Tag Archives: licenses

Anglers Encouraged to Return Sturgeon Tags for Recognition and Monetary Reward

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its annual sturgeon tagging program, catching and releasing nearly 400 sturgeon in Bay Area waters.  Many of the tags are eligible for a reward if returned to CDFW by anglers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The tagging operation is used to help manage California’s green and white sturgeon populations. Information received from anglers about tagged sturgeon complements the details submitted on sturgeon fishing report cards as well as data from party boats, creel surveys, surveys for juvenile sturgeon and various special studies.

CDFW offers monetary rewards for the return of certain marked tags. The tags are smaller than a dime and located behind the rear dorsal fin. Anglers who return a tag will also receive a certificate of appreciation from CDFW. Additional information and the form for returning tags can be found on the CDFW website.

“Protecting the white sturgeon fishery and the sturgeon populations requires research, collaboration, adaptive management and enforcement,” said CDFW Program Manager Marty Gingras. “Angler participation is a vital component of the information-gathering process – we rely on them to help us complete the loop.”

Working in Suisun and San Pablo bays from August through October, crews collected information on 18 green sturgeon, tagged 190 white sturgeon, and collected information on 169 white sturgeon that were either too small or too large to tag. In an ongoing collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and a new collaboration with San Francisco Estuary Institute, USFWS staff was also on board CDFW boats to collect various tissues as part of an age-and-growth study and a study monitoring selenium concentrations in white sturgeon.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin river system is the southernmost spawning grounds for both white sturgeon and green sturgeon.  Sturgeon in California can live more than 100 years and weigh over 500 pounds, but anglers most often catch sturgeon 3-4 feet in length.  The sturgeon fishery in California was once closed for decades due to overfishing. Today, commercial harvest of white sturgeon is not allowed, and recreational harvest of white sturgeon is regulated by size limit, daily bag limit and annual bag limit. Green sturgeon is a threatened species and neither commercial nor recreational harvest of those fish is allowed.

Serialized tags are provided with each sturgeon fishing report card to help enforce the bag limits. To enable law enforcement to cross-reference the tag with a particular card, anglers must permanently fix a tag to each kept white sturgeon until the fish is processed for consumption.

Anglers are required to return their 2015 sturgeon fishing report cards by Jan. 31, 2016.

Media Contact:
Marty Gingras, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (209) 234-3486
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offer reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. CDFW also offers several special hunting opportunities for eligible veterans.

Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to fish or hunt in California is eligible.  Disabled veterans can now prequalify to purchase reduced-fee disabled veteran licenses via e-mail.  Once a disabled veteran has pre-qualified, they can purchase low-cost disabled veteran sport fishing and/or hunting licenses, each year, anywhere licenses are sold.  Information on how to prequalify for a disabled veteran license is available on the sport fishing licenses web page, under the “Free and Reduced Fee” tab.

The 2015 Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing License and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $6.95 each when purchased at CDFW license counters.

Special hunting blinds have been constructed to be accessible to people with mobility impairments at some state wildlife areas and ecological reserves, and at some National Wildlife Refuges.

CDFW will try to accommodate any qualified hunter with a disability, but they must have drawn a tag for that hunt. If you have any questions or requests regarding accessibility, please contact CDFW’s Accessibility Coordinator Melissa Carlin at (916) 651-1214.

“If a person with a disability draws a tag, they should contact the hunt coordinator directly so we can accommodate them for that hunt, or find them another opportunity,” said Karen Fothergill, an environmental scientist with CDFW’s Wildlife Branch. “This process allows for more flexibility for offering opportunity that best works for an individual.”

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.

Certification from the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs and proof of completion of a hunter education course is required at the time of application. The first license must be purchased from a CDFW License Sales Office. Subsequent licenses may be purchased from any license agent or online, and at that time, a copy of a previous year’s California Disabled Veteran’s Hunting License will serve as identification.

