Angler casting a line on river

Sept. 5 is Free Fishing Day in California

The last chance of the year to fish for free arrives over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Free Fishing Day is being offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on Saturday, Sept. 5.

“Free Fishing Day is the perfect chance to see what so many Californians already have discovered: That fishing can be a great escape in difficult times and does wonders to invigorate physical health and restore mental well-being,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham.

While no fishing license is required on the Sept. 5 Free Fishing Day, 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 (wildlife.ca.gov/regulations) or use CDFW’s mobile website to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water (https://map.dfg.ca.gov/sportfishingregs).

A basic annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $51.02, while a one-day fishing license costs $16.46. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians are rediscovering the joys of fishing and its restorative effects. California has issued more annual, resident sport fishing licenses so far in 2020 than the state issued throughout all of 2019.

Fishing can be a safe outdoor activity that allows for physical distancing. CDFW asks all anglers to adhere to all site-specific rules and regulations. Before heading to a public area or fishing destination, please check to see if any safeguard or restrictions have been instituted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For expert anglers, Free Fishing Day is a perfect time to introduce newcomers to the sport. For novice anglers without a mentor to guide them, CDFW has developed a new R3 web page for those looking to learn more about fishing, hunting and wild food in California. Aspiring anglers will find a collection of fishing information, instructional materials, tutorials and other useful links on the web page.

CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year – typically around the Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends – when it’s legal to fish without any license.

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Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

CDFW Warns of Continued Fraudulent License Sales Operations

If you are in the market for a California fishing or hunting license (or any related products, such as hunting tags), please ensure that you are making your purchase from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) or an approved vendor.

Several unauthorized online websites are continuing to improperly charge customers extra fees for online fishing and hunting license purchases, and may be collecting sensitive personal information as part of their unauthorized transactions.

California hunting and fishing licenses may properly be purchased in only one of four ways:

Because CDFW’s license sales offices and some independent license sales agent offices have been temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, there has been a surge in online sales over the summer months. Unscrupulous website operators and scammers are taking advantage of increased virtual traffic, and the public should take extra precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to a scam.

Since June 2019, six websites offering unauthorized license sales have been taken down at CDFW’s behest, and an additional two websites are in the process of being disabled.

The ALDS, which is CDFW’s exclusive means of online license sales, was launched in 2011. ALDS can be accessed via CDFW’s website or by clicking the link that is frequently provided in official communications from the department. When making an online purchase, please check the URL of the site you are visiting to ensure you are on the official CDFW website (wildlife.ca.gov) or the ALDS website (www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales). These are the only CDFW-affiliated links for hunting and fishing license sales.

Unofficial websites may attempt to represent CDFW and/or contain information about hunting and fishing licenses, and Internet search engines may not always list the official CDFW website as the top result.

Please be cautious when providing personal information to any website. While authorized purchases made through independent license sales agents and ALDS are subject to an additional 5 percent handling fee, the fraudulent sales websites offer products for sale with “shipping and handling fees” that are much higher than 5 percent of the base purchase price. To date, it appears that the fraudulent activity has been limited to charging customers unauthorized fees. Licenses that have been mailed to customers after unauthorized transactions may be valid; however, CDFW cannot guarantee that this is or will be true in all cases.

If you believe you may have been defrauded by an unauthorized website or would like to check the validity of a previous purchase, please provide us with information about your experience at ReportFraud@wildlife.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Stephen Adams, CDFW Information Systems Branch, (916) 323-1456
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 804-1714

CDFW Closes License Sales Counters, Visitors Centers to Help Slow Spread of COVID-19

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is temporarily closing areas of high public use including visitor centers and license counters to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

While many business functions will continue during this time, some may be temporarily modified. Before heading to a CDFW facility, please contact the regional headquarters office to determine if that facility is open.

Information on purchasing licenses, permits, tags and other entitlements, can be found on the CDFW website.

Outdoor areas will remain open and available for the public to enjoy. CDFW is responsible for over one million acres of public lands that will remain open. These lands include Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves that provide an opportunity to recreate and explore the rich diversity of fish, wildlife and habitats that California has to offer. CDFW recommends that all visitors follow guidance for social distancing (of at least 6 feet) when visiting our public lands. To explore the outdoor opportunities on CDFW public lands, please visit wildlife.ca.gov/Lands.

As the situation continues to change, please check with your local public health agency and adhere to guidance they provide. Please stay healthy and safe.

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Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

 

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

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