Start or Renew the Hobby of Fishing on the First of Two Free Fishing Days in California
by California Department of Fish & Wildlife
The first of California’s two Free Fishing Days in 2022 is coming up over the Independence Day holiday weekend.
On Free Fishing Days – which land on Saturday, July 2 and Saturday, September 3, 2022 – the public can fish throughout the Golden State without a fishing license. For those new to fishing, this is an opportunity to explore a rewarding and exciting new hobby. For licensed anglers, this is an opportunity to introduce or reintroduce someone else to the benefits of becoming an angler. Free Fishing Days are also a time for people who used to fish to come back and reconnect to the activity.
Only basic fishing equipment and knowledge is needed to get started fishing. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offers introductory fishing videos you can watch leading up to July 2.
- Tackle Box Basics (Video): You’ll learn about the different types of tackle and how to match the “when, where and what species” of various types of tackle.
- How to Become a California Angler (Video): You’ll hear about California’s diverse fish species and where and how to find them.
- A Beginner's Guide to Trout Fishing (Video): You’ll gain an introduction to cold freshwater trout fishing, including differentiating species, spawning patterns and best catch techniques for California waters.
CDFW’s Fishing Guide can be a great resource for all anglers. Look for a new body of water to fish, review recent planting locations or even refresh your knowledge of fishing regulations. This useful tool can be accessed from your mobile phone while you are fishing!
California’s vastness, varied geography and rich biodiversity, provide anglers with a plethora of fishing locations and species to catch. Those interested in fishing in California’s lakes, streams and rivers can find information about inland fishing locations and species on the CDFW website. Information about ocean fishing, including spots along California beaches, is also available on the website.
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 Days. Anglers must have the appropriate report card when fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state, and salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River systems. Anglers can review the sport fishing regulationsonline or use CDFW’s mobile website to view freshwater limits and regulations specific to a body of water.
“California anglers are incredibly fortunate to have such a wide variety of fish species and fishing opportunities to choose from on July 2,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We ask anglers to pick their fishing destinations carefully given the drought conditions impacting our waters. Please try and avoid waters visibly suffering from the impacts of drought. Specifically, where warm and low water levels may be stressing fish populations.”
Anglers planning to fish inland waters through catch and release can help reduce fish stress levels and increase survival rates by voluntarily adopting the following practices:
- Assess the water for extreme drought conditions before committing to fish there
- Fish before the day heats up
- Handle fish as little as possible
- Keep fish in the water when removing hooks
We hope you take advantage of California’s Free Fishing Days. If you get “hooked” on fishing, be sure to purchase an annual resident sport fishinglicense. The revenue generated from license sales help conserve our fish populations and habitats while supporting California's longstanding angling opportunities for today and future generations.
An annual resident sport fishing license in California currently costs $54, while a one-day fishing license costs $17.54.
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