Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Snakes

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

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.)

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Rattlesnakes, and fresh rattlesnake stories, come out of the woodwork


An item I posted about my encounter last week with a rattlesnake received only four comments from others who have seen rattlers this hiking season, but I've also received e-mails and phone calls.

Karin Klein, an L.A. Times colleague, e-mailed to say that she and her daughter were hiking in Coal Canyon within Chino Hills State Park when they encountered a rattlesnake lying under a bush alongside the trail. "Unfortunately, my 11-year-old daughter was with me AND I didn't bring a walking stick AND this was a weird snake," she wrote.

Klein explained that the snake coiled and made small striking motions but would not slither away and continued rattling. She and her daughter, who was behind her, backed away in opposite directions. When Klein asked her daughter to walk toward her, the snake resumed rattling, preventing her from uniting with her mother.

"This happened like five times over," Klein wrote. "I had to get her over to my side of the snake for us to leave the park. Eventually, I had her walk in a loop off-trail, on the opposite side from the snake, stepping very carefully in case there were more snakes in the brush."

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Hikers beware: Rattlesnakes lurking in trailside shadows

Rattlesnake coils in trailside shadow at Charmlee Wilderness Park.

If you're hiking at Charmlee Wilderness Park in the Santa Monicas this week and find a pair of brown New Balance trail shoes, they're mine. I leaped from them Friday afternoon the moment  the viper in the photograph coiled and rattled like a maraca when I passed too closely.

I could easily have been bitten. I violated many of the Department of Fish and Game's rules against hiking during rattlesnake season: I was alone without cellphone service, and was not wearing ankle-high boots or long pants.

But I discovered that I possess springlike reflexes; sideways broad-jumping is a specialty.

The Southern Pacific rattlesnake had been resting at the shadowy base of a small tree on the northern trail above the nature center, after the trail loops and begins to descend. It was almost imperceptible but the camera's flash shed enough light to capture an image.

It's not a very good photo but it's proof that rattlesnake season has arrived. Please watch your step.

-- Pete Thomas

A young California towhee surveys its surroundings.

Photos: (top) Rattlesnake coils in trailside shadow at Charmlee Wilderness Park. Credit: Pete Thomas / Los Angeles Times

(bottom) A young California towhee surveys its surroundings. Credit: Pete Thomas / Los Angeles Times


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.