September 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

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

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). 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 or more 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.

Various Days — General Bear Season Opening in Select Deer Zones. General black bear season will open concurrently with the general deer hunting season in deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 and extend through Dec. 29. Deer zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10 and X12 have different deer season opening dates depending upon the deer zone. General season for black bears opens in deer hunting zones X-1 through X-7b on Oct. 12, and extends through Dec. 29. CDFW shall close the season earlier if 1,700 bears have been reported taken. For daily updates on reported bear harvest, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear or call toll free (888) 277-6398. Please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/mammalregs.aspx for a description of the current mammal hunting regulations.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadlines for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, deer, bear, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $11 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

First Through Third Saturdays and Sundays of the Month — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tours at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve, 7730 W. Woodbridge Road, Lodi (95242). Online registration has begun for those wishing to participate in these guided tours, which run October through February. Registration is available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour. A one-day Lands Pass must be purchased to attend and instructions are available on the same website. Tours fill fast and registration may be done as much as six weeks in advance. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

1 — Early season for Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Spotted Dove and Ringed Turtle Dove opens. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

2 — Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from the Oregon-California State Line to Horse Mountain. Recreational ocean salmon fishing remains open between Horse Mountain and Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at www.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  California Fish and Game Commission Teleconference Meeting, 10 a.m. The agenda includes a discussion about appointing a new Executive Director of the Commission. For more information, please visit https://fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

4 & 5  California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, Santa Rosa. The California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group will meet in Santa Rosa. Interested members of the public may observe the discussion in person or listen via a conference line; however, there will not be a designated opportunity for public comment during the meeting. Feedback can be shared directly with the Department via email to whalesafefisheries@wildlife.ca.gov. An agenda will be posted on www.opc.ca.gov/whale-entanglement-working-group. For additional details about the meeting, please contact info@cawhalegroup.com or ryan.bartling@wildlife.ca.gov.

6 & 7  Volunteer Days, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., rain or shine. Come spend a fun day outdoors and help us keep the Friant Interactive Nature Site (FINS) looking great. Please park in the lot at Parker Street and Friant Road. Heading north on Friant Road, turn left on Parker Street and meet at the picnic tables down the trail. If you are under 18, please bring a signed parent permission slip. For more information, contact Deona Mitchell at (559) 243-4017 ext. 245.

7 — California Biodiversity Day, the first official celebration of an annual event created last year to celebrate the state’s exceptional biodiversity and encourage actions to protect it. All Californians are encouraged to get out and explore nature – including state parks, wildlife areas and ecological reserves – as part of a biodiversity open house on September 7-8, 2019. Go to www.wildlife.ca.gov/biodiversity to find more information about that weekend’s biodiversity open house event, including a bioblitz -that will take place in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences and iNaturalist, a popular nature app that helps identify plants and animals around you. iNaturalist is a collaboration between National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences.

9 — Lower American River Conservancy Program, American River Parkway Tour, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  For more information, please visit https://wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

10 — California Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, 8:30 a.m., Justice Joseph A. Rattigan Building, Conference Room 410 (Fourth Floor), 50 D St., Santa Rosa (95404). For more information, please visit https://fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

10 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1-3 p.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). Dr. Lisa Micheli presents “Report from a Russian River field station in the heart of the 2017 wildfire zone: Pepperwood’s integrated approach to evaluating and advancing landscape resilience.” In October 2017, more than 90 percent of Pepperwood’s 3,200-acre research reserve burned in the Tubbs Fire, providing an incredible opportunity to leverage nearly a decade of weather, hydrology and ecology data collection to improve our empirical understanding of fire in California’s Coast Ranges. While the organization regroups to rebuild critical facilities lost in the inferno, their ecologists are inventorying the impacts of the fire and scaling up what they are learning to inform resilience strategies across California as a whole. This presentation will highlight some early findings, share how Pepperwood will serve as a living laboratory for fire recovery and habitat restoration and highlight successful collaborations focused on building a knowledge base to support climate and fire resilience strategies in California’s inner Coast Ranges and beyond. Attendance is free. To register and for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

