Four California Organizations Among 2020 George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund Grantees

vamos a pescar logoFour California non-profit organizations have been awarded funds to provide fishing programs for Hispanic youth and families.

A total of $33,383 was awarded by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) through the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund to support projects in California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will match the grant funds through the Sport Fish Restoration Program, effectively bringing the total amount of funding to $66,767.

To be eligible for funding, proposals were required to encourage family participation (both genders and multiple generations), appeal to participants who live in metropolitan communities, be ethnically inclusive (open to families of all races and ethnicities), and provide hands-on experiences and conservation activities.

Latinos are California’s largest ethnic population, with almost 15 million people of Hispanic heritage. Yet only a fraction of California’s anglers are Hispanic. CDFW and RBFF are finding new ways to educate and engage Hispanic communities in fishing and boating activities. These grants were made available for programs that support this cause.

Projects approved for funding include:

  • Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation. The foundation will partner with local and state organizations, cities, and communities in the Los Angeles area to provide undeserved and minority youth with opportunities to learn the fundamentals of fishing, emphasizing good sportsmanship, conservation education, marine sciences, safety, community outreach, family togetherness and fun.
  • Outdoor Outreach. In partnership with Latino Outdoors and Encuentros Leadership, Outdoor Outreach will provide multi-generational fishing and kayaking outings, reaching Latino/Hispanic youth and family members in San Diego. The program will connect families to recurring positive experiences and bonding opportunities through fishing and kayaking, and inspire the next generation of conservation leaders through cultural connection to the environment.
  • Sycamore Junior High School (Anaheim Union High School District Foundation). Students at Sycamore Junior High School will explore fish biology, learn about fish ecosystems, and how to become active stewards of their local resources and habitats. They will also work hands-on with a variety of fishing gear, learning knot tying and rigging for a variety of fishing situations. Students will then go deep sea fishing in the local waters of Southern California.
  • Reel Guppy Outdoors. By offering family-oriented fishing activities in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, Reel Guppy Outdoors will instill an appreciation for California’s natural resources by developing teamwork, confidence, self-motivation, an understanding of ecosystems and responsible angling for sustainable fisheries.

Grant funding was made available through the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund, which supports RBFF’s Hispanic initiative, Vamos A Pescar™. The Education Fund allows state agencies to provide sub-grants to local 501(c)(3) organizations with project ideas that support efforts to keep future generations educated about the joys of fishing and boating, and the importance of conservation. With the help of donations from companies and organizations, the Education Fund has continued to grow and expand nationally.

###

Media Contacts:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

boy and dad fishing

Aug. 31 is Free Fishing Day in California

Don’t miss the last chance to fish for free this year! Free Fishing Day in California is being offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Saturday, Aug. 31, during Labor Day weekend.

“Free Fishing Day is a great opportunity for experienced anglers to share their love of the sport with someone who’s never tried it,” said 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 one. If you would like to fish the rest of the year, please go to CDFW’s website for information about purchasing a license.

All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect on Free Fishing Day. Every angler must also 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 of all skill levels can get ideas of where to fish by using CDFW’s online Fishing Guide.

Before you head out to your favorite lake or stream, please review the freshwater fishing regulations or ocean fishing regulations  online or use CDFW’s mobile web site to view limits and regulations specific to a body of water.

###

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

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

sturgeon tag

Angling for a Big Sturgeon? Keep an Eye Out for a Reward Tag!

Tags, Report Cards are Important Data Collection Tools for Biologists

Every year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) scientists rely on help from California anglers in order to monitor and manage our White Sturgeon population. White sturgeon anglers who are already familiar with the requirement to purchase an annual Sturgeon Report Card know that by Jan. 31 of the following year, they must return their card (by mail) or report their card information (online). Anglers must report even if no sturgeon were caught or if the angler did not go sturgeon fishing. Card data are extremely valuable, providing fisheries scientists with information about seasonal and geographic catch and harvest along with a measure of fishing effort.

But anglers should also be on the lookout for White Sturgeon carrying a disc tag. Every year between August and October, CDFW fisheries biologists conduct a survey of White Sturgeon. Fish are captured by net, counted and measured. A small plastic disc tag is affixed to White Sturgeon that are between approximately 3-6 feet in length. The tag is placed at the base of the dorsal fin (see photo), and the sturgeon is then released. Information collected from returned disc tags allows CDFW fisheries staff to produce more accurate population metrics.

CDFW currently offers rewards of $50, $100 or $150 per disc tag, although older fish with a $20 tag are sometimes caught. Tags must be physically returned to CDFW to be counted and the reward claimed; photographs cannot be accepted. However, the tags will be returned to the angler upon request. Anglers will also receive a commendation card with information about the fish, along with the specified reward amount.

Anglers can submit reward disc tags by filling out CDFW’s fish tag recovery form and mailing it to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Sportfish Unit
2109 Arch-Airport Road, Suite 100
Stockton, CA 95206

Please make a note on the form if you would like the tag returned to you.

Anglers can also report Sturgeon Report Card information online or return the cards by mail to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Sturgeon Fishing Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento CA 94244-2090

CDFW reminds all anglers that no White Sturgeon larger than 68 inches, and no Green Sturgeon of any size, should be removed from the water. CDFW appreciates anglers’ assistance in managing California’s White Sturgeon population.

###

Media Contacts:
Jason DuBois, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (209) 234-3668

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

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.

###

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

 

crappie overlimit

Plentiful Fishing for Crappie Proves Tempting for Poachers

Wildlife Officers Keeping a Close Eye Out for Overlimits

Law enforcement officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have made several recent gross overlimit cases on crappie anglers in the San Joaquin Valley, prompting increased patrols for anglers targeting those fish. Crappie is a sport fish common throughout California and most of North America. The bag limit for crappie is 25 fish per day.

In one case, a wildlife officer contacted three anglers in Madera County in the early morning hours of April 12 as they pulled their boat from a local lake. They were in combined possession of 404 crappie. Subtracting out a legal limit of 25 fish each, they were in possession of a combined overlimit of 329 crappie. The three subjects are charged with a gross overlimit of crappie, possession of more than three times the bag limit and failure to show catch upon the demand of a wildlife officer. If convicted, they each face a possible jail term, fines that will potentially range between $5,000 and $40,000, forfeiture of seized fishing equipment and suspension of their fishing privileges,

In total, wildlife officers issued a total of 10 crappie overlimit citations in the last week for 636 crappie in excess of the bag limit.

“We are pleased to see excellent conditions for crappie fishing right now and many honest anglers are catching a limit,” said CDFW Assistant Chief John Baker, who oversees the Central Enforcement District out of Fresno. “These gross overlimit cases are a prime example of poachers taking advantage of good conditions and depleting our state’s limited resources. This behavior should outrage the honest anglers who abide by the law.”

Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.

###

Media Contacts:
Capt. Danny Stevenson, CDFW Law Enforcement, (559) 967-4511
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 651-6692