Fish and Game Code, section 7150, authorizes CDFW to issue Reduced-Fee Sport Fishing Licenses to anglers who meet specific criteria. Additional validations or cards are required for certain species and areas and must be purchased at the regular fee.

The 2016 reduced-fee fishing license applications and reduced-fee hunting license applications are now available online. All 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.

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

Media Contact:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

CDFW Simplifies Steelhead Report and Restoration Card

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) has simplified its 2016 steelhead report card.

The new card is shorter and easier to fill out. It provides anglers with clear and concise reporting instructions, consolidates location codes and better defines the data being collected.

Major changes to the 2016 card include:

  • A reduction of location codes from 73 to 20
  • The addition of a “did not fish” check box above the reporting section
  • Simplification of report card language
  • Clarification of reporting instructions

The consolidation of location codes benefits the angler by making it easier to identify which location code they are fishing in, while the simplification of language helps anglers more easily determine what data must be recorded and how to comply with the reporting requirement.

The steelhead data collected by anglers is important and aids CDFW in making management decisions, and is used to determine catch trends for specific watersheds. Revenue generated by report card sales is dedicated to steelhead restoration projects which contribute to the conservation and recovery of steelhead populations and benefit both the species and anglers.

Reporting online is preferred as it increases the accuracy of data and reduces data entry and administrative costs, and allows for more funds to be used for statewide steelhead restoration.

For more information regarding the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card Program and how data is utilized, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/steelheadcard. To enter your steelhead report card information online, please login to the CDFW online license sales and service system at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Online-Sales.

Media Contacts:
Farhat Bajjaliya, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 327-8855
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

Free Fishing Day is Saturday, Sept. 5

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites all Californians to celebrate the end of summer by going fishing. Sept. 5 is the second of two Free Fishing Days in 2015, when people can try their hand at fishing without having to buy a sport fishing license. Free Fishing Days are also a great opportunity for licensed anglers to introduce non-angling friends and children to fishing and the outdoors.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 abalone, steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems.

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 a sport fishing license. This year, the Free Fishing Days were set for the Saturdays near Independence Day and Labor Day (this year, July 4 and Sept. 5).

Free Fishing Days provide a low-cost way to give fishing a try. Some CDFW regions offer Fishing in the City, a program where children can learn to fish in major metropolitan areas. Fishing in the City and Free Fishing Day clinics are designed to educate novice anglers about fishing ethics, fish habits, effective methods for catching fish and fishing tackle. Anglers can even learn how to clean and prepare fish for eating.

Anglers should check the rules and regulations for the waters they plan to fish because wildlife officers will be on duty to enforce them. For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944
Kyle Murphy, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (916) 323-5556

Hunting and Fishing Licenses Make Fine Father’s Day Gifts

Father and son with fishIf you’re looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift this year, consider giving the gift of California’s outdoors. Giving a hunting or fishing license is a wonderful way to show your appreciation of Dad or Grandpa and to make wonderful memories for many months to come.

California is the third-largest state in the nation and about half of its land is publicly owned. That translates into millions of acres of public property accessible to hunters. Fishing opportunities abound in the more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs and 80 major rivers in California. The state also features more than 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of native fish and shellfish species.

“The gift of fishing and hunting licenses provides endless opportunities to enjoy California’s unmatched wild places with family and friends,” said Charlton H. Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Hunting and fishing licenses are both available for purchase from more than 1,400 license agents throughout the state. Licenses can also be purchased online and printed via CDFW’s website. If a fishing license purchaser does not have all of the licensee’s personal data, a sport fishing gift license voucher will be issued. Hunting license gift vouchers are not available. The fishing license voucher can be redeemed at any license agent location but cannot be redeemed online. To purchase a license online, find a local sales agent or a CDFW sales office, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing.

A 2015-2016 California resident hunting license costs $47.01 and is valid from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. A 2015 California resident sport fishing license is $47.01 and is valid Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015.


Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Communications, (916) 651-7824

Big Game Drawing Deadline Approaches

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding hunters that the deadline to apply for the 2015 Big Game Drawing is June 2, 2015. Applicants must complete the sales transaction before midnight on June 2, 2015. Applications for elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, premium deer tags and fundraising drawing tags may be submitted at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office, by telephone sales or online.

The following resources are available to assist hunters in applying for the big game drawing:

  • Proposed seasons, tag drawing application instructions and drawing statistics can be found in the 2015 California Big Game Hunting Digest. The book is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.
  • Final 2015 big-game tag quotas can be found on the respective species web page located under the “Hunting” tab at www.wildlife.ca.gov.
  • To find a license agent near you or to purchase items online, visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/.
  • To submit drawing applications by telephone, contact the telephone sales line at (800) 565-1458.

 Junior Hunting License Changes

Junior Hunting License applicants must now be under 18 years of age as of July 1 of the license year. Applicants with a Junior Hunting License will be eligible to apply for the apprentice hunt tags.

Harvest Reporting Now Mandatory

Beginning with the 2015 deer season, all deer hunters will be required to report their deer tags to CDFW. Any person who is issued a deer tag must submit a report for the tag after the hunt, even if they did not hunt, or if they did not harvest a deer. Imposition of the $20 non-reporting fee has been delayed by the Fish and Game Commission until the 2016 season. Failure to report 2016 results will require payment of the non-reporting fee prior to purchasing tags and tag applications in 2017.

Hunters have two methods to submit their harvest reports:

  • Online – Submit an online report for each deer tag you are issued, at www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales/. When you report online, you receive instant confirmation that your report has been received and accepted.
  • By Mail – Any person who does not report their deer tag online must return the report card portion of each deer tag they are issued to: CDFW – Wildlife Branch, PO Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94299-0002.

D6 Deer Tag Quota Raised

The D6 zone deer tag is classified as a premium deer tag for the 2015 hunting season. Hunters interested in the D6 zone deer tag will need to apply through the annual Big Game Drawing. The D6 zone deer tag quota has been increased to 10,000 tags for the 2015 hunting season, an increase of 4,000 tags from 2014.

Fundraising Random Drawing Opportunities

CDFW’s fundraising random drawing tags are open to any resident or nonresident 12 years of age or older as of July 1, 2015. The cost to enter the drawings is $5.97 per entry, per hunt. Applicants may apply as many times as the wish. The sales transaction must also be completed before midnight on June 2, 2015. Applicants do not need a valid hunting license to apply, but a license must be purchased prior to issuing the tag. The tag will be issued at no additional cost.

The fundraising random drawing tags consist of the open zone deer tag, the multiple zone elk tag and the northeastern California pronghorn antelope tag. This year the program will not include a bighorn sheep tag drawing.

Open Zone Deer Tag

An open zone deer tag allows the hunter to hunt during the authorized season dates of any hunt, using the specific method and meeting any special conditions of the tag for that hunt.

Multiple Zone Elk Tag

The fundraising random drawing elk tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the following zones: Northwestern, Northeastern, Marble Mountains, Siskiyou and La Panza. Hunters may use any legal method of take. All three subspecies of elk may be hunted, although only one elk may be harvested. The hunt dates open one week prior to the earliest season in that zone and run through the end of the regular season.

Northeastern California Pronghorn Antelope Tag

The fundraising random drawing antelope tag allows the hunter to hunt in any of the northeastern antelope zones (Mount Dome, Clear Lake, Likely Tables, Lassen, Big Valley and Surprise Valley) with any legal method. The hunt dates are from Aug. 1 to Sept. 20, 2015.

Media Contacts:
Lai Saechao, CDFW Big Game Hunting Program, (916) 928-7416
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

2015 Big Game Digest Now Available Online

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has posted the 2015 Big Game Digest to its website. The 64-page document can be downloaded online for free at www.dfg.ca.gov/publications/digest/.

