What’s the Limit When Fishing Catch and Release?

Angler with a wild Klamath River Steelhead that was soon released. (DFG Photo)

Question: If I fish for trout using a barbless lure and catch five during the day but release them all, is that still considered my limit for the day?

Answer: Fish caught and immediately released do not count toward your daily bag limit unless the fish dies or is not released in a viable condition. If fish are not released, they are counted toward your limit whether you keep them or give them to someone else. Fish that are maintained and later released may also count toward the daily bag limit if they show signs of stress or other indicators they can not swim off in a viable condition. Keep in mind that any fish with a zero bag limit may not be retained or possessed at any time, so these fish must be released immediately no matter what condition they are in upon landing.

Can I sell a bear skin rug made in another state?
Question:I legally shot a black bear last year in California and then took it to a taxidermist in Nevada who was to create a bear skin rug for me. Somehow the taxidermist mistakenly gave my bear away to another customer and so then gave me a different bear rug to replace it. This wasn’t a good solution for me though because I don’t want this bear skin from an animal I didn’t take. Can I legally sell it since it was taken in another state? (Anonymous)

Answer: No. Any and all sales of bears and bear parts (even your bear skin rug) are prohibited in California (Fish and Game Code, section 4758). According to DFG Bear Program Manager Marc Kenyon, bears can be tanned, preserved or utilized strictly for personal use. The prohibition against the sale of bears and bear parts extends beyond our local California black bears to include all species of bears, regardless of whether they were taken in California or imported into the state. This is one of the few Fish and Game violations that are prosecuted as felonies.

Crabbing over two days
Question:If I go out crabbing on my boat and get a limit of 10 Dungeness crabs before midnight, can I then go out after midnight till morning and catch another limit? I figure since technically it is two different days, this is possible. I really want to make sure that I meet all DFG regulations. (Frank M.)

Answer: Only one limit of crab may be in your possession at any time, and there are no exceptions. If you’re going to fish two days and hope to take two limits total, you can fish one day but then must go back to shore and give those 10 crabs to another person who doesn’t have any of their own. Then, the following day you could go out again to take a limit for yourself. Whoever receives your gift of crab doesn’t need to have a fishing license, but if they don’t possess a license they cannot help you by doing anything related to taking crab (baiting jars, setting or pulling traps, taking crab from the trap, etc.).

Is non-lead shot required for hunting crows in the condor zone?
Question: When hunting for crows in the condor zone, is non-lead shot required? I say yes per the regs, but a lot of people say no. (L. Ruiz)

Answer: You are correct. Non-lead shot is required when taking American crows in the condor zone (California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 475(f)).

Free fishing licenses for blind or visually impaired?
Question: Is it true that the DFG issues free fishing licenses to adults who are blind or visually impaired? If so, how do I apply for one? (Tom J.)

Answer: Yes, it is true. Free five-year fishing licenses are available to visually, physically and developmentally disabled people who meet the criteria and can present certification from a physician. Applications are available only at DFG license sales offices, on our website or through the mail. If you meet the criteria for a license and want to apply by mail, visit our website at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/sportfishingfreereduced.html for information and applications. To apply by e-mail, write to us at LRB@dfg.ca.gov and include your name, mailing address and the type of application (reduced-fee, free one-year or free five-year) needed. For a list of DFG license sales offices, go to www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/officelocation.html.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

One response to “What’s the Limit When Fishing Catch and Release?

  1. californiaoutdoors

    Yes, as long as you are just assisting and not controlling the rod or reeling the fish in for her, you will not need a license or second rod stamp.

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