Category Archives: Events

Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day by Getting Outdoors

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are joining to celebrate California’s long-standing outdoor heritage and the contributions made to wildlife conservation by hunters and anglers on National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Saturday, Sept. 23 is National Hunting and Fishing Day and California hunting and fishing seasons are in full swing. Currently deer, bear, grouse, early mountain quail, rabbit, and tree squirrel seasons are underway across the state. The high country streams, rivers and lakes are in peak form. This is prime time.

Together, CDFW and BLM are proud to promote the excellent hunting and fishing opportunities available on public lands. BLM-managed public lands in California offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating and backcountry exploring. Millions of acres of public land are available for hunting and thousands of miles of rivers and streams are available for fishing in California. CDFW is responsible for over 1 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat, managed through 749 properties throughout the state. These properties provide habitat for a rich diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species.

Hunters and anglers are advised to check area closures and local restrictions before heading out. Fire season is here and several large wildfires are burning currently, which may close some areas to hunting and fishing. Additionally, the severe winter damaged roads, which may account for other closures or restricted access. Information on area closures is available at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts.

While current target shooting restrictions are in place on some BLM-managed public lands, hunting in those areas is open with a valid hunting license. For updates on BLM restrictions visit: blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/california/fire-restrictions.

For the 2016 season, a record 84 percent of deer tag holders complied with California’s new mandatory deer tag reporting requirement. CDFW thanks all those who reported and hopes for increased participation following the 2017 season. The reports are vital to estimating deer populations and setting tag quotas for the coming hunting season.

California is phasing-in the use of non-lead ammunition for hunting. Lead ammunition is permitted in 2017 for hunting deer in California outside of the California condor range, state wildlife areas or ecological reserves where non-lead ammunition is required. Learn more about California’s phase-in of nonlead ammunition for hunting by visiting wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Nonlead-Ammunition.

Hunters and anglers are often referred to as the original conservationists. CDFW and BLM value the many contributions they make to fish and wildlife conservation efforts in the Golden State.

For more information about California’s hunting and fishing seasons, licenses and tags, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov.

For more information about BLM lands and outdoor activities, please visit www.blm.gov/california.

Media Contacts:
Samantha Storms, BLM Communications, (916) 978-4615
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

Registration Is Open for Sandhill Crane Tours: New Requirement in Late Fall

The online registration period is now open for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) popular Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve near Lodi in San Joaquin County.

Online registration is required to participate in these late-afternoon guided tours, which start in October and run through February. The tours take place the first through third Saturdays and Sundays of each month for five months during the cranes’ fall and winter stay in California’s Central Valley. Online registration is available up to eight weeks in advance. Registration opened in mid-August for October tour dates and in mid-September for November dates. More information about the tours is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/3/Crane-Tour.

After Nov. 13, 2017, those 16 and older attending the tours will be required to purchase and possess a CDFW lands pass in order to participate. Visitors carrying a valid hunting or fishing license will be exempt from this new requirement. Signs will be posted at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve notifying visitors of the need for a lands pass, and tour docents will be checking for lands passes or licenses at the start of each tour.  A daily lands pass costs $4.32 and an annual lands pass costs $24.33.  Lands passes may be purchased online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/, by phone at (800) 565-1458, and in-person wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold (locations at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing). Lands pass fees will be used for the management of this and other CDFW lands. For more information about lands passes, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/Lands-Pass.

The Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, northeast of Lodi, is a popular spot for viewing the Pacific Flyway’s greater and lesser sandhill cranes returning to California’s Central Valley. The reserve is also known as the Isenberg Crane Reserve, named after former Congressman Phil Isenberg, who was instrumental in conserving the land.

The Woodbridge Ecological Reserve is also accessible to the public at any time for self-guided tours. A series of informative interpretive panels at the reserve’s south unit at 11154 W. Woodbridge Road in Lodi offers good visitor support. Staying until sundown is recommended for witnessing the sights and sounds associated with “fly-over” and the cranes’ return to their evening roosting spots.

CDFW is also proud to co-sponsor the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival scheduled for Nov. 3-5. Information about festival tours and activities is available at www.cranefestival.com/index.php.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communication, (916) 322-8908
David Moore, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 766-8380

CDFW Offering Free Tundra Swan Tours This Fall and Winter

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will offer free swan tours near Marysville on Saturdays beginning in November and extending through mid-January.

