CDFW Proposed Trout Regulations – Comments due May 3, 2019
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) acknowledges that existing trout fishing regulations are too complex, with too many special regulations and exceptions to be easily understood. Many existing regulations are not adequately monitored for effectiveness or biologically-based. To address these issues, CDFW has begun a public hearing process to help revise and simplify trout fishing regulations statewide, and they are seeking public input on the proposed menu of regulation changes. California Trout is working with our members, fly clubs, guides, lodges, and other organizations to coordinate our feedback and comments to ensure the needs of wild fish and people are balanced in this process.
We need your voice to weigh in on the regulations and submit your comments online before the May 3rd deadline.
California Trout will be generally advocating for:
- A science-based approach that errs on the side of precaution in the absence of adequate monitoring and enforcement data
- Clear management objectives for different types of fisheries that can be met with specific regulations from the proposed menu (e.g. urban stocked waters vs. self-sustaining wild trout waters)
- Balance in opening up more generous seasons and harvest in select waters that can sustain it (e.g., those with heavy stocking) with regulations that adequately protect wild, self-sustaining fisheries that cannot (e.g., waters in Wilderness areas)
- Conservative regulations to reduce impacts of fishing on native inland trout species in their native range
(you can copy/paste this comment to CDFW’s form under Statewide Regulation)
- Regionally-supported regulations that have buy-in from local communities of fishers, guides, lodges, and other associated businesses
- NO regulation changes to existing fly fishing-only waters
- NO regulation changes to formally designated Wild & Heritage Trout Waters or those on the candidate list for consideration
- NO harvest, barbless flies only for targeting trout species of special concern or those that are threatened
- Bag limits of 2 fish/day with 4 fish in possession limits for the Statewide Regulation
- Size slot limits to protect both small and very large mature fish to balance biological needs with harvest and opportunities to target trophy trout for the Statewide Regulation
Concerned about a Specific Waterway?
You can use California Trout and Trout Unlimited’s prepared recommendations below as a starting point to guide you. Personalized messages have greater impact.
California Department of Fish & Wildlife biologists across the state has worked to develop a suite of regulation options for trout waters to simplify angling regulations. Statewide outreach meetings were conducted to solicit public feedback on the proposed regulation changes, and public comments are still being accepted online. All stakeholder input will be taken into consideration as a regulation revision package is developed for formal public review through the California Fish and Game Commission, tentatively planned to begin at the August 7/8 2019 meeting at CDFW headquarters in Sacramento.
California Trout is a science-based conservation organization which represents thousands of members across the state and beyond. We have been the leader in wild trout conservation in California since our founding in 1971, and will continue to champion protection and recovery of abundant, wild fish. With our strong relationships with local businesses and communities have trout fishing woven into their heritage and economies, California Trout is uniquely positioned to represent the voices and perspectives of diverse interests statewide on this topic.
Fishing can impact wild trout populations even when carefully managed.
Therefore, California Trout believes that making any changes to existing trout fishing regulations requires using a precautionary approach based on the best available science due to current lack of sufficient monitoring and enforcement of existing trout fishing regulations.
It is essential that any trout regulation change effort balances various interests in this effort, including:
- adequately protecting native and sensitive trout species,
- maintaining and increasing fishing opportunities (which are critical to getting people to engage with nature and creating the next generation of anglers and conservationists),
- affording high angling quality with quantity of fish and angler satisfaction, ensuring our heritage of fly fishing and the businesses that rely upon them remain intact,
- and several others.
Angler license sales have declined steadily in the Western States in recent years, and this point has been used to advocate for regulation simplification that lengthens fishing seasons, creates more generous bag limits, and removes gear restrictions intended to reduce fish mortality all in the name of reversing this downward trend and increasing participation in fishing. However, we believe that opening up sensitive wild trout fisheries to increased harvest as is suggested under the proposed regulations is not only irresponsible based on the significant declines in our native salmonid species, but also will not address the root causes of this widespread societal challenge.
We support efforts to drive license sales, angler participation, and harvest of fish, but in select cases, to help address this issue at its root. In urban environments where fisheries can sustain such pressure, stocking select waters with hatchery trout is an important management tool that we believe has continued merit.
On the other hand, in areas with native trout species and in wild fisheries without stocking, we believe angling regulations should reflect the best available science to ensure these fisheries remain adequately protected for future generations.
We are putting forward two complementary approaches that stem from clearly defined goals and objectives for certain types of waters (stocked urban, wild and self-sustaining, Wild and Heritage-designated trout waters, and others) and that build upon the input and buy-in of local communities for acceptable regional waters of importance in specific regions (Mt. Shasta, Eastern Sierra, and Sierra foothills) that balance various interests as alternatives to the proposed regulation changes by CDFW.
For a copy of California Trout’s formal comment letter to CDFW on this topic, with a discussion of our concerns and recommendations, click here to view or reach out to Patrick Samuel, California Trout’s Bay Area Program Manager.