December 2020 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 — Nimbus Fish Hatchery Free Public Webinars, 9 to 9:45 a.m., Dec. 3, 10 and 17 via Zoom. These free public webinars will be broadcast live from Nimbus Hatchery staff for all ages to enjoy. Because the Visitor Center is currently closed, we are offering everyone the opportunity to connect with wildlife and our hatchery experts. Information on each webinar and a link to register (required) will be posted to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nimbushatchery. For additional information, please contact stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov or call (916) 358-2884.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Hunting Opportunities. There are still opportunities available for pig, waterfowl and upland game hunting through February. An $11.25 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

Saturdays — Swan Tours, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Yuba County north of Marysville in privately owned rice fields. Led by CDFW naturalists, this is an excursion into a prime Pacific Flyway overwintering grounds. Tours focus on the majestic and ancient tundra swan, but participants are sure to see an assortment of geese, ducks, shorebirds and raptors. Sign up on Eventbrite. Tours have been modified to meet health and safety guidelines. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours or email genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

5 — Weaving Yesterdays: A Live History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. At 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, participants will hear the backstory of a new location around the area. Please visit facebook.com/events/916213552118672 to view the series and find recordings of previous installments.

8 California Wildlife Conservation Board Special Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

9-10 California Fish and Game Commission Meeting, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Dec. 9 and 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 10. 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.

10 — Woven in Time: The Cultural Heritage and Historical Ecology of Elkhorn Slough Virtual Event, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Explore the Elkhorn Slough’s rich history with Stewardship Coordinator Andrea Woolfolk. After the lecture, celebrate with us at a live virtual ribbon cutting for a new historical ecology exhibit. For more information and to view live, please visit facebook.com/events/2519752044989001.

11 — Lower American River Conservancy Program Virtual American River Parkway Tour, 1 to 3 p.m. This virtual tour of the American River Parkway will explore current conditions of the Parkway and highlight current and potential natural and community investment sites. Information will be available at wcb.ca.gov/programs/lower-american-river.

13 — The Ups and Downs of King Tides Virtual Event, 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Witness the highest and lowest tides of the year virtually and find out how scientists use the king tides phenomenon to model sea level rise impacts on California’s coast. This two-part presentation will feature Elkhorn Slough Reserve naturalists speaking from the reserve at the highest tide of the year (8:30 a.m.) and the lowest (4 p.m.). For more information and to view live, please visit facebook.com/events/657171038289554.

16 — Earliest Possible Date for Opening of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery North of the Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (Northern Management Area). After a delay from Dec. 1 due to crab quality, Dec. 16 is the earliest possible date the season could open. However, the opening date may be further delayed in some or all of this area due to elevated marine life entanglement risk or poor meat quality. Should there be additional changes to the season opening date due to entanglement risk, information will be made available at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries and sent out through the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries email listserv. More information on the crab fishery and season updates due to crab quality can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

19 — General Season for Band-tailed Pigeons in the Southern Hunt Zone Opens (extending through Dec. 27). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

27 — Black Bear Season Ends Statewide (or earlier if CDFW determines that 1,700 black bears have been reported taken). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear. Successful hunters must have their tag validated. All hunters are required to submit a report on their bear tag, whether they hunted for bear or not. Tags can be mailed to the address on the tag or reported online at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/customersearch/begin.

28 — Archery Only Pheasant Season Opens (extending through Jan. 24, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

31 — Recreational Groundfish Fishery for Boat-based Anglers Closes. Species include rockfish, cabezon, kelp and rock greenlings, lingcod, 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.

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

Angler casting a line on the water

2021 Fishing Licenses and Related Items Now Available for Sale

New This Year: Anglers Can Choose to Auto-Renew Sport Fishing Licenses

California anglers can now purchase 2021 fishing licenses and related items directly through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) website or authorized license agents. (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, license sales counters at CDFW offices remain temporarily closed to the public.)

The cost of a 2021 annual resident fishing license has been set at $52.66, while a one-day license will cost $17.02.

For the first time, anglers have the option to sign up for auto-renewal of their annual sport fishing licenses, report cards and validations.

“More than a million anglers purchase annual licenses to fish California waters and for many of them, this will be a welcome feature,” said Josh Morgan, chief of CDFW’s License and Revenue Branch. “Signing up for auto-renewal helps ensure that you won’t end up on the water with an expired license.”

Anglers must enroll in the auto-renewal program through CDFW’s online sales website. License agents cannot enroll customers in the auto-renewal program, but customers who make purchases in person from license agents can go online later and enroll themselves.

Not all CDFW products for sale are eligible for auto-renewal at this time, although the feature will be expanded to other items in the future. For more information and a complete list of items available for auto-renewal, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions about auto-renewal on CDFW’s website.

