Fisheries Policies

ANADROMOUS RAINBOW TROUT

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  • I. Anadromous rainbow trout, commonly called steelhead, shall be managed to protect and maintain the populations and genetic integrity of all identifiable stocks. Naturally spawned anadromous rainbow trout shall provide the foundation of the Department’s management program.
  • II. Anadromous rainbow trout populations shall be periodically inventoried by the Department, or its agents, as necessary for management and protection of the anadromous rainbow trout stocks and their habitat, as outlined in this policy.
  • Ill. Anadromous rainbow trout streams shall be inventoried for quantity and quality of habitat, including stream flow conditions. Restoration and acquisition plans shall be developed and implemented to safeguard such critical habitats as estuaries, coastal lagoons, and spawning and rearing areas, and to protect or guarantee future instream flows. Steelhead Fishing Report - Restoration Card Program and other funding may be directed to implement the plans.
  • IV. Existing anadromous rainbow trout habitat shall not be diminished further without offsetting mitigation of equal or greater long-term habitat benefits. All available steps shall be taken to prevent loss of habitat, and the Department shall oppose any development or project that will result in irreplaceable losses. Artificial production shall not be considered appropriate mitigation for loss of wild fish or their habitat.
  • V. The Department shall strive to improve habitat conditions, alleviate threats, and renegotiate mitigation requirements at appropriate opportunities to eliminate the need for fish rescue operations. Anadromous rainbow trout rescue will not be considered as mitigation for proposed water development. Only under the following circumstances shall anadromous rainbow trout be rescued:
    • A. When they will be returned to the stream system of origin; and
    • B. When fish can be held until habitat conditions in the place where they were collected improve, or when fish can be immediately released in nearby areas of the same stream and the Department has determined that no adverse impacts would occur to existing salmonid populations; and
    • C. When, in the opinion of the Department, habitat conditions are temporarily inadequate or when conducted pursuant to a permitted in-stream construction or restoration activity.
  • VI. Sport fishing for anadromous rainbow trout shall be encouraged where the Department has determined that angling will not harm existing wild populations. Angling of juveniles shall only be permitted where such angling does not impair adequate returns of adults for sport fishing and spawning. Special angling regulations for naturally spawned anadromous rainbow trout may be necessary when a fishery includes both naturally spawned and hatchery stocks. These regulations shall be consistent with restoration and recovery goals.
  • VII. Domesticated or non-native fish species will not be planted, or fisheries based on them will not be developed or maintained, in drainages of anadromous rainbow trout waters, where, in the opinion of the Department, they may adversely affect native anadromous rainbow trout populations by competing with, preying upon, or hybridizing with them. Exceptions to this policy may be made for stocking drainages that are not part of an anadromous rainbow trout restoration or recovery program.
  • VIII. The Department will continue marking all hatchery anadromous rainbow trout and selective harvest of marked fish will be allowed only where the Department has determined that the harvest will not impair the viability of the population.
  • IX. The Department will continue to investigate stocking of sterile rainbow trout in waters within anadromous rainbow trout drainages, where the Department has determined that stocking reproductively viable rainbow trout may have an adverse effect on the genetic integrity of the anadromous rainbow trout populations. Stocking of sterile rainbow trout in anadromous rainbow trout drainages will not be conducted if the Department determines there may be an adverse affect to existing wild anadromous rainbow trout populations.
  • X. In streams without Department hatcheries, artificial rearing shall be limited to areas where the Department determines it would be beneficial to supplement natural production to re-establish or enhance the depleted wild population. New programs that propose to propagate state- or federally- listed anadromous rainbow trout shall conform to the Department’s guidelines for establishment and operation of recovery hatcheries found in the Recovery Strategy for California Coho Salmon, Appendix H.
  • Xl. The best available scientific information will be used by the Department to assess the anadromous rainbow trout resource and to develop management strategies and recommendations.

(Amended: 06/18/93; 05/09/08)

COMMERCIAL FISHING AND PACKING INDUSTRIES

(Repealed 2/2/2006)

COMMERCIAL USE OF NATIVE REPTILES

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

Proper management of the State's wild reptile resources for commercial use is a challenge due to the relative lack of information about the biology of many California reptiles. Even those species generally thought to be common are often inadequately studied and understood with regard to population abundance, distribution, effects of habitat loss, and basic life history parameters. Given the paucity of data available about the status of some species of reptiles in general, and the impacts of commercial use specifically, requests to add species to Section 43, Title 14, CCR, will be carefully evaluated on an individual basis.

