Fishing Day: State Fish and Game waives its license rules to introduce the sport to newcomers
Twice a year, the floodgates open and fish swim through. In June and again in September, a day is marked as Fishing Day, where you can show up at a spot (following regulation, of course) and fish without a license anywhere in California.
"It's a great way for families to get out and experience fishing," says California Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano. He cautions that people should investigate which fisheries need report cards - which come with licenses and help experts keep track of certain populations - before they go out. Abalone and spiny lobsters, for instance, require report cards. Rules on bag limits, size limits, hours and more should be observed. (If, like this reporter, you don't know what a bag limit is, visit the state's Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov.)
To further encourage people to come and spend some time outside Saturday, Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge will be offering free fishing poles, bait and tackle.
"What we're doing to help celebrate National Fishing Week and promote fishing as an outdoor activity that can connect people back to nature is provide a day of fishing, where pretty much we provide everything except for the fish," says Carmen Minch, outdoor recreation planner at Don Edwards. "We want people to try their luck in the bay." The number of poles is limited to 15, so people would be best served by getting there early, Minch says. The catchable fish at Don Edwards can range from leopard sharks to rays to striped bass to perch and jack smelt. "We normally hold a fishing clinic in the fall, so this is less involved. There will be a couple of volunteers on hand to help you if you're unfamiliar with a pole." She says that there are no age limits on the fishing, but people younger than 16 should probably come with an adult.
So, no excuses for not casting lines and coming home with a few tall tales, if not actual fish.
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge will have free fishing poles, bait and tackle from 10 a.m.-noon Sat. Dumbarton Fishing Pier, 1 Marshlands Road, Fremont. No fishing license is required anywhere in the state. Interested anglers should meet at the end of the fishing pier. (510) 792-0222, Ext. 43. Driving directions available at www.fws.gov/desfbay/directions.htm.
This article appeared on page G - 28 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Support UPSAC! Preserve pier and shore angling in California.