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Media Contact:
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

November 2020 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.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — Nimbus Fish Hatchery Free Public Webinars, 9 to 9:45 a.m., Nov. 5, 12, 19 and 25 via Zoom. These free public webinars will be broadcast live from the Nimbus Fish Hatchery for all ages to enjoy from a safe social distance. Because the Visitor Center is currently closed, we are offering everyone the opportunity to connect with wildlife and our hatchery experts. Information on each webinar and a link to register (required) will be posted to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nimbushatchery. For additional information, please contact stephanie.ambrosia@wildlife.ca.gov  or call (916) 358-2884.

Saturdays — Swan Tours, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Yuba County north of Marysville in privately owned rice fields. Led by CDFW naturalists, this is an excursion into a prime Pacific Flyway overwintering grounds. Tours focus on the majestic and ancient tundra swan, but participants are sure to see an assortment of geese, ducks, shorebirds and raptors. Sign up on Eventbrite. Tours have been modified to meet health and safety guidelines. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/regions/2/swan-tours or email genelle.treaster@wildlife.ca.gov.

1 — First Day of No Depth Limit for Recreational Boat-Based Groundfish Fishing, California-Oregon State Line to Point Arena (through Dec. 31). For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/groundfish-summary.

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

7 — Recreational Dungeness Crab Season Opens Statewide. Health advisory information will be posted at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/crabs.

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

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

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

7 — Weaving Yesterdays: A Live History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. At 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, participants will hear the backstory of a new location around the area. Please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/weaving-yesterdays-a-live-history-series to view the series schedule and find recordings of previous installments. 

7 — Teachers on the Estuary Workshop, 9 to 11:30 a.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The reserve presents a hands-on estuarine science workshop for middle and high school teachers through a combination of virtual lessons and field work. Teachers will learn from reserve scientists, engage in inquiry-based lessons and take home new hands-on activities. For the full workshop schedule and to register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development.

8  Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. Recreational ocean salmon fishing closes statewide. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the National Marine Fisheries Service Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (800) 662-9825.

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

10 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, 9 a.m. 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/meetings/2020.

14 — Fall Wild Turkey Season Opens Statewide (extends through Dec. 13). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — General Pheasant Season Opens Statewide (extends through Dec. 27). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

14 — Late Season Dove Hunting Opens Statewide (extends through Dec. 28). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

15 — 2021 Sport Fishing Licenses Available. The 2021 sport fishing licenses become available at various sites. For more information or to purchase a license online, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.

15 — Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery South of the Sonoma-Mendocino County Line (Central Management Area) Scheduled to Open. The opening date may be delayed in some or all of this area due to elevated marine life entanglement risk or human health concerns from domoic acid. Should there be a change to the season opening date due to entanglement risk, information will be made available at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/whale-safe-fisheries and sent out through the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries email listserv. More information on domoic acid and the crab fishery can be found at wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/crabs.

16 — California Fish and Game Tribal Committee Meeting, 1:30 p.m. 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.

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

18 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., via Microsoft Teams or teleconference. Public comment will be accepted per the agenda. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

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

22 — General Deer Season Closes in Zone D16. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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

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

October 2020 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.

Fire danger is extreme in California currently. Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to check for closures before leaving on any recreational trip.

Various Days — General Bear Season Opens in Select Deer Zones. General bear season opens concurrently with general deer season in the A, B, C, D, X8, X9a, X9b, X10 and X12 deer hunting zones. The general bear season will remain open until Dec. 27, or until CDFW determines that 1,700 bears have been taken. Tooth collection is not required this year, but all hunters must present their bear head and get their tag validated by CDFW personnel. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear.

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

3 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone. For more information about regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.  

3 — Early Canada Goose Season Opens in the Balance of State Waterfowl Zone. For more information about regulations, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl

3 — General Deer Season Opens in Zones D19, X1, X2, X3a, X3b, X4, X5a, X5b, X6a, X6b, X7a and X7b. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — Archery-Only Deer Season Opens in Zone D12. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

3 — Weaving Yesterdays: A Live History Series Virtual Event, 1 to 1:30 p.m. Reserve naturalists and historians will host a Facebook Live series exploring the cultural heritage of Elkhorn Slough. At 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month, participants will hear the backstory of a new location around the area. Please visit www.elkhornslough.org/events/weaving-yesterdays-a-live-history-series to view the series schedule and find recordings of previous installments. 

3-4 — Early season Junior Hunt for Quail in the Mojave National Preserve. For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

4 — Last Day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico Border. All recreational ocean salmon fishing south of Pigeon Point will be closed for the remainder of the year. Recreational ocean salmon fishing remains open between Horse Mountain and Pigeon Point. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon webpage at wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon 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.

7 — California Spiny Lobster Commercial Fishing Season Opens Statewide. For more information regarding lobster and lobster management, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

10 — General Deer Season Opens in Zones D11, D13-15 and D17. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

10 — General Bear Season Opens in the Remaining X Zones. General bear season opens for the remaining deer hunting X zones. The general bear season will remain open until Dec. 27, or until CDFW determines that 1,700 bears have been taken. Tooth collection is not required this year, but all hunters must present their bear head and get their tag validated by CDFW personnel. Current bear hunting regulations, in-season updates and general black bear information can be viewed at wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/bear.  

