reopens with Mission to Raise and Plant Native Trout

The Kern River Hatchery has reopened to the public with a bold and innovative new mission: to raise the Kern River rainbow trout and stock the native fish throughout the Kern River Basin where anglers will have a chance to catch it.

New facilities recently constructed at the Kern River Hatchery in Kernville are designed to breed, rear and facilitate the planting of the Kern River rainbow trout, one of 12 subspecies of trout native to California. The goal is to plant the native strain of trout instead of other domesticated strains of rainbow trout.

The hatchery will continue to serve as a holding facility and planting base for rainbow trout reared in other hatcheries for stocking in waters from Bakersfield to the high Sierras as the new program progresses. The facility has been in operation since 1928.

Historically, warming water temperatures during summer months did not adequately allow for full hatchery operations. Utilizing groundwater to augment the hatchery’s water supply solved the problem.

“The goal is to not only provide fishing opportunity but help with the restocking of a native strain of rainbow trout to native watersheds,” said Tony Holland, Kern River Hatchery manager. “This twofold operation has the potential to increase natural reproduction while providing continued angling opportunity.”

The hatchery plays a key role in planting trout. Most of the rainbow trout planted, however, have been reared at other hatcheries and were not from strains of rainbows found in the Kern River Basin. New wells providing cool, year-round water along with the building of new facilities to hold broodstock, egg taking stations, an incubation area, deep tanks, chillers and raceways make it possible to start the new program using local native stock.

“This program integrates genetic science, hatchery management techniques and common sense,” said Gerald Hatler, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regional fisheries program manager. “It is an innovative and exciting new project.”

This summer, CDFW biologists and hatchery crews are planning to collect wild Kern River rainbow trout broodstock to start the program. Four new deep tanks to rear fish are in place. The goal is to capture 50 to 100 mature trout from the backcountry within the Sequoia National Forest. The trout will be transported to the Kern River Hatchery where genetic samples will be taken to match and define genetic pairing to produce the best offspring.

The hatchery, located in Kernville, Kern County, is open daily to the public from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


CDFW to Hold Public Meeting on Bay Delta Region Type A Wildlife Areas

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold its annual public outreach meeting on Bay Delta Region Type A wildlife areas on Wednesday, May 22 in Davis. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on public lands.

State wildlife areas to be discussed are the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area complex. The meeting will take place 4 to 6 p.m. at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area’s conference room. The address is 45211 County Road 32B in Davis.

CDFW annually provides an opportunity for licensed hunters to comment and make recommendations on public hunting programs, including anticipated habitat conditions in the hunting areas on wildlife areas, through public meetings and other outreach.

CDFW’s Bay Delta Region covers all or parts of 13 counties in northern California and is one of seven CDFW regions in the state.