Angler holding north coast salmon

Fishing Report Cards Due Soon

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers that Jan. 31, 2020 is the due date for turning in steelhead, sturgeon and north coast salmon report card data.

Information collected from sport fishing report cards provides CDFW biologists with important data necessary to monitor and manage California’s diverse recreational fisheries, including preparing recommendations for sport fishing seasons and limits that allow for sustainable levels of take. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations.

Anglers are required to return their report cards even if they lost their report card, they did not fish or they did not catch any fish. Cards should be reviewed carefully for accuracy prior to submission.

There are two ways to meet the mandatory angler reporting requirement. Online reporting through the CDFW website is easy, fast and free, and includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted.

Sport fishing report cards may also be returned by mail to the addresses listed below:

  • North Coast Salmon Report Cards
    CDFW – Klamath River Project
    5341 Ericson Way
    Arcata, CA 95521-9269
  • Steelhead Report Cards
    CDFW – Steelhead Report Card
    P.O. Box 944209
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
  • Sturgeon Report Cards
    CDFW – Sturgeon Report Card
    P.O. Box 944209
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

The Jan. 31, 2020 deadline does not apply to spiny lobster report cards. Spiny lobster report cards are due by Apr. 30, 2020, following the last day of spiny lobster season on March 18.

Please note that license sales agents cannot accept report cards. More information about report cards is available at wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

Media Contacts:
Xao Yang, CDFW License and Revenue Branch, (916) 928-5841

Tim Daly, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Offers Vamos A Pescar™ Grants to Promote Fishing Among California Hispanic Communities

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting grant applications for fishing programs, classes and activities that educate and engage Hispanic communities. This grant program is part of CDFW’s ongoing angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) effort to increase fishing participation statewide.

To be eligible for funding, programs must be:

  • Ethnically inclusive: Events will be open to families of all races/ethnicities with bilingual Spanish-English instruction, materials and outreach.
  • Family-focused: Program will encourage participation across multiple generations and genders.
  • Metro-centric: Program will encourage focus in California metro areas.
  • Focused on multiple opportunities: Program will provide multiple opportunities for the same audience to participate in fishing activities.
  • Program should promote good stewardship toward the state’s aquatic resources and include information on angler funded (i.e. Sport Fish Restoration Act) conservation projects.

The funds are made available from the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund. The fund supports the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Hispanic initiative, Vamos A Pescar™. To further the reach and facilitate partnerships at the local level, funds are provided for state agencies to match and sub grant to local 501(c)(3) organizations. With the help of donations from companies and organizations, this fund has continued to grow and expand nationally to keep future generations educated about the joys of fishing and boating and the importance of conservation.

Interested 501 (c)(3) organizations should review the RBFF George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™  Grant Guidelines, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife blank grant agreement template and then complete both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife grant application and the RBFF George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™  application. Completed application packets containing both applications should be sent via email to jennifer.benedet@wildlife.ca.gov no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

Proposals will be ranked by CDFW staff and submitted to RBFF for review by their advisory board. The advisory board will choose the final grant recipients by Jan. 17, 2020 and CDFW will notify recipients soon thereafter. Final decisions on the program are subject to the availability of state matching funds.

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Media Contact:
Jen Benedet, CDFW R3 Program, (916) 903-9270

US Navy veteran angler on the Trinity River

CDFW Offers Special Opportunities and Reduced-Fee Licenses for Disabled Veterans and Recovering Service Members

Service-related injuries need not keep veterans from enjoying wildlife and the great outdoors. America’s disabled and recovering veterans get a break on the price of sport fishing and hunting licenses and are provided some special opportunities in California.

Reduced-fee sport fishing and hunting licenses are available to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt or fish in California is eligible. The 2019 Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing License and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $7.47 when purchased at CDFW license counters, or $7.82 when purchased from an authorized license agent.

Hunters and anglers may apply for reduced-fee disabled veteran licenses by mail or in person at any CDFW license sales office, or submit the required documentation to the CDFW License and Revenue Branch to prequalify for disabled veteran licenses. After an applicant receives notification from CDFW that their customer record has been updated, they will be able to purchase low-cost disabled veteran sport fishing and hunting license anywhere licenses are sold.

Reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses are available at the same prices for recovering service members, defined as a member of the National Guard, or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation or therapy and is in an outpatient status while recovering from a serious injury or illness related to the member’s military service.

