May 2021 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Nature Bowl 2021: Family Challenge Edition. Hosted by CDFW’s North Central Region, the 2021 Nature Bowl has been reformatted into a virtual nature challenge to all California families with school-age students. Spring is here, and it’s time for rejuvenation, emerging from winter hibernation and getting outside for a healthy dose of nature. Your challenge is to work together as a family to compete in five nature-themed activities – and possibly win cool nature-related prizes. Nature Bowl runs through May 14, 2021. For more information and materials, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl or contact Genelle Treaster at genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Nimbus Hatchery Virtual Tot Time, 10 to 10:30 a.m. May 3, 10, 17 and 24. The popular story time program hosted by Nimbus Hatchery is back in a virtual format! Join us for nature-themed stories, songs, dancing and more! These free events are designed for ages 3-5. To register, please visit us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rXPHcz1nTe-h7R1PyeW1ag. For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 597-7752. 

Various Days — Vernal Pool Virtual Tours, 9 to 10 a.m. May 8 and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 19. Explore these crucial, incredible habitats with Yolo Basin Foundation staff and volunteers through a virtual experience at the vernal pools of Grasslands Regional Park. Discover how vernal pools are naturally created, how they can be restored and how they provide unique habitat. Zoom in more closely to view amazing wildflowers and small creatures that call the vernal pools home. For more information and to register for these free events, please visit yolobasin.org/virtualwetlandtours.  

1 — Recreational Groundfish Season Opens for All Boat-based Anglers for the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas (Oregon-California State Line to Point Arena). Season opens for the following species: rockfish, cabezon, kelp and rock greenlings, lingcod, California scorpionfish (aka sculpin), leopard shark, soupfin shark and spiny dogfish, and other federally managed groundfish. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/groundfish-summary

1 — Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens (until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut.

1 — Virtual Tour of the Davis Wetlands, 10 to 11 a.m. Join Yolo Basin Foundation staff and docents to explore and learn about this managed, native California wetland ecosystem. Observe wildlife up close with our virtual spotting scope view! Registration is required to receive the Zoom event link. To register for this free event, please visit yolobasin.org/virtualwetlandtours.

3 — Archery Only Spring Wild Turkey and Additional Junior Spring Turkey Seasons Open (extending through May 16). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds

5 — Deadline for California Invasive Species Action Week Youth Art Contest. Students in grades 2-12 are invited to submit artwork on the theme, “Be an Invasive Species Detective!” All types of media are encouraged! Submit entries electronically by May 5, 2021. Find complete information at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/action-week/poster-contest. Winners will be announced during California Invasive Species Action Week in June. Please send any questions to invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

5-9 — World Migratory Bird Week at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Celebrate the diversity of birds migrating through Elkhorn Slough Reserve with an independent avian scavenger hunt, do-it-yourself crafts and an outdoor exhibit of bird artifacts. To find out more, please visit the event calendar at www.elkhornslough.org.

7 — International Migratory Bird Day Webinar, 10 to 10:45 a.m. What is the Pacific Flyway, and why is it key to the diversity of birds in California? Learn which migratory birds use the Pacific Flyway and how they move across the world in this free Zoom webinar hosted by Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center naturalists. To register, please visit us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_8a2Mx7v4TSmf8J2x68m9vg. For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 597-7752. 

8 — Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Tour, 8 to 11 a.m., 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Yolo Basin Foundation offers monthly tours of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, October to June. These tours are appropriate for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts and birders! Due to current guidelines, tours are limited to 20 people. Every individual must be registered to participate. For more information and to register, please visit yolobasin.org/wetlands-tours. There is a suggested donation of $10 per adult for tours. Donations support our wetlands education programs.

11 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, time to be determined. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

11 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

11 — Vernal Pool Speaker Series: Plants of the Vernal Pools, 7 p.m. Take a closer look at the beautiful and unique plant species that call vernal pools home! Many of the gorgeous flowers that encircle vernal pools are fully protected and a rare treat to see. Carol Witham, botanist and vernal pool expert, will discuss the biology of these plants, why they grow in vernal pools and how to protect and safely view them. To register for this free event, please visit yolobasin.org/grpspeakerseries.  

14 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Proposal Solicitation Notice Closes. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

15 — Bat Talk and Walk Tickets On Sale. Did you know that an estimated 250,000 bats live under the Yolo Causeway during the summer? Yolo Basin Foundation hosts popular Bat Talk and Walk events where you can learn all about these amazing and beneficial animals and watch the “flyout” of the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats in California! This summer, the talk portion will be held via Zoom and the walk portion will be an in-person event to view the flyout. As in past years, there will be a few special nights for CDFW employees and their families. More information and registration links will be available at yolobasin.org/bats2021.

15-16 & 19 — Teachers on the Estuary Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). This free hands-on estuarine science workshop focuses on developing inquiry-based lessons for middle and high school teachers. The 2021 TOTE Workshop focus will be climate change and blue carbon, and it will be held as two online learning sessions and one in-person field day at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. During the field day, all state COVID protection protocols will be practiced, including mask wearing, physical distancing and a capacity on group size. To learn more and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/teachers-on-the-estuary-workshop-2.  

20 California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 1 p.m., via Zoom or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

21 — Endangered Species Day Webinar, 10 to 10:45 a.m. Find out which endangered species call California home and what their future may look like in this free Zoom webinar presented by Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center naturalists. Learn about our native bees and discover what you can do to help them thrive! To register, please visit us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RvlH50RnQXqfmoQCCyeS4A. For more information, please contact Stephanie Ambrosia at stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or (916) 597-7752. 

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Pacific Halibut Fishery Set to Open May 1

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce the 2021 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open Saturday, May 1 and remain open until Nov. 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2021 Pacific halibut quota for the California sport fishery is 39,260 pounds – approximately the same as the 2020 quota.

While the closing date of Nov. 15 is a new extension to the end of the season, the open dates are not guaranteed and the season could close early if it is determined that the quota has been taken. In 2020, the season closed Aug. 11, when a very successful fishery resulted in the early attainment of the state’s limit.

Anglers participating in the Pacific halibut fishery and other recreational fisheries are reminded they may be met at fishing sites by CDFW staff collecting catch and fishing effort information. CDFW appreciates anglers’ cooperation and participation in these survey efforts. In the case of Pacific halibut, staff will also be taking length measurements in a safe and physically distanced manner. CDFW highly encourages all recreational anglers to assist with this length data collection effort, as the information will aid with quota tracking and in-season management.

State regulations for Pacific halibut automatically conform to federal regulations set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 1.95. Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in the Federal Register (86 FR 20638) on April 21, 2021 and took effect immediately.

Anglers are always advised to check for updated information when planning a Pacific halibut fishing trip, as a season closure announcement could come at any time. Other regulatory information, including bag/possession limits and gear restrictions, can be found on CDFW’s Pacific halibut page. Public notification of any in-season change to regulations is made through the NMFS Pacific halibut hotline at (800) 662-9825 or CDFW’s Groundfish and Pacific halibut Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

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Media Contacts:
Melanie Parker, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 601-5928
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

April 2021 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

All calendar items are subject to change as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to adhere to all safety protocols including physical distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand washing.

Wildlife areas, ecological reserves and other properties may be closed due to wildfire damage. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — California Invasive Species Action Week Youth Art Contest. Students in grades 2-12 are invited to submit artwork on the theme, “Be an Invasive Species Detective!” All types of media are encouraged! Submit entries electronically by May 5, 2021. Find complete information at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/invasives/action-week/poster-contest. Winners will be announced during California Invasive Species Action Week in June. Please send any questions to invasives@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Nature Bowl 2021: Family Challenge Edition. Hosted by CDFW’s North Central Region, the 2021 Nature Bowl has been reformatted into a virtual nature challenge to all California families with school-age students. Spring is here, and it’s time for rejuvenation, emerging from winter hibernation and getting outside for a healthy dose of nature. Your challenge is to work together as a family to compete in five nature-themed activities – and possibly win cool nature-related prizes. Nature Bowl runs through May 14, 2021. For more information and materials, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/nature-bowl or contact Genelle Treaster at genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Scavenger Hunt, sunrise to sunset through April 11, 45211 County Road 32 B, Davis (95618). Learn about the Yolo Bypass wetlands and wildlife in this family-friendly, self-guided scavenger hunt around the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Participants will solve clues as they journey to the scavenger hunt stations shown on the provided map. Visit at least five stations and submit the scavenger hunt form to be entered to win exciting prizes. See if you can visit all 10 stations! The Scavenger Hunt is free, though a $10 donation per family to support Yolo Basin Foundation’s environmental education programs is suggested. For more information, materials and instructions, please visit yolobasin.org/scavengerhunt.

Various Days — Vernal Pool Speaker Series, 7 p.m., April 1, 13 and 27. Vernal pools are home to a variety of rare and endemic plants and animals. These talks, presented via Zoom, will cover the natural history and ecology of vernal pools of the Central Valley, plant and animal species conservation, and the history of Grasslands Regional Park. For the schedule of talks and to register for these free events, please visit yolobasin.org/grpspeakerseries.

1 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Proposal Solicitation Notice Release. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

1 — Recreational Groundfish Season Opens, for all boat-based anglers in the San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena, Mendocino County to Pigeon Point, San Mateo County), San Francisco Bay and the Central Management Area (Pigeon Point, San Mateo County to Point Conception, Santa Barbara County). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/groundfish.  

1 — California Grunion Season Closes. Season closes at midnight the night of March 31. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/grunion.

1 — San Francisco Bay Surfperch Season Closes. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/fishing-map/sf-bay.

3 — Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico Border. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call either the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

3 — Vernal Pool Virtual Tour, 9 to 10 a.m. Explore the crucial, incredible habitats of vernal pools with Yolo Basin Foundation staff and volunteers through a virtual experience at Grasslands Regional Park. Discover how vernal pools are naturally created, how they can be restored and how they provide unique habitat. Zoom in more closely to view amazing wildflowers and small creatures that call the vernal pools home. Registration is free and limited to 60 devices per virtual tour. For more information and to sign up, please visit yolobasin.org/virtualwetlandtours.

6-9 — 11th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference and 2021 IEP Annual Workshop. The 11th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference and the 2021 Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop will be a combined virtual event this year. The conference acts as a forum for presenting scientific analyses and results relevant to management of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The goal of the conference is to provide new information and syntheses to the broad community of scientists, engineers, resources managers and stakeholders working on Bay-Delta issues. The conference theme is “Building Resilience through Diversity in Science.” Attendance is free with registration. To register for the event, please visit baydeltascienceconference.org. For more information on the conference, please visit deltacouncil.ca.gov/delta-science-program/11th-biennial-bay-delta-science-conference.

8 — Advanced Hunter Education Webinar: Archery Turkey Hunting, 6 to 7 p.m. This webinar will cover many aspects of a successful turkey hunt with a bow. Join us as we share information on how to bag a wild turkey using archery equipment. Register at www.register-ed.com/programs/california/162-advanced-hunter-education.

10 — Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Virtual Tour, 10 to 11 a.m. Join Yolo Basin Foundation staff and docents to explore your local wetlands. Observe wildlife up close with our virtual spotting scope view! Registration is free and limited to 60 devices per virtual tour. For more information and to sign up, please visit yolobasin.org/virtualwetlandtours.

13 — California Fish and Game Commission Tribal Committee Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

14 — California Fish and Game Commission Meeting. The meeting is to be held via webinar/teleconference due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. For more information, please visit fgc.ca.gov.

15 — 2021-22 Hunting Items on Sale. Hunters can purchase 2021-22 hunting licenses, tags and validations, and apply for the annual Big Game Drawing. Items may be purchased at license agents, online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales or by phone at (800) 565-1458. Sales transactions for the Big Game Drawing applications must be completed before midnight on June 2, 2021. Please contact a local CDFW license sales office for more information.

15 — Deadline to Submit Lobster Trap Loss Affidavits. Commercial lobster fishermen must submit an affidavit reporting trap loss for the 2020-2021 season. Forms can be found at nrm.dfg.ca.gov/filehandler.ashx?documentid=141218 and can be returned either by email to lobster@wildlife.ca.gov or by mail to 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123.

22 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Stream Flow Enhancement Program Board Meeting, 10 a.m., via Zoom. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

22 — Advanced Hunter Education Webinar: Applying for Big Game Tags, 6 to 7 p.m. This webinar will cover how to successfully apply for all big game tag applications. Learn how the process works and how to properly apply for your hunt choices. Register at www.register-ed.com/programs/california/162-advanced-hunter-education.

24 — Aquatic WILD Virtual Workshop, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). This one-day workshop for elementary school teachers takes a deep dive into aquatic habitats and their animals! Participants leave with the Aquatic Wild guide to hundreds of fun and engaging lessons and activities, and skills to lead field investigations at their school or on the reserve. This workshop is free, but registration is required. For more details and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/aquatic-wild-teacher-workshop-3.

29 — Watershed Scale Thinking: An Evenings at the Estuary Presentation, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Virtual Event. Join Elkhorn Slough Foundation Stewardship Director Dash Dunkell and Digital Mapping expert Kass Green for a discussion on watershed restoration and the brand-new vegetation maps of the Elkhorn Slough and learn how to take meaningful action in your own area. To register for this free event, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/watershed-scale-thinking.

30 — Deadline to Report Spiny Lobster Report Cards. Divers and hoop netters who were issued report cards for spiny lobster must report their data by April 30, 2021. Report card holders who fail to return their Spiny Lobster Report Card or report their harvest online by the deadline will be assessed a $21.60 non-return fee when they purchase a spiny lobster report card for the following season. Divers and hoop netters may report online or mail their report card to the address printed on the report card. To report online, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.

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Media Contact:
Amanda McDermott, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8907

Recreational Ocean Salmon Fishery Season Curtailed on Much of the California Coast

California’s recreational salmon fishery will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 3 in the Monterey management area, from Pigeon Point (37° 11’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S./Mexico border, with a minimum size limit of 24 inches. All other areas of the California coast will remain closed until further notice. The remaining 2021 season dates and associated regulations will be finalized next month.

Although the San Francisco and the Fort Bragg management areas were originally scheduled to open in April, on the advice of salmon fishery representatives, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) made the decision to delay the openers in these areas to limit ocean fishery impacts due to poor stock forecasts. Both Klamath River fall Chinook and Sacramento River fall Chinook have reduced ocean abundance forecasts for the 2021 season compared to long term averages, and the PFMC is taking steps to ensure that enough salmon will return to rivers this fall to meet spawner abundance goals.

Traditionally, fishing in the Monterey management area is better early in the season, prompting recreational fishing representatives to prioritize its opening ahead of areas to the north. Although seasons for the San Francisco, Fort Bragg and Klamath management areas are not yet known, the season alternatives that are currently under consideration prioritize opportunity later in the summer, when catch rates are typically better.

Final season dates will be decided during the virtual PFMC meeting to be held April 6-9 and 12-15. The public is invited to comment on the PFMC’s season proposals at that meeting or at a virtual public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 23. Details on how to attend the PFMC meeting, public hearing, and ways to provide public comment can be found on the PFMC website at www.pcouncil.org

Anglers are advised to check for updated information when planning a salmon fishing trip. Season dates, bag/possession limit information and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or by calling the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.

Media Contacts:            

Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 484-6901

Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

Updated Freshwater Sportfishing Regulations

New freshwater sport fishing regulations which take effect on March 1, 2021, aim to simplify and streamline the laws regulating inland fishing while maintaining and protecting California’s fisheries. The package of updated regulations was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in October 2020. It was the largest regulatory inland sport fishing package in the Commission’s history. 

“The underlying goals were to reduce the complexity of inland sport fishing regulations, increase regulatory consistency and remove regulations that are no longer biologically justifiable,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Inland Fisheries Program Manager Roger Bloom. 

Major changes include: 

  • Separate regulations for inland trout (non-anadromous waters) from those for steelhead and salmon (anadromous waters) to make it easier to understand the bag and possession limits, 
  • Replacement of district regulations with statewide regulations separated for trout, and 
  • Standardize and consolidate ”special fishing” regulations. 

CDFW held a series of community meetings in 2018 and 2019 at locations across the state to publicly introduce and discuss proposed changes to simplify statewide inland sport fishing regulations. CDFW proposals and recommendations from the public were then vetted at the January and March 2020 Wildlife Resources Committee meetings. 

Anglers should review the changes as they affect most of the inland trout waters in California. Updates to the regulations can be found both at wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland and wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

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Media Contacts: 
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120