A person who wishes to add or remove a species to the list of reptiles that may be captively bred and sold, must provide information adequate to meet the requirements of Title 14, Article 2.5 (Certified Regulatory Program for Adoption of Regulations), Section 777.8 (b) through (d). The following types of information must accompany the request to the Commission:

  • 1) A review of scientific literature documenting the status of the species in California ,. Status of a species includes range and distribution, demographic data, taxonomy, life history, and existing or potential threats to the species persistence.
  • 2) Analysis of the effects of broodstock collection methods on wild populations.
  • 3) Analysis of the effects on wild reptile populations of released or escaped reptiles bred under this program.
  • 4) Evaluation of the commercial market for the proposed species.

The information will be reviewed by Department of Fish and Game staff and peer-reviewed by independent professional herpetologists. After peer review, the Department will forward all information to the Commission.

Amended: 09/30/05

COMMISSION DESIGNATED WILD TROUT WATERS

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission to:

  • I. Designate certain state waters to be managed exclusively for wild trout. Commission designated wild trout waters should provide a quality experience by providing the angler with an opportunity to fish in aesthetically pleasing and environmentally productive waters with trout populations whose numbers or sizes are largely unaffected by the angling process.
  • Waters designated by the Commission for wild trout management shall meet the following criteria:
    • A. Angler Access:
      • 1. Open for public angling with unrestricted access when of sufficient dimensions to accommodate anglers without overcrowding.
        or
      • 2. Open for public angling with controlled access under a plan approved by the Commission setting forth the number of anglers and the method of distribution.
    • B. Able to support, with appropriate angling regulations, wild trout populations of sufficient magnitude to provide satisfactory trout catches in terms of number or size of fish.
  • II. Wild trout waters shall be managed in accordance with the following stipulations:
    • A. Domestic strains of catchable-sized trout shall not be planted in designated wild trout waters.
    • B. Hatchery-produced trout of suitable wild and semi-wild strains may be planted in designated waters, but only if necessary to supplement natural trout reproduction.
    • C. Habitat protection is of utmost importance for maintenance of wild trout populations. All necessary actions, consistent with State law, shall be taken to prevent adverse impact by land or water development projects affecting designated wild trout waters.
  • III. The Department shall prepare and periodically update a management plan for each water designated as a wild trout water.
  • IV. Certain designated wild trout waters may be further designated by the Commission as "Heritage Trout Waters", to recognize the beauty, diversity, historical significance, and special values of California's native trout. Heritage Trout Waters shall meet the following additional criteria:
    • A. Only waters supporting populations that best exemplify indigenous strains of native trout within their historic drainages may qualify for designation.
    • B. Heritage Trout Waters shall be able to provide anglers with the opportunity to catch native trout consistent with the conservation of the native trout present.
  • V. Recognizing the importance of native trout to California's natural heritage, the Department shall emphasize education and outreach efforts to inform the public about our native trout, their habitats, and the activities for restoration of native trout when implementing the Heritage Trout Program.
    • A. Implement a Heritage Trout Angler Recognition Certificate through which anglers will have the opportunity to have their catches of California native trout recognized by the Commission. The criteria for receiving the formal recognition shall be maintained by the Department's Heritage and Wild Trout Program. To receive a certificate of recognition, anglers shall submit an application with supporting materials to the Department for review.
      The following waters are designated by the Commission as "wild trout waters":
      • 1. American River, North Fork, from Palisade Creek downstream to Iowa Hill Bridge (Placer County).
      • 2. Carson River, East Fork, upstream from confluence with Wolf Creek excluding tributaries (Alpine County).
      • 3. Clavey River, upstream from confluence with Tuolumne River excluding tributaries (Tuolumne County).
      • 4. Fall River, from Pit No. 1 powerhouse intake upstream to origin at Thousand Springs including Spring Creek, but excluding all other tributaries (Shasta County).
      • 5. Feather River, Middle Fork, from Oroville Reservoir upstream to Sloat vehicle bridge, excluding tributaries (Butte and Plumas counties).
      • 6. Hat Creek, from Lake Britton upstream to Hat No. 2 powerhouse (Shasta County).
      • 7. Hot Creek, from Hot Springs upstream to west property line of Hot Creek Ranch (Mono County).
      • 8. Kings River, from Pine Flat Lake upstream to confluence with South and Middle forks excluding tributaries (Fresno County).
      • 9. Kings River, South Fork, from confluence with Middle Fork upstream to western boundary of Kings Canyon National Park excluding tributaries (Fresno County).
      • 10. Merced River, South Fork, from confluence with mainstem Merced River upstream to western boundary of Yosemite National Park excluding tributaries (Mariposa County).
      • 11. Nelson Creek, upstream from confluence with Middle Fork Feather River excluding tributaries (Plumas County).
      • 12. Owens River, from Five Bridges crossing upstream to Pleasant Valley Dam excluding tributaries (Inyo County).
      • 13. Rubicon River, from confluence with Middle Fork American River upstream to Hell Hole Dam excluding tributaries (Placer County).
      • 14. Yellow Creek, from Big Springs downstream to confluence with the North Fork of the Feather River (Plumas County).