Details on how to apply for these licenses can be found on CDFW’s website.

Special hunting blinds have been constructed to be accessible to individuals with mobility impairments at some state wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges. More information, including a list of areas with waterfowl hunting opportunities for mobility impaired hunters is available on the CDFW’s website.

CDFW will attempt to accommodate any qualified hunter with a disability, but they must have drawn a tag or reservation for that hunt. Hunters with a disability who are drawn for a hunt should contact the hunt coordinator directly so that CDFW staff can accommodate them for that hunt or find them another opportunity. If you have additional questions or requests regarding accessibility, please contact CDFW’s EEO Office at (916) 651-9315 or (916) 653-9089.

CDFW also works with military installations on wildlife management and provides tags for those installations to issue to military personnel for deer and tule elk hunting opportunities.

Reduced-fee sport fishing license applications for 2020 will be available on Nov. 15. California sport fishing licenses are valid Jan. 1 through Dec. 31 each year, and make excellent holiday gifts for veterans. Hunting licenses are valid July 1 through June 30. Additional validations tags, and cards are required for certain species and areas and must be purchased at the regular fee.

Fishing and hunting regulations and more information about licenses are available on the CDFW website.

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

November 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 catered 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 onsite). 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 — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Hunting Opportunities. Wild pig, waterfowl, turkey, dove and quail hunts are available through the SHARE program. An $11.88 non-refundable application fee 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 guided tours, which run October through February. 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. To register or for more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/3/crane-tour.

Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). The 90-minute walking tour covers slightly more than a half mile through this premier birding spot that highlights migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. This land is part of the CDFW Lands Pass Program and associated fee-for-use requirement. There is no additional cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

1 — Last Day of Recreational Crab Trap Ban in Ocean Waters, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

1 — First Day of No Depth Limit for Recreational Boat-Based Groundfish Fishing, California-Oregon Stateline to Point Arena. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — First Day of Recreational Dungeness Crab Season, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

2 — Scaup Season Opens in the Colorado River Zone (extends through Jan. 26). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

2 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D12. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D3–D7, D17, D19. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

4Nimbus Hatchery Fish Ladder Opens, 10:30 a.m., Nimbus Hatchery, 2001 Nimbus Road, Rancho Cordova (95670). The opening of the fish ladder signals the start of the spawning season for Chinook salmon on the American River.  Throughout the fall, the public can view the ladder and the spawning operations at the Nimbus Hatchery Visitor Center. The hatchery is open daily, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekends, free of charge. For more information, please contact Laura Drath at (916) 358-2884 or laura.drath@wildlife.ca.gov or visit www.facebook.com/NimbusHatchery.

4 — CDFW Conservation Lecture Series, 1 to 3 p.m., “CNDDB Looks at 40: The Past, Present, and Future of the California Natural Diversity Database Program,” presented by Misty Nelson, CDFW. CNDDB Lead Scientist Misty Nelson will present an overview of the rich history of the California Natural Diversity Database program, highlighting milestones and accomplishments from the past 40 years. She will also examine some of the challenges associated with managing data for the most biodiverse state in the U.S. and will discuss upcoming changes and opportunities to keep the program relevant and regarded for decades to come. Attendance is free. To register or learn more, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/lectures.

5 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, time to be determined, Natural Resources Building, 12th Floor Conference Room, Room 1206, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019.

6Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE) Classroom Aquarium Education Program (CAEP) Teacher Training, 4 to 8 p.m., Humboldt County Office of Education ANNEX Boardroom, 901 Myrtle Ave., Eureka (95501). Any teacher who wants to participate in CAEP and/or is co-teaching with another and will be sharing the CAEP experience must attend this training. If you have participated before, but it has been more than three years, and/or you did not participate in the training held in 2017, you will need to attend this training. A light dinner will be served. For more information, please contact Beth Chaton at (707) 445-7179 or at bchaton@HCOE.org. Register at https://my.hcoe.net/event/classroom-aquarium-education-program

6 — Canada Goose Season Opens in the North Coast Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — Scaup Season Opens in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Balance of State Zones (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

7 — White Goose Season Opens in the Imperial County Special Management Area (extends through Jan. 31). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

8 — Brant Season Opens in the Northern Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 14). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Aquatic Wild workshop, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). A one-day workshop for K-6th grade teachers which dives into the Aquatic Wild curriculum through hands-on activities. Aquatic Wild Curriculum supports the State Science Standards, emphasizes outdoor learning and connects to other academic disciplines. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/new-aquatic-wild-teacher-workshop.