Co-hosted by local rice farmers, the naturalist-led tours will focus on tundra swans in one of the premier locations for viewing swans in California. Ducks, geese, shorebirds, herons, egrets and raptors are commonly seen in this area, which contains 23,000 acres of rice fields.

Tours will be held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. The driving tours will also involve walking a short distance.

Pre-registration is required at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours. Up to 30 people can register for each tour. The tours are part of CDFW’s wildlife viewing services program, which includes similar outdoors opportunities at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, and Isenberg Crane Reserve.

For more information, please call (916) 358-2869 or email interpretiveservices@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contacts:
Bruce Forman, CDFW Interpretive Services, (916) 358-2353
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

Second of Two Free Fishing Days in 2017 to be Held on Sept. 2

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages all Californians to give fishing a try for free on Saturday, Sept. 2.

CDFW annually offers two Free Fishing Days, typically around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends (the first of the two Free Fishing Days in 2017 was held July 1). On these two days, people can fish without having to buy a sport-fishing license. Free Fishing Days also provide an easy opportunity for licensed anglers to introduce non-angling friends and children to fishing and the outdoors.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements and fishing hours and stream closures, remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster or abalone anywhere in the state, or for salmon on the Smith River.

CDFW reminds anglers that recreational salmon fishing in the Klamath-Trinity river system remains closed this season due to very low predicted adult returns.

Anglers residing in urban areas also have opportunities to fish close to home. Trout from CDFW hatcheries are stocked in urban waters when the water is cold and adequate to sustain trout. Some CDFW regions also offer Fishing in the City, a program that allows children to learn to fish for catfish and trout in major metropolitan areas. For more information on the Fishing in the City program, please visit http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing-in-the-city.

For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days, and a video on Free Fishing Days can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=BovDSeSLfgY&feature=youtu.be.  All anglers should also check the rules and regulations at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations for the waters they plan to fish because wildlife officers will be on duty to enforce them. In addition, information on CDFW trout and inland salmon stocking is available at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/fishplants and a fishing guide can be viewed at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/guide.

Media Contacts:
Jay Rowan, CDFW North Central Region, (916) 358-2883
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

September 2017 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

DATE — EVENT

Various Days — Bat Talk and Walk at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, various times, 45211 County Road 32B (Chiles Road), Davis (95618). Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is home to approximately 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats. From mid-June to mid-September, the Yolo Basin Foundation provides a program for people to learn about bats and watch the colony fly. Reservations are required. To register, please visit www.yolobasin.org. For more information, please email cquirk@yolobasin.org.

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead a group, school or organization on a half-mile route through diverse wetlands. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. Tours can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people and reservations are required. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.deiter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.50 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Weekends — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough. Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased on-site). Groups of five should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

1 — Applications Available for Waterfowl Hunting Reservations. Beginning Sept. 1, waterfowl hunters can submit applications for reservations to hunt on state-operated wildlife areas for the 2017/18 hunting season. Applications may be submitted at CDFW license sales offices, license agents or online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

1 —Recreational Pacific Halibut Season Open for All Boat-based Anglers in California. For more information, please call the National Marine Fisheries Service hotline at (800) 662-9825 or visit the Pacific Halibut webpage at http://wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670771-pacific-halibut-regulatons.

1 — Mourning Dove and White-winged Dove Season Opens Statewide. First half of split season opens, extending through Sept. 15. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

6 — CDFW Instream Flow Assessment Activities Stakeholder Meeting for Butte Creek in Butte County, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Arc Pavilion, 2040 Park Ave., Chico (95928). CDFW staff will present study results and draft stream flow requirements. For more information, please email william.cowan@wildlife.ca.gov or amber.villalobos@wildlife.ca.gov, or call (916) 445-8560 or (916) 445-1277.

6-8 — CDFW Fisheries Restoration Grant Program Peer Review Committee Meeting, Ramada Plaza, 685 Manzanita Court, Chico (95926). The extended meeting will begin at 9 a.m. on Sept. 6, and at 8 a.m. on both Sept. 7 and Sept. 8. The meeting is designed to review proposals submitted through the Fisheries Habitat Restoration 2017 solicitation. For more information, please contact Matt Wells at (916) 445-1285 or at matt.wells@wildlife.ca.gov.

