No license required: fish for free in California over Labor Day weekend
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 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 in a press release.
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 at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations or use CDFW’s mobile website to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water at 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, the release states. CDFW asks all anglers to adhere to all site-specific rules and regulations. Before heading to a public area or fishing destination, 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.