9 — Stanislaus River Salmon Festival, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Knights Ferry Recreation Area, 17968 Covered Bridge Rd., Knights Ferry (95361). Free, family-friendly festival with hands on activities for kids. Come out and see the Stanislaus River Salmon and meet people working to make the river a better place for fish. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/srsfest or call (209) 403-1046.

9 — Brant Season Opens in the Balance of State Brant Special Management Area (extends through Dec. 15). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

9 — Pheasant, Fall Wild Turkey and Late Season Dove OpenersGeneral Pheasant Season Opens Statewide and Extends through Dec. 22; Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 8; and Late Season Dove Hunting Opens Statewide and Extends Through Dec. 23.  For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

10 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D11, D13–D15, X9c. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

12Free Online Cannabis Permitting Workshop, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDFW, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the State Water Resources Control Board are hosting a free online commercial cannabis cultivation permitting workshop. The workshop is ideal for new and existing commercial cannabis cultivation. The online workshop is limited to 200 participants, so early registration is recommended. For registration details, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/cannabis/events.

15 — First Day of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season, South of Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (scheduled). For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine/calendar.

15 — 2020 Sport Fishing Licenses Available. The 2020 sport fishing licenses become available at various sites. For more information or to purchase a license online, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

19 — Conservation and Mitigation Banking Program Stakeholder Meeting for Southern California, 1 to 4 p.m., USFWS Conference Room, 2177 Salk Ave., Carlsbad (92008). A public meeting providing an opportunity for attendees to discuss their experience using the current Bank Enabling Instrument and Conservation Easement templates, and to discuss other bank topics in a forum with the agencies’ banking staff and decision makers. For more information contact mitbank@wildlife.ca.gov, or visit www.spd.usace.army.mil/missions/regulatory/public-notices-and-references/article/1955249/public-meetings-to-discuss-mitigation-banking-templates.

21 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). The public is welcome. For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

24 — General Deer Season Closes in Zones D12, D16. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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

North Coast All-Depth Recreational Fishing to Begin Nov. 1

Ever wanted to catch a widow rockfish? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is pleased to announce a new recreational fishing opportunity for groundfish north of Point Arena (38° 57.5’ N. lat.) from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.

For two decades, recreational fishing for groundfish species in deep waters off the California coast has been completely off limits, driven by the need to protect certain stocks that have been overfished. This marks the first time anglers off the northern California coast will be allowed to fish for groundfish without needing to abide by fishing depth limit regulations.

The all-depth fishery will take place only in November and December 2019, and only north of Point Arena. The newly open areas will allow anglers to target groundfish species in the midwater column, such as widow and yellowtail rockfish, as well as species found on the bottom. There are no special gear requirements, though unless otherwise specified, regulations require anglers to use not more than two hooks and one line to target groundfish. All other season dates, bag limits, size limits and other special area closures still apply.

“We’re hoping there will be calm weather windows on the north coast, so anglers can get out and try their luck with a different variety of rockfish and other groundfish species that are found in deeper depths these next two months,” said CDFW Federal Fisheries Program Manager Marci Yaremko.

While the all-depth fishery has been proposed since 2017, encounters with yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) in 2017 and 2018 exceeded the federal limit. In-season regulatory action in those years was needed to restrict depth limits in most areas of the state and also prevented the all-depth fishery from occurring. Following the outcome of the most recent yelloweye stock assessment indicating the population is rebuilding much sooner than expected, the federal limit increased in 2019, allowing the all-depth fishery this year.

California’s rugged north coast offers many opportunities to fish for groundfish from vessels. Launch and harbor facilities for private vessels are available from Fort Bragg to Crescent City but may vary by port and time of year. For those wishing to take a fishing trip on a party or charter vessel, there are multiple businesses offering fishing out of Fort Bragg, Shelter Cove, Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City. An internet search for a specific port and “rockfish fishing” can quickly provide business contact information, scheduling details and cost of trips and gear rentals.

Anglers who take advantage of the deeper depths during November and December may encounter yelloweye rockfish. CDFW continues to recommend anglers avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur. If encountered, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water using best fish handling practices, and anglers should use a descending device in order to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter yelloweye rockfish to change fishing locations to prevent catch of the species.

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

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