Anglers who wish to fish on the inland waters of California or on the ocean waters off of California must have the appropriate fishing license and stamps, no matter if they are residents of California or if they are just visiting this beautiful state. According to the California Department of Fish and Game, anyone who is 16 years-old or older must purchase a Sport Fishing License in order to take fish, crustaceans, amphibians, mollusks or reptiles from these waters.
Residents of California can choose from a Resident Sport Fishing License, a 1-Day Sport Fishing License or a 2-Day Sport Fishing License. A Resident Sport Fishing License allows residents to fish in the inland waters as well as the ocean waters off the coast of California. Some fishermen may find that they are required to acquire additional report cards or stamps as well. The 1-Day Sport Fishing License is the same as the Sport Fishing License, but differs in that it is only for one day of fishing and the angler who uses it is exempt from having to have the Ocean Enhancement Stamp and the Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp. The 2-Day Sport Fishing License is the same as the 1-Day Sport Fishing License, but is good for 2 consecutive day of fishing in California.
Non-residents of California have several fishing licenses to choose from as well. They have the Non-Resident Sport Fishing License, the 1-Day Sport Fishing License and the 2-Day Sport Fishing License. All these fishing licenses are the same for non-residents as they are for residents, with the price of the licenses being the only difference. But, non-residents also have a 10-Day Non-resident Sport Fishing License that allows the non-resident to fish for 10 consecutive days in the inland waters as well as the ocean waters off the coast of California. Anglers who choose the 10-Day Sport Fishing License may also have to purchase additional stamps or report cards.
There are many stamps that residents and non-resident anglers must be aware of and must purchase if the stamps pertain to where they are fishing or what they are fishing for. The Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp is, according to the California Department of Fish and Game, “required for anglers to fish in the following waters: the tidal waters of San Francisco Bay and Delta, the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta, The Sacramento River below the Keswick Dam, the Feather River below Oroville Dam, the Yuba River below Englebright Dam, the American River below Nimbus Dam, the Cosumnes River wests of Highway 99, the Mokelumne River belo Camanche Dam, the Calaveras River below New Hogan Dam, the San Joaquin River below Mendota Dam, the Stanislaus River below Goodwin Dam, the Tuolumne River below LaGrange Dam and the Merced River below Crocker-Huffman Dam.” The Ocean Enhancement Stamp is necessary for anglers to fish the ocean waters in Santa Barbara, just south of Point Arguello. A Second Rod Stamp is required if the angler uses two rods or lines on any California inland waters unless the inland water is designated for artificial lures or barbless hooks only. The Colorado River Stamp is necessary for an angler to legally fish from any boat or floating device along the Colorado River or on any adjacent waters that create the California-Arizona border.
The report cards that must be obtained are the Abalone Report Card, Sturgeon Fishing Report Card, the Klamath-Trinity Salmon Report Card, the Steelhead Report Card and the Spiny Lobster Report Card. The Abalone Report Card is necessary for any angler who takes abalone from, according to the California Department of Fish and Game, “the ocean waters north of the center of the mouth of San Francisco Bay.” This report card is required for all anglers, even those who are not required to have a Sport Fishing License or even on free fishing days. The Sturgeon Fishing Report Card must be acquired by all anglers who take sturgeon. The Klamath-Trinity Salmon Report Card is a requirement for all anglers who take salmon in the Klamath-Trinity River System. The Steelhead Report Card is a requirement for all anglers who fish for steelhead in California inland waters. The Spiny Lobster Report Card is a requirement for any angler who takes a spiny lobster.