      • 15. Cottonwood Creek, upstream from confluence with Little Cottonwood Creek, including tributaries (Inyo County).
      • 16. Klamath River, from Copco Lake to the Oregon border (Siskiyou County).
      • 17. McCloud River, from Lake McCloud Dam downstream to the southern boundary of Section 36, T38N, R3W, M.D.B. & M. (Shasta County).
      • 18. Deep Creek, from confluence with Green Valley Creek downstream to confluence with Willow Creek (San Bernardino County).
      • 19. Middle Fork Stanislaus River, from Beardsley Afterbay Dam to Sand Bar Diversion Dam (Tuolumne County).
      • 20. Truckee River, from confluence with Trout Creek downstream to the Nevada State line (excluding the property owned by the San Francisco Fly Casters Club) (Nevada and Sierra counties).
      • 21. Sespe Creek, a 25-mile section between the Lion Campground and the boundary of the U.S. Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest (Ventura County).
      • 22. East Fork Carson River, from Hangman's Bridge near Markleeville downstream to the Nevada state line (Alpine County).
      • 23. Bear Creek, Bear Valley Dam (impounding Big Bear Lake) downstream to the confluence with the Santa Ana River (San Bernardino County).
      • 24. Lavezolla Creek (Sierra County).
      • 25. Laurel Lake #1 and Laurel Lake #2 (Mono County).
      • 26. Middle Fork San Joaquin River - Northern boundary of the Devils Postpile National Monument downstream to the Lower Falls (3.6 miles); and footbridge just above the confluence with Shadow Creek downstream to the footbridge just above upper Soda Springs Campground (4 miles) (Madera County).
      • 27. South Fork Kern River watershed from its headwaters downstream to the southern boundary of the South Sierra Wilderness (Tulare County).
      • 28. Golden Trout Creek drainage, including tributaries, from confluence with the Kern River upstream to the headwaters (Tulare County).
      • 29. Eagle Lake, north of Susanville (Lassen County).
      • 30. Upper Kern River, from the Forks of the Kern, upstream to Tyndall Creek in Sequoia National Park (Tulare County).
      • 31. Heenan Lake, near Markleeville and Monitor Pass (Alpine County).
      • 32. Upper Truckee River, including tributaries, upstream from the confluence with Showers Creek (El Dorado and Alpine counties).
      • 33. Sacramento River, including tributaries, from Box Canyon Dam downstream to Scarlett Way in Dunsmuir (Siskiyou County) and from the county bridge at Sweetbriar downstream to Lake Shasta (Shasta County).
      • 34. Long Lake ( Plumas County).
      • 35. Piru Creek, including tributaries, upstream of Pyramid Lake ( Ventura and Los Angeles counties).
      • 36. Upper Stony Creek including tributaries, upstream from Mine Camp Campground (Colusa, Glenn, and Lake counties).
      • 37. Lower Honeymoon Lake (Fresno County).
      • 38. Upper East Fork San Gabriel River, including tributaries, upstream from Heaton Flat (Los Angeles County).
      • 39. Royce Lake #2 (Fresno County).
      • 40. Lower Yuba River, from Englebright Dam to the confluence with the Feather River (Yuba and Nevada counties).
      • 41.  Parker Lake (Mono County).
      • 42.  South Fork San Joaquin River and all tributaries from Florence Lake upstream to the boundary of Kings Canyon National Park including the Piute Creek drainage (Fresno County).
      • 43.  Sallie Keyes Lakes (Fresno County).
      • 44. Sacramento River from Keswick Dam downstream to the Red Bluff Diversion Dam (Shasta and Tehama counties).
      • 45. Pauley Creek from the confluence with the Downie River upstream to the headwaters (Sierra County).
      • 46. Caples Creek from the confluence with the Silver Fork American River upstream to Caples Lake Dam (El Dorado and Alpine counties).
      • 47. Putah Creek from Lake Solano upstream to Monticello Dam on Lake Berryessa (Solano and Yolo counties).
      • 48. Lake Solano (Solano and Yolo counties).
      • 49. Milton Reservoir (Nevada and Sierra counties).
      • 50. Gerle Creek Divide Reservoir (El Dorado County).
      • 51. Manzanita Lake (Shasta County).
      • 52. Maggie Lake (Tulare County).
      • 53. Little Kern River drainage, including tributaries, from the confluence with the Kern River upstream to the headwaters (Tulare County).
      • 54. Hilton Lake #1 (Davis Lake) (Mono County).
      • 55. South Fork Smith River, from the confluence with Blackhawk Creek upstream to the Island Lake Trail crossing, including the following tributaries: Buck Creek, Quartz Creek, Eight Mile Creek, Williams Creek, Harrington Creek and Prescott Fork and excluding all other tributaries (Del Norte County).
      The following "wild trout waters" are further designated by the Commission as "heritage trout waters".
      • 1. Clavey River, upstream from confluence with Tuolumne River, excluding tributaries (Tuolumne County).
      • 2. Golden Trout Creek drainage, including tributaries, from confluence with the Kern River upstream to the headwaters (Tulare County).
      • 3. Eagle Lake, north of Susanville (Lassen County).
      • 4. Upper Kern River, from the Forks of the Kern, upstream to Tyndall Creek in Sequoia National Park (Tulare County).
      • 5. Heenan Lake, near Markleeville and Monitor Pass (Alpine County).
      • 6. Upper Truckee River, including tributaries, upstream from the confluence with Showers Creek (El Dorado and Alpine counties).
      • 7. Piru Creek, including tributaries, upstream of Pyramid Lake ( Ventura and Los Angeles counties).
      • 8. Upper Stony Creek including tributaries, upstream from Mine Camp Campground (Colusa, Glenn, and Lake counties).
      • 9. Upper East Fork San Gabriel River, including tributaries, upstream from Heaton Flat (Los Angeles County).
      • 10. Lower Yuba River, from Englebright Dam to the confluence with the Feather River (Yuba and Nevada counties).
      • 11. Little Kern River drainage, including tributaries, from the confluence with the Kern River upstream to the headwaters (Tulare County).
      • South Fork Smith River, from the confluence with Blackhawk Creek upstream to the Island Lake Trail crossing, including the following tributaries: Buck Creek, Quartz Creek, Eight Mile Creek, Williams Creek, Harrington Creek and Prescott Fork and excluding all other tributaries (Del Norte County).