2015 California Big Game Hunting DigestThe popular guide includes season, quota and harvest information for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, as well as tag drawing information, bear and wild pig hunting information and big game hunting regulations for the 2015-16 seasons.

Printed copies of the Big Game Digest will automatically be mailed in late April to hunters who purchased a big game tag or applied for the Big Game Drawing in California in 2014.

“As printing costs continue to rise, more funding for big game conservation will be available if the department reduces printing and mailing costs,” said Dan Yparraguirre, CDFW’s Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Making the Big Game Digest available online also means that hunters can access this information sooner.”

Hunting licenses, tags and drawing applications will be available on April 15. Purchases may be made through the Online License Service, at any CDFW License Sales Office or License Agent, or by telephone at (800) 565-1458. The deadline to apply for the Big Game Drawing is midnight on June 2.


Media Contact:
Stuart Itoga, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3642
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

CDFW Offers Basic Hunter Education Class in Bishop

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement officers from Inyo and Mono counties will be teaching a basic hunter Today's Hunter booklet and regulations bookletseducation class for people who would like to complete the requirements to purchase a first-time hunting license. The class will be held on Tuesday, March 13, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Bishop Fire Training Center, 960 Poleta Road in Bishop.

Successful completion of an online study course, available at www.huntercourse.com/usa/california/, is a prerequisite for the four-hour class. The online course can be completed at any time before March 13. Upon completion, the online program will generate a printable voucher that must be presented at the March 13 course. The online course may take up to six hours to complete, but does not need to be finished in one sitting. A fee of $24.95 will be charged only when a student successfully answers a series of multiple-choice questions and prints the voucher.

The four-hour follow-up class on March 13 will consist of two hours of review, one hour of gun-handling practice and one hour to take the final hunter education test. Those interested in taking the class in Bishop should reserve a seat by calling CDFW Warden Shane Dishion at (760) 920-7593.

A list of follow-up classes in other counties can be found on the CDFW website at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/classes-home-study.aspx.

In a continued effort to reduce firearm accidents, the State of California requires all first-time resident hunters, regardless of age, to complete hunter education training or pass a comprehensive equivalency test before purchasing a hunting license. CDFW conducts training throughout the state. Each year approximately 30,000 students complete the required training to earn their Hunter Education Certificate.

Media Contacts:
Warden Shane Dishion, CDFW Law Enforcement, (760) 920-7593

Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW Asks Trout Anglers to be Mindful During Drought

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking trout anglers to be mindful about fishing in the state’s waters and the effects their catch can have on the populations. As the summer progresses, the effects of the current drought on California’s wildlife continue to mount. Aquatic wildlife are especially vulnerable as streamflows decrease and instream water temperatures increase, exposing cold water species such as trout to exceptionally hostile habitat conditions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Because of the lower water levels and accompanying higher water temperatures in many California streams, many trout populations are experiencing added stress, which can affect their growth and survival. Many of California’s wild trout anglers have adopted catch-and-release fishing as their preferred fishing practice. Careful handling of a trout after being caught with artificial lures or flies allows for the possibility of trout being caught additional times.

However, catch-and-release fishing during afternoon and early evening in streams and lakes that have elevated water temperatures may increase stress, hinder survival and increase hooking mortality for released trout.

“Please be mindful of the conditions when you are fishing,” said California’s Wild Trout Program Leader, Roger Bloom. “Afternoon and evening water temperatures may be too warm to ensure the trout being released will survive the added stress of hooking, fighting and sustained exposure to the warmer water that builds up during hot days in summer and fall.”

Some of the state’s finest trout streams have special angling regulations that encourage or require catch-and-release fishing. In waters that may experience elevated daytime water temperatures (greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit) the best opportunity for anglers to fish would be during the early morning hours after the warm water has cooled overnight and before the heat of the day increases water temperatures.

