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Fish and Game Q&A: Is it legal to put fish on another angler's hook?

June 4, 2009 |  4:09 pm

A father teaching his young daughter about the joys of fishing at a California Fishing Passport event in Mammoth last summer.

In support of the California Department of Fish and Game and its effort to keep hunters and anglers informed, Outposts, on Thursday afternoon or Friday, posts marine biologist Carrie Wilson's weekly Q&A column:

Question: I have a question about putting fish on another person's hook. My son-in-law takes his daughter (my granddaughter) fishing but she does not have much luck. Is it legal for me to place fish on her hook while I am under water scuba diving? We will be camping this summer and this would allow her to experience the thrill of catching a fish when she goes out fishing with her dad. I would even purchase fresh fish at the market to place on her hook while fishing, if needed. Only her father and I would know. Please advise. Thanks. (Brian K.)

Answer: I applaud your creativity and desire to ensure your granddaughter will enjoy her fishing experience! This sounds pretty difficult though and perhaps dangerous depending on how hard she may yank her line, but it is not illegal.

Whether you are fishing in fresh water or saltwater, any fish you put on her hook must either be dead or have been caught in the same waters where you are fishing. It must also be a legal species to take, meet any minimum size limits and it must count against your own bag limit for the day. If you plan to be fishing in freshwater, you may not catch fish by hand to put on her hook.

You may purchase fresh fish at the market to place on her hook but you cannot transport them alive.

One thing I'd suggest is to check out the California Fishing Passport program online at www.dfg.ca.gov/fishingpassport. This Department of Fish and Game (DFG) program is designed to promote sport fishing throughout the state and may be ideal for helping your granddaughter develop a greater interest in fishing. Hopefully, it will also motivate her to want to do more fishing with you and her dad. If you have any questions after viewing the Web site, please contact DFG at Passport@dfg.ca.gov.

Question: Are rattlesnakes legal to keep as pets in California? I've browsed the Internet and have not found the answer online. Thanks. (Cyle W.)

Answer: California Fish and Game law does not prohibit keeping live rattlesnakes you have taken from the wild. However, the laws do prohibit buying or selling live rattlesnakes and also prohibit importing or exporting rattlesnakes.

According to DFG Capt. (ret.) Phil Nelms, you do not need a license to take rattlesnakes from the wild, but there is a limit of two per species. California has five different species of rattlesnakes: Crotalus viridis (Western rattlesnake), Crotalus atrox (Western diamondback rattlesnake), Crotalus ruber (Red diamondback rattlesnake), Crotalus scutulatus (Mojave rattlesnake), Crotalus mitchelli (Speckled rattlesnake) and Crotalus cerastes (Sidewinder). The California regulations regarding reptiles and amphibians can be found in Sections 5.05 and 5.60 of the 2009 Freshwater Fishing Regulations booklet or online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.

Be aware, however, that local city or county ordinances may prohibit keeping live animals that may be dangerous. I suggest you check with the local law enforcement officials for any restrictions in your area.

Question: I got a citation from a DFG game warden recently for fishing without a license. I had a fishing pole but I didn't have a line in the water. Can the game warden really give me a ticket when I wasn't literally fishing? (Janice B.)

Answer: Yes, you can get a ticket for fishing without a license if a warden made previous observations of you fishing, even if you don’t have a line in the water when the warden approaches you.

If you feel you were cited unfairly, you have every right to look at how the law is written and take your case to court. Fish and Game Code Section 7145 discusses license requirements, Section 15 defines "angling" and Section 86 defines "take."

Question: I'd like to buy fallow deer to raise on my property for hunting purposes. Is this legal? (Darrell W., Paso Robles)

Answer: No. You may not possess, transport, import, propagate, transfer, buy or sell any live fallow deer for the purpose of hunting. This is also true for many other species. Fallow deer may be raised for venison to be sold to markets provided you have the proper permits from DFG. However, native deer or their meat may never be sold (FGC Sections 2124 and 4301).

Photo: A father teaching his young daughter about the joys of fishing at a California Fishing Passport program event in Mammoth last summer. Credit: Carrie Wilson

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