(Amended: 06/22/95; 03/06/97; 11/06/98; 04/02/99; 12/08/00; 04/03/03, 12/12/08, 11/4/09, 10/21/10, 11/17/11, 11/7/12, 11/6/13, 12/03/14, 12/10/15, 10/20/16)

COOPERATIVELY OPERATED REARING PROGRAMS FOR SALMON AND STEELHEAD

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  • I. The State's salmon and steelhead resources may be used to support cooperative rearing programs. Rearing programs may be of two types: (1) those that grow fish for use in accelerating the restoration/rehabilitation of depleted wild populations in underseeded habitat and (2) those that are dedicated solely to growing fish for harvest. The following constraints apply to both types:
    • A. Only those fish surplus to the needs of the Department's programs shall be utilized for such programs and allocation shall be based on past performance and the Department's evaluation of the potential of proposed new programs.
    • B. The suitability and acceptance or rejection of proposed programs shall be determined by the Department, after reviewing a written proposal. A written project and management plan providing for evaluation and covering a period of five years must be evaluated and approved by the Department. Prior to reauthorization the Department must determine that the project is in compliance with the approved plan and continuance of the program is in the best interest of the State's fishery resources.
    • C. Routine care and food costs shall be the financial responsibility of the sponsoring entity. The Department shall provide technical advice and special assistance as appropriate.
    • D. Fish raised in these programs shall not be stocked in, or broodstock captured from, waters where the Department has determined that adverse effects to native fish populations or other aquatic species may result.
  • II. The bulk of the state's salmon and steelhead resources shall be produced naturally. The State's goals of maintaining and increasing natural production take precedence over the goals of cooperatively operated rearing programs.

(Amended 6/18/93)

EMERGING FISHERIES

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It is the policy of the California Fish and Game Commission that:

The following criteria shall be utilized by the Department to determine if a fishery qualifies as an "Emerging Fishery" in accordance with Section 7090, Fish and Game Code:

  • 1. The fishery is not a previously established fishery as determined by criteria set forth in Section 7090(b)(2), Fish and Game Code; and
  • 2. The Director shall have determined that the fishery has recently exhibited trends which will result in an increase in landings, an increase in the number of participants, or which may jeopardize a stable fishery. In making this determination, the Director shall consider, but not be limited to, an actual increase in landings of the species in question; an increase in the number of applications for experimental gear permits received by the Commission for this fishery; an increase in the amount or efficiency of the gear used in the fishery; or any evidence that the existing regulations are not sufficient to insure a stable, sustainable fishery.

