Lake County News,California – California Outdoors: Homemade Bottle Traps, Skipjack Regulations, Bow Fishing

Trapping soda bottles for crawfish in a swamp near Sacramento. CDFW photo by Kirsten Macintyre.

Can I use a homemade plastic bottle trap in lakes?

Question: Is it legal to use a homemade plastic bottle trap in lakes and other freshwater bodies? (Anonymous)

Responnse: The Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations 2020-2021 state that “Unless otherwise authorized, all fish may only be caught while fishing with a closely supervised rod and line (or two rods if the angler is in possession of a stamp valid for two canes). ”

However, there are two exceptions: 1) Traps can be used to catch baitfish, but only certain types of baitfish can be caught or used in particular bodies of water in the different fishing districts (see sections 4.05 to 4.30 of the Freshwater Sports Regulations). Fishing regulations for methods of catching baitfish and the use of baitfish). 2) California also allows crayfish to be taken in traps not exceeding one meter in length. Homemade traps made from soda bottles can be very effective.

Additionally, several closures designed to protect Shasta crayfish are referenced in the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations under Title 14, Section 5.35. Fall River above Spring Creek Bridge, Lava Creek, Tule River and all connected waters above Little Tule River, Sucker Springs Creek, Crystal Lake, Rising River and Rising River Lake are closed to the taking and possession of crayfish. (See Title 14, Section 4.30 for prohibition on using crayfish as bait in certain sections of the Pit River).

Skipjack regulations

Question: I have a question regarding Pacific Bonito. California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 28.32 (b) states that the minimum size is “24 inches in fork length or five pounds, except that: Five fish less than 24 inches in fork length or weighing less of five pounds can be taken and possessed. Does this mean I can catch and possess five or fewer Pacific Skipjack tuna if they are less than 24 inches in fork length? For example, can I legally keep two 12 inch skipjack tuna per day? (Artura)

Responnse: Your interpretation of Section 28.32 of Title 14 is correct, as long as you have five or less Pacific skipjack less than five pounds or 24 inches in fork length. If you catch six or more skipjack, you can only keep five fish under five pounds or 24 inches in fork length and you cannot catch or possess more than 10 in total.

So assuming you didn’t already have more than three Pacific skipjack less than 24 inches in your possession (which includes those at home), your example of two skipjack 12 inches in length per day would be legal as long as the total number less than five pounds or 24 inches in your possession did not exceed five and the total number in your possession did not exceed 10.

Bowfishing in Kern County?

Question: What fish are allowed to bowfish in Kern County? (Sat)

Responnse: Generally speaking, bow and arrow fishing is permitted year-round in Kern County for the following species: carp, goldfish, western sucker, sacramento blackfish, hardhead, sacramento pikeminnow, and lamprey . However, regulations differ when bow fishing at Lake Isabella in the Kern River Valley. Bow and arrow fishing is permitted in Lake Isabella for the catch of carp, goldfish, western sucker, Sacramento blackfish, hardhead, Sacramento pikeminnow, lamprey, bullhead and catfish, in accordance with the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations Title 14, Section 2.25.

Take a non-hunter hunting

Question: Can I bring a companion with me for quail hunting? They wouldn’t help me in any way (flush the birds, call, etc.) and just follow me for the experience. (Kraig)

Responnse: Yes, you are fine to have a companion for the hunt, as long as he is not involved in the actual attempt to catch a bird. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recognizes that many non-hunters join licensed hunters in the field during the hunt to get a feel for what it’s all about. We encourage this practice and consider it an essential part of transmitting the hunting tradition. If your friend would like to get involved in hunting, have them check out the Hunter Education page on the CDFW website.

Automatic renewal of a fishing license

Question: I recently purchased my 2021 fishing license at a sporting goods store. I found out after the fact that CDFW now offers an auto-renewal option. I don’t remember being offered this option when purchasing my license. When I buy my hunting license, can I register for the automatic renewal of both licences? (Arnold)

Responnse: CDFW recently began offering automatic renewal of sport fishing licenses. If you choose this option, the credit card you provide will be charged annually in November and the following year’s fishing license will be mailed to you. This convenient option means anglers no longer have to worry about license interruptions that occur when transitioning to new license years. At this time, the option is only available for sport fishing licenses. CDFW plans to expand the program to include hunting licenses and related items in the future.

The only way to sign up for auto-renewal is through our Online Licensing Sales and Services website. Licensing agents, CDFW sales offices, and telemarketers cannot configure customer record security settings and credit card information required for a customer’s record. However, regardless of how you purchased your license, you have the option of signing up for auto-renewal at a later date by logging into your customer account through our Online Licensing Sales and Services website.

You can find more information about the new auto-renewal option on the CDFW website.

If you have a question for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, email This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Although they cannot answer all the questions, they will answer a few in each column.

Earnest A. Martinez