8-9 — Friant Interactive Nature Site Volunteer Days, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friant Interactive Nature Site, 17443 N Friant Road, Friant (93626). Volunteers will perform general trail maintenance, including raking, pruning, planting and weeding, along the Small Fry Children’s and San Joaquin River Parkway trails. Parking will be available in a lot located on the corner of Friant Road and Flemming Road. Participants should meet CDFW staff at the picnic area located along the Parkway Trail to sign in. Volunteers under 18 must bring a signed parent permission slip. For more information, please email R4salmonidsclassroom@wildlife.ca.gov or call (559) 243-4014, extension 245.

9 — Sooty (Blue) and Ruffed Grouse General Season Opens. Season extends through Oct. 9. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds#225035-regulations.

9 — Grasslands Wildlife Areas Public Outreach Meeting, 9 a.m., Grassland Environmental Education Center, 18110 W. Henry Miller Road, Los Banos (93635). CDFW will host a public meeting regarding Central Region Type A and B wildlife areas. CDFW will take comments and recommendations and provide updates on habitat conditions, availability of water for wetlands and possible impacts to hunter access on these public lands. For more information, please visit cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/cdfw-to-host-public-outreach-meeting-on-grasslands-wildlife-areas/.

9— White-tailed Ptarmigan General and Archery Season Opens Statewide. White-tailed ptarmigan general and archery season opens statewide Sept. 9 and extends through Sept. 17.  For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds#225035-regulations.

9 —Tree Squirrel General Season Opens. Season extends through Jan. 31. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

9 — Mountain Quail Season Opens in Zone Q1. Season extends through Oct. 20.  For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds#225035-regulations.

13 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, 10 a.m., California Tower, 3737 Main Street, Highgrove Room 200, Riverside (92501). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/index.aspx.

16 — Band-tailed Pigeon Season in the North Zone Opens. Season extends through Sept. 24. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds#225035-regulations.

16 — General Deer Season Opens in Majority of General Zones.  General deer season opens in zones B1-B3, B5, B6, C1-C4, D6, and D7 (deer hunting is already underway in the A and B4 zones). Hunters should check for area closures/restrictions before heading out to their hunting destination. Information on closures is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/area-alerts. Tag reporting is required as the reports are vital to estimating populations and tag quotas. Please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin for information on reporting. Tag holders may also submit reports by mail at CDFW Wildlife Branch, P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002. For general information on deer zones, please visit  www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer#54774-zones–hunts.

18 — Feather River Fish Hatchery Ladder Opening, 5 Table Mountain Boulevard, Oroville (95965). The ladder will open and salmon spawning is expected to begin later that week and continue through approximately mid-November. Steelhead spawning takes place in late December through approximately February. The hatchery is open from sunrise to sunset. For more information, please call (530) 538-2222 or visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/hatcheries/feather-river.

23 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Open House, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). This event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at (831)728-2822 or visit www.elkhornslough.org.

23 — 23nd Annual Oroville Salmon Festival, Feather River Fish Hatchery, 5 Table Mountain Blvd., Oroville (95965), from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and in downtown Oroville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature tours to view salmon spawning, informational booths, educational displays and vendor booths. For more information, please visit www.salmonfestoroville.org.

23-24 —Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days for the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone. To participate in these youth waterfowl hunts federal regulations require that hunters must be 17 years of age or younger at the time of the hunts and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. Hunters who possess a California junior hunting license are not required to purchase a California Duck Validation; however a federal duck stamp is still required for any waterfowl hunter who is 16 years of age or older. The Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days are applicable to all lands, including private lands, state wildlife areas and federal national wildlife refuges. For more information, please contact the area you wish to hunt or Melanie Weaver at melanie.weaver@wildlife.ca.gov.

30 — Quail Season Opens in Zone Q2 (all quail).  Season extends through Jan. 28. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds#225035-regulations.

30 — Large Canada Geese Season Balance of State Waterfowl Zone Opens. Season extends through Oct. 4. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

30 — California Spiny Lobster Recreational Fishing Season Opens Statewide. The season opens at 6 a.m., a new starting time, which was recently adopted to improve safety. For more information on other new regulations associated with the new California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/new-lobster-fishing-regs. For general information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

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