(Adopted 10/20/00)

FORAGE SPECIES

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  • I.  For purposes of California fisheries management, forage species are defined as species that contribute significantly to the diets of larger organisms during some part of their life history, thereby transferring energy and nutrients to higher trophic levels in the ecosystem.
  • II.  The Commission recognizes the importance of forage species to the marine ecosystem off California’s coast and envisions management of forage species that: optimizes their ecological, economic and social values; accounts for the benefits rendered by forage species to other species, fisheries, wildlife, and the overall ecosystem; and considers recreational and commercial fishing interests and other economic sectors.
  • III. The Commission intends to provide adequate protection for forage species through management goals that:
    • Are precautionary and utilize the best available science in management decisions using clear and transparent methods;
    • Identify and progressively incorporate Essential Fishery Information (EFI) needed for ecosystem-based management of forage species, including physical factors, oceanographic conditions, the effects of fishing on forage species’ dependent predators, the availability of alternative prey, spatio-temporal foraging hotspots for predators, and existing management, including marine protected areas;
    • Prevent the development of new or expanded forage fisheries until EFI is available and applied to ensure the sustainability of target forage species and protection of its benefits as prey; and
    • Facilitate consistency in the management of forage species, integrate with existing Fishery Management Plans, and encourage cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions and international boundaries in managing forage species.
(Adopted:  11/07/12)

 

GOLDEN TROUT

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

The golden trout, designated as the state fish of California, will be perpetuated and maintained as appropriate to support its designation.

  • I. Certain waters within the high mountainous areas of Madera, Fresno, Inyo, Mono and Tulare counties may be designated by the Department as "Golden Trout Waters of California". Within that area, they shall include, if possible:
    • A. All of the native golden trout streams: and
    • B. Any other stream or lake in which non-native but self-perpetuating wild golden trout form the bulk of the population.
      Within these waters golden trout will be preserved and maintained in as genetically pure a state as possible. Rainbow trout and other species of trout shall not be planted in designated golden trout waters. Barren lakes in this area may be reserved by the Department for future stocking of golden trout.
  • II. A brood stock shall be maintained in lakes set aside for the sole purpose of egg production to provide fingerlings for planting waters.
  • III. Hatchery-reared or wild fingerlings may be used for initial stocking in streams and lakes designated by the Department. In lakes containing other fish populations, the fingerlings will be of such size that a reasonable survival may be expected. Fingerlings may be stocked to maintain populations in lakes. Whenever practicable, the range of golden trout will be extended through wild fish or fingerling plantings in native waters through a recovery plan, or in other waters possessing adequate spawning grounds.
  • IV. The Golden Trout Policy prevails over the general Trout Policy if the two are in conflict.

(Amended 5/14/93)

PLANTING FISH IN YOUTH CAMPS

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

The Department may plant fish in suitable waters at certain youth camps. Such camps must be operated primarily for underprivileged or disabled children or youth, with most costs of supporting a child at camp not paid by the children or their families. The Department shall report in writing annually to the Commission on the program. If a conflict exists between this policy and the salmon and steelhead or trout policies, the latter policies prevail.

(Amended 5/4/04)

SALMON

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  • I. Salmon shall be managed to protect, restore, and maintain the populations and genetic integrity of all identifiable stocks. Naturally spawned salmon shall provide the foundation for the Department’s management program.
  • II. Salmon populations shall be periodically inventoried by the Department, or its agents, as necessary for management and protection of salmon stocks and their habitat, as outlined in this policy.
  • III. Salmon streams shall be inventoried for quantity and quality of habitat, including stream flow conditions. Restoration and acquisition plans shall be developed and implemented to safeguard such critical habitats as estuaries, coastal lagoons, and spawning and rearing areas, and to protect or guarantee future instream flows. Fisheries Restoration grants and other funding may be directed to implement the plans.
  • IV. Existing salmon habitat shall not be diminished further without offsetting the impacts of the lost habitat. All available steps shall be taken to prevent loss of habitat, and the Department shall oppose any development or project that will result in irreplaceable loss of fish. Artificial production shall not be considered appropriate mitigation for loss of wild fish or their habitat.
  • V. The Department shall strive to improve habitat conditions, alleviate threats, and renegotiate mitigation requirements at appropriate opportunities to eliminate the need for fish rescue operations. Salmon rescue will not be considered as mitigation for proposed water development. Only under the following circumstances shall salmon be rescued:
    • A. When they will be returned to the stream system of origin; and
    • B. When fish can be held until habitat conditions in the place where they were collected improve, or when fish can be immediately released in nearby areas of the same stream and the Department has determined that no adverse impacts would occur to existing salmonid populations; and
    • C. When, in the opinion of the Department, habitat conditions are temporarily inadequate or when conducted pursuant to a permitted in-stream construction or restoration activity.
  • VI. Hatchery releases of Chinook salmon in anadromous waters will be externally marked and coded-wire tagged at the current Department standard.
  • Vll. New programs that propose to propagate state-or federally-listed salmon shall conform to the Department’s guidelines for establishment and operation of recovery hatcheries found in the Recovery Strategy for California Coho Salmon, Appendix H. In coastal streams without Department hatcheries, artificial rearing shall be limited to areas where the Department determines it would be beneficial to supplement natural production to re-establish or enhance the depleted wild population. In the Sacramento, American, Feather, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity River systems, hatchery production shall be used to meet established mitigation goals. At the discretion of the Department, excess eggs from non-listed salmon from the State, Federal, or cooperative hatcheries may be used to provide additional fish for the commercial and sport fisheries. Because of potential adverse impacts, all salmon reared from excess eggs that are intended to be released into estuaries, bays, or the ocean for fisheries enhancement must be marked so that potential impacts and efficacy of the project can be evaluated. Specifically, the projects must provide to the Department, within five years of the adoption of this policy, a written evaluation of their operations that specifically addresses: 1) potential impacts to nearby stream environments; 2) potential impacts to ESA or CESA listed salmonid populations; and 3) efficacy of the project in meeting project goals and objectives. The Department will assess the evaluations and will provide a recommendation to the Commission on whether this section of the policy should be continued.
  • VIII. Domesticated or non-native fish species will not be planted, or fisheries based on them will not be developed or maintained, in drainages of salmon waters, where, in the opinion of the Department, they may adversely affect native salmon populations by competing with, preying upon, or hybridizing with them. Exceptions to this policy may be made for stocking drainages that are not part of a salmon restoration or recovery program.
  • IX. The best available scientific information will be used by the Department to assess the salmon resource and to develop management strategies and recommendations