10 — Early Archery-Only Season for Pheasant Opens (extending through Nov. 1). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

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.

15-30 — iNaturalist Wildlife Scavenger Hunt. Join CDFW’s Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in a biodiversity scavenger hunt in Butte, Yuba or Sutter counties. In celebration of the Virtual Yuba-Sutter Farm Day 2020, this activity offers kids a way to have outdoor fun while learning about the wildlife in their communities. It targets third graders, but all are welcome to join. Participants will follow clues while observing wildlife, capturing images and using iNaturalist to record what they find. Information and guidance will be posted in the iNaturalist “Journal.” Due to the pandemic, this is a self-led activity. Please visit www.inaturalist.org/projects/yuba-sutter-farm-days-2020-gray-lodge-wildllife-area?tab=about for more information and to sign up.

17 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone X9c. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

17 — General Season for All Quail Opens in Zone Q1 and Zone Q3 (extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

17 — General Season for Chukar Opens Statewide (extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

17 — General Season for Snipe Opens Statewide (extending through Jan. 31, 2021). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

23 California Wildlife Conservation Board Lower American River Conservancy Program Advisory Committee Meeting, 1 to 3 p.m., via Microsoft Teams Meeting. For more information, please visit wcb.ca.gov.

23 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Colorado River Waterfowl Zone. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

24 — General Duck and Goose Season Opens in the Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California Waterfowl Zones. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

24 — General Deer Season Opens in Zone D16. For more information, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/deer.

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

Snow geese at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. CDFW photo/Travis VanZant.

California spiny lobster

Recreational Spiny Lobster Season to Open Saturday, Oct. 3

California’s recreational spiny lobster season is set to kick off Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 at 6 a.m., continuing through March 17, 2021. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine biologists are hopeful that this could be a bountiful year for divers and hoop netters.

“Scientists have observed that lobsters produce more offspring in El Niño years, and it takes five to seven years for lobsters to reach legal size,” said CDFW Marine Environmental Scientist Jenny Hofmeister. “There was a major El Niño event that started in 2014, so we might see an abundance of legal-sized bugs this year!”

Season-opening weekend is one of the busiest times on the water, as thousands of lobster divers and hoop netters flock to their favorite lobstering spot. Before heading out to the water, be sure you know all the current regulations.

“No one can attempt to take lobster prior to 6 a.m. on Oct. 3. This includes baiting your hoop net or grabbing lobsters with your hand prior to 6 a.m.,” said CDFW Lt. Eric Kord. “With a sunrise at around 6:45 a.m. on the morning of the opener, that means there will be a very short window of time to legally take lobster in the dark, when most lobsters are out.”

A lobster report card is required for all persons fishing for lobster, and individuals 16 years or older must have a valid sport fishing license and ocean enhancement stamp. When finished fishing, changing locations or changing gear type, you must immediately record the number of lobsters kept from that location. Last season, close to 46,600 lobster trips were reported with an average take of about two lobster kept per trip. This average has remained relatively stable since 2008. Santa Catalina Island and San Diego Bay were popular locations for catching lobster with 15.5 percent and 13.3 percent of the total reported recreational catch, respectively.

Lobster report cards must be returned or submitted online to CDFW at the end of each season by April 30, regardless of whether the card was used, or whether any lobsters were caught. If you fill up a lobster report card, you can report it to CDFW and purchase another. Failure to report catch, or lack thereof, from all lobster report cards by the reporting deadline will result in a nonreporting fee of $21.60 when a lobster report card is purchased next season.

Lobster report cards can be purchased online. Report cards cannot be printed at home, so CDFW recommends allowing 15 days for the report card to arrive in the mail. Alternatively, lobster report cards can be purchased at participating sporting goods stores and other approved license sales agents.

The daily lobster bag and possession limit is seven. Any lobster kept must be at least 3 ¼ inches long measured in a straight line on the midline of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell. Everyone taking lobster must have a measuring device capable of accurately determining legal length. A diagram illustrating this can be found on CDFW’s website.

Lobster can only be taken with hoop nets or by hand. No other device (such as spears or poles) may be used. No more than five hoop nets may be possessed by a person when taking spiny lobster or crab from a boat, and no more than 10 hoop nets may be possessed aboard a vessel, regardless of how many people are onboard. When using hoop nets on piers, jetties or other shore-based structures, only two hoop nets may be used.

When taking lobster, please consult the Ocean Sport Fishing Interactive Web Map for the California coastline to ensure you are not fishing in prohibited waters. “It is extremely important that divers and hoop netters know the location and regulations for each Marine Protected Area (MPA) near where they will be fishing. Unfortunately, every year we issue numerous citations to people taking lobster, both divers and hoop netters alike, for unlawful take in an MPA,” said Lt. Kord.

The complete spiny lobster regulations are contained in the 2020-2021 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, found on CDFW’s website and wherever fishing licenses are sold. A lobster fishing FAQ and other biological information specific to California’s spiny lobster can also be found on the CDFW website.

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Media Contacts:
Tom Mason, CDFW Marine Region, (562) 417-2791
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714