Updated Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations – CDFW News


The new freshwater sport fishing regulations, which come into effect on March 1, 2021, aim to simplify and streamline laws regulating inland fishing while maintaining and protecting California’s fisheries. The updated set of regulations were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in October 2020. It was the largest inland sport fishing regulatory set in the history of the Commission.

“The underlying objectives were to reduce the complexity of inland sport fishing regulations, increase regulatory consistency and remove regulations that are no longer biologically justifiable,” said Roger Bloom, director of the inland fisheries program of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

The main changes include:

  • Separate regulations for mainland trout (non-anadromous waters) from those for rainbow trout and salmon (anadromous waters) to facilitate understanding of catch and possession limits,
  • Replacing district regulations with separate statewide regulations for trout, and
  • Standardize and consolidate “special fishing” regulations.

The CDFW hosted a series of community meetings in 2018 and 2019 across the state to present and publicly discuss proposed changes to simplify the regulation of inland sport fishing statewide. The CDFW’s public proposals and recommendations were then considered at the Wildlife Committee meetings in January and March 2020.

Anglers should consider the changes as they affect most of the inland trout waters in California. Regulatory updates are available at both Wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland and Wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.


Media contacts:
Ken Paglia, CDFW Communications, (916) 825-7120


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