(Amended: 06/18/93; 06/18/05; 05/09/08)

 

STOCKING FISH IN WATERS WHERE ANGLERS PAY ACCESS FEES

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission to:

Recognize there is a tremendous demand for fishing in reservoirs, lakes and streams. The Department of Fish and Game cannot meet all of the demands for catchable-sized hatchery fish for such waters. Therefore, to the extent possible it should encourage the involvement of the private aquaculture industry.

The Department shall not stock fish in (1) private waters that are closed to the public, and (2) fee-fishing lakes operated by registered aquaculturists privately for profit. As long as they are open to the general public, the Department shall stock two types of waters: (1) those in which most, if not all, fish are reared and stocked by the Department, and (2) those in which the reservoir or recreation operator, under a Cooperative Stocking Program, plants an equal or greater weight of catchable-sized fish than does the Department.

The Department alone cannot plant enough fish nor improve enough habitat to develop the full recreational potential of many waters. Although the Commission recognizes the prerogative of a local entity to rely on a fishing program of this type, it also recognizes the resulting loss in recreation fishing opportunities in areas where the demand is so great. It, therefore, directs the Department to encourage local entities to shift to the more successful Cooperative Stocking Program.

  • I. Waters Where Anglers Pay Small Fees to Defray Only Costs of Essential Services:
    • A. The Department may stock public and private waters where a nominal fee is charged to defray the costs of maintaining sanitary and safety services, roads, parking, gatekeeping and patrol services, liability insurance, licenses and taxes, and fish habitat improvement projects, providing all revenues are used to pay for these costs only. Access fee revenues may be used also to purchase fish to supplement the state allotment, at the discretion of the recreation operator.
    • B. The recreational operator will be required to demonstrate that their acess fee revenues are necessary for recovery costs of essential services or additional supplemental stocking upon request by the Department. The Department may stop stocking public and private waters that charge access fees that are determined to be unusual or unreasonable for recovery of costs of essential services or additional supplemental stocking.
    • C. Access fees charged by state parks are not covered by this policy. State park fees are established and set by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
  • II. Waters With Cooperative Stocking Programs:
  • Cooperative programs may be entered into by the Department with public and private entities. In these instances, the cooperator supplements the Department fish planting allotment by purchasing additional fish. The Commission encourages the Department to enter into such cooperative stocking programs, provided they conform to the following requirements:
    • A. Each proposed cooperative stocking program will be in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding; and
    • B. Each year the cooperator shall purchase and stock at least as many pounds of fish as the Department stocks, and hopefully, considerably more as the program develops and the annual income from fees increases.
      However, to facilitate the starting of a new program, the cooperator may delay the matching commitment until the second year of the agreement when fee revenue from the first year will become available for purchasing fish.
      If any cooperator does not match or exceed by weight the fish stocked by the state in the second year of the cooperative program, no additional Department fish shall be delivered until the commitment is met.
    • C. In order to generate revenue to finance the cooperator's share of fish and fish habitat improvements, daily fees higher than those required to pay actual costs of necessary sanitary and other essential services required for fishermen at a water stocked by the state may be charged, provided that all resulting revenues in excess of those needed for such necessary services be used to purchase fish for stocking or to implement habitat improvement projects in the water.
    • D. The cooperator shall not divert any profits resulting from daily access fees to support any other operation. The cooperator shall keep separate financial records for each water stocked by the Department under a matching program in such a manner that costs of sanitation and other necessary services for fishermen and costs of stocked fish and habitat improvement can be readily determined. These records shall be made available to the Department upon request.
    • E. To the extent of its ability, when requested, the Department will assist any cooperator with advice on technical, procedural and business policies to help in developing a financially self-sustaining operation.
  • III. Davis-Grunsky Waters:
    The Department will not stock fish in place of those which the local water agency is required to stock by its Davis-Grunsky contract in order to realize the anticipated recreational benefits from the project.

