Question: Are there temporary fishing licenses in California, like one-day permits? (Bill)
Answer: Yes! There are one-day, two-day and 10-day fishing licenses available in California. The one-day license (which costs $16.20) and two-day license ($25.10) are valid for both residents and non-residents. The 10-day license, which is for non-resident anglers only, costs $49.94, the same price as an annual fishing license for California residents age 16 and older. Any of these licenses can be purchased at a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) office, through an authorized license sales office or online through CDFW’s Automated License Data System.
As a quick side note, beware of unauthorized imposter sites, which may tack on extra fees! It has recently come to our attention that several websites are improperly and illegally charging customers extra fees for online fishing and hunting license purchases. Please check the URL of the site you are visiting to determine if is an official CDFW website: www.wildlife.ca.gov or www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales. Also note that Internet search engines may not always list the official CDFW website as the top result.
If you buy a short-term fishing license, our hope is that that you’ll fall in love with the sport and come back to buy an annual license to enjoy it year-round. Another thought is to pick up your rod and reel on Free Fishing Day. California has two of them, and the first one is this coming Saturday, July 6! While no license is required, please remember that all fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect.
Any time you head out to fish, remember to check out our free, easy, online tools to make your experience more enjoyable. Our updated Fishing Guide can help you locate fish planting locations, historically good locations to fish, locations of Marine Protected Areas and quagga-mussel infested waters.
Looking for our current fish planting schedule? That’s online too! It’s updated in real time by CDFW hatchery staff. Fish plants are subject to change depending on roads, weather, water and other operational conditions.
If you have questions about a specific water, please feel free to reach out to your local CDFW regional office during regular business hours. The friendly staff there would be happy to assist you. Happy fishing!
Supplemental fishing regulations?
Question: Why does CDFW publish supplemental fishing regulations? I would think that one set of regulations would be enough! (Irv)
Answer: This year’s Supplemental Sport Fishing booklet was recently published on CDFW’s website, and limited printed copies are available at CDFW offices and through license sales agents. The booklet contains updated quotas, and bag and possession limits that are determined at the annual Pacific Fisheries Management Council meeting in April of each year. The Council manages fisheries for 119 species including salmon and groundfish. The Fish and Game Commission, which regulates sport fishing in California, adopts the recommendations for species such as Central Valley and Klamath salmon and groundfish during their May teleconference each year. That date would be too late to release the Freshwater booklet (which contains regulations that are effective March 1). Without the Supplement, anglers would not know the current year quotas and bag and possession limits for the species covered in the booklet.
“Helping” orphaned wildlife
Question: My sister has told me about two separate incidents where young people have found young wild animals – a coyote pup and a gosling of undetermined species – and taken them home. I’m curious if you have guidelines for people who find themselves in this situation, i.e. coming across young wildlife that appear to be without parents. Are there regulations governing the keeping of wild young? I always direct people to contact their local wildlife rescue organization. (Terriann)
Answer: CDFW strongly discourages anyone from picking up young wildlife that they perceive to be orphaned. Often, the mother is foraging for food and will return. You are correct to refer these individuals to the nearest wildlife rehabilitation organization. A list of authorized wildlife rehabilitators can be found on CDFW’s website. These organizations operate under an agreement with CDFW to take in and treat injured, sick or orphaned wildlife.
It is NOT legal for an untrained, unauthorized private citizen to possess naturally occurring, wild mammals or birds. For more information, please visit CDFW’s Keep Me Wild program webpage.
Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at