The first of California’s two free fishing days in 2022 takes place over Independence Day weekend.
On Free Fishing Days — landing 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 re-introduce someone else to the benefits of becoming an angler. Free Fishing Days are also a time for former fishermen to come back and reconnect with the activity.
Only basic fishing equipment and knowledge is needed to start fishing. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has introductory fishing videos that you can watch through July 2.
• Basics of the tackle box: you will learn about the different types of tackle and how to match “when, where and what species” of the different types of tackle.
• How to Become a California Angler: You’ll hear about California’s various fish species and where and how to find them.
• Beginner’s Guide to Trout Fishing: Learn about cold freshwater trout fishing, including species differentiation, spawning patterns, and best catching techniques for California waters.
The CDFW Fishing Guide can be a great resource for all anglers. Search for a new body of water to fish, review recent planting locations, or even brush up on your knowledge of fishing regulations. This useful tool can be accessed from your mobile phone while fishing.
California’s vastness, varied geography and rich biodiversity offer anglers a plethora of fishing spots and species to catch. Those interested in fishing California’s lakes, streams, and rivers can find information about inland fishing locations and species on the CDFW website. Sea fishing information, including spots along California beaches, is also available on the website.
All fishing regulations, such as catch and size limits, gear restrictions, bulletin requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect on free fishing days. Anglers must have the proper bulletin when fishing for rainbow trout or sturgeon anywhere in the state, and salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River systems. Anglers can view sport fishing regulations online or use the CDFW mobile website to view freshwater limits and body-specific regulations.
“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 are asking anglers to choose their fishing destinations carefully given the drought conditions affecting our waters. Try to avoid waters visibly affected by the effects of drought. Specifically, where warm, low water levels can stress fish populations.
Anglers considering inland catch-and-release fishing can help reduce fish stress levels and increase survival rates by voluntarily adopting the following practices:
• Assess the water for extreme drought conditions before you commit to fishing there
• Fish before the day heats up
• Handle the fish as little as possible
• Keep fish in water when removing hooks
Outside of free fishing days, an annual California resident sport fishing license currently costs $54, while a one-day fishing license costs $17.54.