(Amended 8/26/93, 12/04/97, 01/07/99, 12/08/00, 12/07/01, 12/20/02, 12/05/03, 12/09/05, 12/07/07, 06/30/11)

STRIPED BASS

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  • I. The Department of Fish and Game shall work toward stabilizing and then restoring the presently declining striped bass fishery of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary. This goal is consistent with Commission policy that the Department shall emphasize programs that ensure, enhance, and prevent loss of sport fishing opportunities.
  • II. The Department shall ensure that actions to increase striped bass abundance are consistent with the Department's long-term mission and public trust responsibilities including those related to threatened and endangered species and other species of special concern. Recognizing issues associated with potential incidental take of these species, an appropriate interim objective is to restore the striped bass population to the 1980 population level of 1.1 million adults within the next 5-10 years.
  • III. The long-term striped bass restoration goal, as identified in the Department's 1989 Striped Bass Restoration Plan, is 3 million adults.
  • IV. The Department shall work toward these goals through any appropriate means. Such means may include actions to help maintain, restore, and improve habitat; pen-rearing of fish salvaged from water project fish screens; and artificial propagation.

(Adopted 4/5/96)

TROPHY BLACK BASS PROGRAM

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission to:

  • I. Designate certain waters of the State to be managed by the Department, pursuant to Section 1743 (a)(2) of the Fish and Game Code, to produce trophy-sized black bass. Fishing in waters with a reasonable opportunity to catch a trophy-sized black bass is considered a quality experience; moreover, catching such a fish is a life-long goal of most ardent black bass anglers.
    Trophy-sized black bass are defined based on their large but not unattainable size in the more productive warmwater reservoirs and lakes of the State. The Commission recognizes trophy-sized black bass based on the following minimum weight standards:
    • Largemouth bass 10 lbs.
    • Smallmouth bass 6 lbs.
    • Spotted bass 6 lbs.
  • II. Only designate waters for inclusion in the Trophy Black Bass Program that meet the following criteria:
    • A. Angler access:
      • 1. Open for public angling with unrestricted access, or
      • 2. Open for public angling with controlled access consistent with Commission policy.
    • B. Historically or biologically demonstrated the capability of producing, with appropriate angling regulations or other fishery management actions, catches by anglers in most years of fish meeting the above trophy-sized black bass standards.
  • III. Manage Trophy Black Bass Waters in accordance with the following directions:
    • A. At least one water in each of the Department's five management regions shall be designated and managed as a Trophy Black Bass Water.
    • B. This policy does not necessarily indicate a prioritization of the fishery or management emphasis to be applied by the Department to any of these waters.
    • C. A management plan for each designated Trophy Black Bass Water shall be prepared and updated by the Department as needed but not less often than every five years. Each plan shall include, but not be limited to, a description and evaluation of the fishery; an assessment of environmental factors conducive to or limiting trophy black bass production; recommendations for management actions needed to increase abundance of trophy-sized bass; and an assessment of personnel and fiscal resources needed to carry-out the intent of the Commission's Trophy Black Bass Program. Management actions for consideration in all Trophy Black Bass Management Plans shall include, but not be limited to, 1) evaluation of current angling regulations, 2) potential for genetic enhancement of the population, and 3) need for habitat restoration and enhancement projects.
  • IV. Establish a Trophy Black Bass Recognition Program through which anglers will have the opportunity to have their trophy catches recognized by the Commission.
    • A. Anglers wishing to have their trophy bass catches recognized will be required to submit to the Department a completed application form, provided by the Department, including at least two witness verifications, within 30 days of catching the fish. Applications for recognition will be reviewed by the Department and presented to the Commission at it's February meeting. Letters of recognition to successful applicants will be awarded by the Commission following the February meeting.
    • B. Release of trophy bass increases the opportunity for other anglers to share in the experience. Thus, the Commission and the Department shall encourage the release of trophy-sized black bass into the water from which they were caught. This will be accomplished by recognizing the catch and release of trophy black bass based on length and girth measurements. Length and girth measurements, provided by the Department, will be acceptable for determining the fishes weight.
    • C. This program is not intended to be a verification procedure for State or world record-sized fish. Additional information and verification may be required for State or world record acceptance.
    • D. The Department shall maintain records of information generated by this program and shall use this information for recommending waters for inclusion in the program.
  • Such records will be compiled into a form that can be made quickly available for review and dissemination to the public and the Commission.
  • V. Consider waters for designation as Trophy Black Bass Waters in its February meeting. Petition for inclusion in the program will be accepted by the Commission at any time. Public recommendations will be forwarded to the Department for its assessment as to whether the proposed waters actually or potentially meet Trophy Black Bass Water criteria. The Department will present recommendations for new waters for designation as Trophy Black Bass Waters at the Commission's December meeting immediately preceding the adoption meeting.
    The following waters are designated by the Commission as "Trophy Black Bass Waters" for the species so indicated:
    • A. Castaic Lake (Los Angeles County): Largemouth bass
    • B. Clear Lake (Lake County): Largemouth bass
    • C. Isabella Lake (Kern County): Largemouth bass
    • D. Oroville Lake (Butte County): Smallmouth and spotted bass
    • E. Trinity Lake (Trinity County): Smallmouth bass
  • VI. Remove from listing, based on unforeseeable conditions, any lake or reservoir that was designated as a Trophy Black Bass Water.