14 — Sooty (Blue) and Ruffed Grouse General Season Opens. Season extends through Oct. 14. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — White-tailed Ptarmigan General and Archery Season Opens Statewide. White-tailed ptarmigan general and archery season opens statewide Sept. 14 and extends through Sept. 22. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — Mountain Quail Season Opens in Zone Q1. Season extends through Oct. 18. The general season for Sooty (Blue) Grouse opens (extending through Oct. 14). The general and archery seasons for White-tailed Ptarmigan open (extending through Sept. 22). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 —Tree Squirrel General Season Opens. Season extends through Jan. 26, 2020. For more information on small game seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/small-game.

16 — Feather River Fish Hatchery Ladder Opening, 5 Table Mountain Blvd., Oroville (95965). The ladder will open and salmon spawning will begin the following week and continue through approximately mid-November. 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.

21 — General Deer Season Opens. General deer season opens in the general zones D6-7, the restricted zones B1-B3 and B5-B6, and the premium zones C1-C4, X9a, X9b and X12. Hunters should check for area closures and restrictions before heading to their 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 to 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.

21 — Coastal Cleanup Day 2019, 9 a.m. to noon, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers will remove trash from the road bordering the reserve to keep the habitat clean and safe. Elkhorn Slough Reserve will provide materials and refreshments. All ages are welcome but those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please keep in mind this cleanup is conducted along an active road. For more information, please contact Ariel Hunter at ariel.hunter@wildlife.ca.gov

21 — Band-tailed Pigeon Season in the North Zone Opens. Season extends through September 29. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

21 & 22 — Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days for Northeastern California Zone. In order to participate, hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. People should contact the wildlife area or national wildlife refuge they wish to hunt for details. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

28 — General Deer Season Opens. General deer season opens in the general zones D3-5, D8 and D10, and the premium zones D9 and X8. Hunters should check for area closures and 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.

28 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Open House and Native Plant Fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Activities include guided walking tours, an opportunity to meet scientists, face-painting, and nature-themed arts and crafts. Visitors can also explore and take home a plant during the Native Plant Fair (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). The annual event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at (831) 728-2822 or visit www.elkhornslough.org.

28 — Early Season for Large Canada Geese in the Balance of State Zone Opens. Season extends through Oct. 2. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

28 — Quail Season Opens in Zone Q2 (all quail).  Season extends through Jan. 26, 2020. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

28 — 25th Annual Oroville Salmon Festival, Feather River Fish Hatchery, 5 Table Mountain Blvd., Oroville (95965), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and in downtown Oroville, 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.

28 — General Deer Season Opens. General deer season opens in premium zone X10. Hunters should check for area closures and restrictions before heading 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 to 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.

29 — California Spiny Lobster Recreational Fishing Season Opens Statewide at 6 a.m. For more information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

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Media Contacts:
Sarah Guerere, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8974
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

July 6 is Free Fishing Day in California

Mark your calendars for the first of two 2019 Free Fishing Days in California, when anyone can try their hand at angling – no fishing license required. If you would like to fish the rest of the year, you can purchase a license online through CDFW’s website.

“Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for seasoned anglers to introduce friends and neighbors to their love of the sport,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham.

A basic annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $49.94, while a one-day sport fishing license costs $16.20. CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – usually around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend – when it’s legal to fish without either an annual or one-day license. This year, the first of the two Free Fishing Days falls on the Saturday of Independence Day weekend. The second will be on Saturday, Aug. 31.

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

Anglers can review the sport fishing regulations online (www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations) or use CDFW’s mobile web site to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water (https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs/).

Please note: CDFW has recently been made aware of customer complaints that third party websites are offering California fishing licenses for sale at greatly inflated prices. We urge customers not to provide credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other personal information to these sites. The CDFW website, License and Revenue Branch locations and CDFW license agents are the only state-authorized sources for California fishing licenses.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

Jen Benedet, CDFW Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation Program, (916) 903-9270

Great Start to the Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery

The 2019 recreational Pacific Halibut season is off to a strong start! Since opening day on May 1, many north coast anglers have braved less-than-perfect weather and ocean conditions and were successful in pursuing this highly prized fish. Preliminary catch data available to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) through the first five days of the fishery indicates almost 2,500 pounds of fish were caught.

“This is a level of success more typically seen during the summer months,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Melanie Parker.

Again this year, the public can follow the progress of catch through the season compared to the quota on the CDFW Pacific Halibut webpage, which is updated weekly. The fishery is scheduled to be open through Oct. 31, or until the quota has been met, whichever comes first. The 2019 quota is 39,000 pounds, approximately 8,000 pounds greater than last year.

Up-to-date information on the status of the season can also be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 or the CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

State regulations for Pacific Halibut automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95.  Federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published in Federal Register 84, section 17960, on April 29, 2019 and took effect as of that date.

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

 

Recreational Ocean Salmon Seasons Opening in May

Ocean salmon anglers off the California coast will be able to spend more time on the water this year chasing after Chinook Salmon (also known as King Salmon). Sport fisheries in the Klamath Management Zone will open from late May through early September. Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas will reopen mid-May after a short-term closure and will continue through the end of October. The Monterey management area is open now and remains open through late August.

The 2019 recreational ocean salmon season dates for the California coast are as follows:

  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open May 25 and continue through Sept. 2.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, opened April 13. Fishing closed on April 30, 2019, reopens on May 18 and will continue through Oct. 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 6 and will continue through Aug. 28.

The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Point Arena. In the San Francisco area, the minimum size limit was 24 inches total length through April 30. When this area reopens on May 18 it will be 20 inches total length for the duration of the season. In the Monterey area the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length for the whole season. The daily bag limit is two Chinook Salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of Coho Salmon (also known as Silver Salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.

Ocean salmon season lengths were restricted in certain areas to limit harvest of Sacramento River fall Chinook, the main stock supporting California’s ocean fishery. Under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan, this stock is classified as “overfished” following low returns of spawning adults in recent years. In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Pacific Fishery Management Council made the decision to limit the fishery so that a greater number of adult fish return to the river to spawn this fall.

These season dates and size limit restrictions in combination also serve to minimize impacts of the ocean salmon fishery on ESA-listed Sacramento River winter Chinook and California Coastal Chinook stocks, as required by federal law.

Ocean salmon regulations in state waters automatically conform to federal regulations using the process described in the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.95. Federal regulations for ocean salmon were published in Federal Register 84, section 19729 on May 6, 2019, and were effective as of that date.

Public notification of any in-season change is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline. Before engaging in any fishing activity for ocean salmon, please check one of the following resources for the most up-to-date information:

  • CDFW website, www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon
  • National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Hotline, (800) 662-9825
  • CDFW Ocean Salmon Hotline, (707) 576-3429

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Media Contacts:
Kandice Morgenstern, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2879
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (916) 323-1478

 

Recreational Pacific Halibut Fishery Opens May 1

The 2019 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open Wednesday, May 1 and remain open until Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2019 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 39,000 pounds – about 8,000 pounds greater than the 2018 quota.

Pacific halibut have become a popular target species for north coast anglers in recent years, with some fish tipping the scales in excess of 80 pounds.

Since 2014, the California sport fishery has been subject to closed periods during the season to slow catches and spread fishing opportunities out over more months, but with the higher quota amount for 2019, the periodic closures aren’t necessary this year. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) conducted an online survey in February to collect input on preferred 2019 season dates.  More than 200 responses were received during the two weeks the survey was available.

The season dates are expected to continue to meet the goal of providing as much opportunity throughout the season while ensuring the quota is attained. The open dates are not guaranteed days, and the season could be closed early if it is determined that projected catches will exceed the California quota.

Again this year, field staff will be stationed at public launch ramps and charter boats landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sportfish. If the catch is expected to reach or exceed the quota prior to Oct. 31, a closure date will be determined and the public will be notified.

The public can follow the progress of catch through the season on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, which will be updated weekly. Up-to-date information can also be obtained by calling the National Marine Fisheries Service Halibut Hotline at (800) 662-9825 or the CDFW Recreational Groundfish Regulations Hotline at (831) 649-2801.

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