These low water conditions and warmer water temperatures are happening across the state—from Central Valley rivers flowing below the large foothill reservoirs to mountain streams in Southern California and in both east and west slope Sierra Nevada streams.

“Enjoy California’s outstanding trout fishing and help us to keep wild trout thriving by using good judgment,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief, Stafford Lehr. “Fish earlier and stop earlier in the day during these hot summer days ahead.”

Protective measures for catch-and-release fishing during the drought include:

  • Avoiding fishing during periods when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (likely afternoon to late evening)
  • Playing hooked trout quickly and avoiding extensive handling of fish
  • Keeping fish fully submerged in water during the release
  • Utilizing a thermometer and checking water temperatures every 15 minutes when temperatures exceed 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Stopping angling when captured fish show signs of labored recovery or mortality
  • Utilizing barbless hooks to help facilitate a quick release

Although other states have used temperature triggers to close recreational fisheries, California does not currently have a legal mechanism in place to accomplish that. Historically, CDFW has requested voluntary actions by anglers to avoid catch-and-release fishing in waters like Eagle Lake and the East Walker River during periods of elevated water temperatures. At present there are local angling groups in Truckee encouraging anglers to participate in a volunteer effort to avoid fishing in the afternoon and evening.

As we move through these extreme conditions, CDFW is asking anglers to help protect our state’s native and wild trout resources. Anglers interested in researching local conditions prior to a trip should contact local tackle shops, check online fishing reports or contact a local CDFW regional office. Anglers should also consider using a hand-held or boat-mounted thermometer to assess water temperatures while fishing.

Media Contact:
Roger Bloom, CDFW Heritage and Wild Trout Program, (916) 464-6355
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944


Yolo County Jury Convicts Sturgeon Poachers

A Yolo County jury convicted a repeat sturgeon poacher and his accomplice of multiple felonies and poaching charges stemming from a 2010 poaching investigation. They were convicted June 19, with sentencing scheduled for Aug. 1.

In Feb. 2010, Nikolay Krasnodemskiy, 41, of North Highlands, and his partner Petr Dyachishin, 54, of Citrus Heights, were observed catching and retaining oversized sturgeon and processing their eggs into caviar. An extensive investigation conducted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers from the Delta Bay Enhanced Enforcement Project and the Special Operations Unit proved the two were selling the sturgeon and their eggs on the black market for personal profit. Sale of sturgeon, their parts, or any fish caught with a recreational fishing license is illegal.

Krasnodemskiy and Dyachishin were each convicted of two felonies related to conspiracy, in addition to multiple counts of commercial sales of sturgeon, possession of oversized sturgeon, failure to tag sturgeon and possession of sturgeon over the annual limit.

California’s sturgeon population is on the edge of sustaining a recreational fishery. As a result, sturgeon anglers must adhere to strict size, limit and tagging requirements to help wildlife officers distinguish between honest anglers and poachers, and to help CDFW biologists maintain adequate scientific data on the fishery and protect the larger breeding adults.

“Taking these poachers out of business will help ensure a healthy sturgeon population into the future,” said CDFW Captain David Bess, who participated in the investigation.

Nikolay Krasnodemskiy was the subject of multiple sturgeon poaching investigations including Operation Delta Beluga II in 2005, which culminated in a conviction and revocation of his fishing license. Soon after his fishing license was reinstated in 2009, he became the subject of another sturgeon poaching investigation. By Feb. 2010, wildlife officers had observed him continue his sturgeon poaching activities, including commercial sales.

Wildlife officers will seek a permanent revocation of Krasnodemskiy’s fishing license and forfeiture of all fishing gear seized during the investigation.

CDFW appreciates legitimate sturgeon anglers for their patience with sturgeon tagging and recordkeeping requirements, which were integral to making the case as well as the long-term management of the sturgeon fishery. CDFW also thanks the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for their dedication and successful prosecution of the case.

Media Contact:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095