(Added 5/15/92)

TROUT

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  • I. Natural reproduction and rearing of trout will be encouraged to the greatest extent possible by protecting and improving habitat and by affording protection from disease, predators and competing fish species.
  • II. Populations of wild trout shall be sustained in suitable waters to provide a diversity of angling opportunities. In some waters it may be necessary to restrict angler harvest to the extent that such harvest has virtually no long-term effect on numbers and sizes of fish in the populations.
  • III. Artificial propagation and rearing of trout is a major Department program, but will be utilized only when necessary to augment natural production. Stocking fingerling and sub-catchable-sized trout shall take priority over planting catchable-sized trout in the hatchery stocking program when the smaller fish will maintain satisfactory fishing.
  • Hatchery trout shall not be stocked in waters where they may compete or hybridize with trout which are threatened, endangered or species of special concern. Exceptions may be made for stocking waters which are not part of a species recovery program.
  • IV. Catchable-sized trout shall be stocked only:
    • A. In lakes, reservoirs and streams where natural reproduction and growth are inadequate to maintain populations capable of supporting fishing; and
    • B. When it is reasonable to expect at least 50% by number or weight will be taken by anglers.
      In stocking catchable-sized trout, lakes and larger streams shall have priority over smaller streams. Suitable waters with heavy fishing pressure compared to the size of planting allotments shall have priority. Trophy fish, weighing one pound or more may constitute up to 10% by weight of each load of catchables stocked, if they replace an equivalent poundage of catchables in the allotment for the water stocked.
  • V. Subcatchable-sized trout may be stocked in lakes, reservoirs and streams where appropriate to augment trout populations in such waters, and to increase fishing opportunities and success. Fingerlings shall be stocked primarily in waters where reproduction is limiting and satisfactory angling can be supported with fingerling stocking, where the population has been destroyed, and in lakes where they will establish a new fishery or augment the existing fishery.
  • VI. Water companies, utility districts and other public or private agencies in control of urban lakes shall be encouraged to finance put-and-take trout fishing in such waters when suitable for such purposes. The Department shall provide technical advice and otherwise assist in the development and maintenance of such programs.

(Amended 1/4/94)

WARMWATER GAME FISH STOCKING

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It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

Maintenance stocking of warmwater game fish is not recommended because satisfactory populations are usually sustained by natural reproduction. Accordingly, such stocking shall be limited to:

  • I. Lakes, reservoirs and streams where natural reproduction is inadequate to maintain populations capable of supporting fishing, which demonstrate acceptable growth rates or are capable of producing trophy-sized fish, and where such stocking can be demonstrated to be cost effective.
  • II. Waters selected for evaluation of experimental management techniques.
  • III. Reintroduction of desirable species that have been eliminated either by natural causes or management actions intended to remove unwanted species.
  • IV. Introduction of new species or subspecies consistent with existing policies and under guidelines provided by the Department of Fish and Game.
    Captured wild fish will normally be used to stock all waters. Artificially-produced fish also may be used if circumstances warrant.
    Privately owned waters not open to the public will generally not be stocked by the Department. These waters can be stocked by registered aquaculturists under the authority of a private stocking permit issued by the Department.

(Amended 8/26/93)

YOUTH FISHING PROGRAMS

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The Department is supportive of youth fishing programs sponsored by city, county or other public entities.

Through its urban fishing program, the Department will combine fisheries resource management with educational services to develop healthy urban fisheries, and provide young people with an opportunity to fish close to home.

Fish planted for such programs may be obtained from State hatcheries.

(Amended 5/14/93)