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2010 means it's time for a new sportfishing license

December 29, 2009 | 12:45 pm

Davey's Locker sportfishing boat 'Western Pride' makes its way back to Newport Beach at sunset.

The new year on the horizon is a time to reflect and to remember -- that it's time to purchase a new annual sportfishing license.

The California Department of Fish & Game requires that any angler 16 years of age or older possess a sportfishing license.

Licenses may be purchased online, at most sporting goods retailers and at DFG sales offices.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions and answers posted on the DFG website regarding sportfishing license requirements:

Question: How long is an annual sportfishing license valid?

Answer: Licenses are valid for a calendar year (Jan. 1 through Dec. 31).

Q: Do I have to wear my fishing license?

A: Yes. Every person, while engaged in taking any fish, amphibian or reptile, shall display their valid sportfishing license by attaching it to their outer clothing at or above the waistline so that it is plainly visible, except when diving as provided in Fish and Game Code Section 7145 (Section 700, Title 14, of the California Code of Regulations (CCR)

Q: Do I have to buy an annual license if I am only going to fish a couple of days?

A: No. You can purchase a one- or two-day sportfishing license valid for fishing both ocean and freshwater. Nonresidents can also purchase a 10-day nonresident sportfishing license. 

Q: Can I purchase a lifetime fishing license?

A: Yes. California residents may purchase lifetime fishing licenses. You can find information about the lifetime license application process here: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/lifetime/lifetime.html.

Q: Is a fishing license required while fishing from a public fishing pier in ocean waters?

A: No, but it must be a public fishing pier. A Sturgeon Fishing Report Card is required to take sturgeon from a public pier in ocean waters. A Spiny Lobster Report Card is required to take spiny lobster from a public pier in ocean waters.

(a) A sportfishing license is not required to take fish for any purpose other than profit by means of angling from a public pier in the ocean waters of the state. (b) For purposes of this section, ocean waters include, but are not limited to, the open waters adjacent to the ocean and any island; the waters of any open or enclosed bay contiguous to the ocean; the San Francisco and San Pablo bays, with any tidal bay belonging thereto; and any slough or estuary, if found between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Benicia-Martinez Bridge (Fish and Game Code Section 7153).

A public pier is defined in the sportfishing regulations as a publicly owned man-made structure that has the following characteristics: is connected, above the mean high tide, to the main coastline or to the land mass of a named and charted natural island; has unrestricted free access for the general public; and has been built or currently functions for the primary purpose of allowing angling access to ocean waters.

Additionally, publicly owned jetties or breakwaters that are connected to land, as described above, that have free unrestricted access for the general public and whose purpose it is to form the most seaward protective boundary of an ocean harbor are public piers. Jetties, breakwaters, promenades, sea walls, moles, docks, linings, barriers and other structures that are not the most seaward protective boundary of an ocean harbor are not public piers.

Even though licenses and stamps are not required while fishing from a public pier, all other regulations apply (including minimum size, bag limits, seasons and report card requirements).

Q: How do I replace a lost or destroyed current fishing license?

A: You may obtain a duplicate fishing license by surrendering your current year's "Application for Duplicate" to most license agents and all DFG license sales offices and paying the appropriate fee. If you lose your Application for Duplicate or duplicate sportfishing license, you must purchase a new license at full fee. If you lose any additional stamps or cards, they must be purchased again at full fee.

Q: When are this year's free sportfishing days?

A: You can find information about the program including the dates by going to the following DFG website: www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/freefishdays.html.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo:Davey's Locker sportfishing boat Western Pride makes its way back to Newport Beach at sunset. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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