California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Free Fishing Days

Free Fishing days for 2014 are July 5 and September 6

Have you ever felt the excitement of watching your bobber suddenly jiggle, then dive out of sight? Or feeling the tap-tap-tap of a bass as it tastes the worm on the end of your line? Or having a salmon practically tear the rod out of your hands as it smashes your lure? What's that? You say you never learned to fish?

If you are new to the sport of fishing, and not sure if you will enjoy it, a great opportunity awaits you. CDFW offers two Free Fishing Days each year. On these days, you can fish without a sport fishing license. Free Fishing Days provide a great, low-cost way to give fishing a try. Some CDFW Regions offer a Fishing in the City program where you can go fishing in the middle of major metropolitan areas perhaps just a few blocks from your home. Fishing in the City and free fishing day clinics are designed to educate novice anglers about fishing ethics, fish habits, effective methods for catching fish, and fishing tackle. You can even learn how to clean and prepare your catch so you can enjoy it for dinner that night.

While all fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect, there are two days each year when anyone can fish without purchasing a fishing license.

On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for (if applicable):

  • abalone
  • steelhead
  • sturgeon
  • spiny lobster
  • or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems.