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5 Reasons You Shouldn't Go Fishing Without a License in California

If you're new to fishing, you may not be aware of the conservation-related benefits that come along with buying a fishing license.

While there are a few circumstances that may allow you to go fishing without a license in California (such as on free fishing days or when you are fishing from a public pier in ocean or bay waters), why limit yourself to these situations? Besides, your fishing license purchase helps contribute to conservation efforts.

Check out these five specific reasons why buying a fishing license versus fishing without a license is a smart move for conservation.

  1. Your fishing license purchase helps contribute to conservation through educational and recruitment programs. As more people take up fishing, there is a larger need for public education on topics like species identification, conservation, regulations, and proper catch-and-release techniques.
  2. Funds from your California fishing license go toward improved boating and fishing access. This can include new boat ramps or upgrades to existing facilities.
  3. Fishing license funds support long-term conservation plans for state waterways. This includes funding for important research projects conducted by state biologists to maintain the natural balance of our ecosystems as well as fish stocking and hatchery programs.
  4. One hundred percent of license fees go directly toward conservation and restoration -- not twenty-five percent, not fifty percent… one hundred percent!
  5. Having a valid state fishing license is the law; unless it is a state-designated free fishing day, you are under age 16, or you are fishing from a public pier (according to California fishing regulations, check for updates). This means that fishing without a license can result in a fine or penalty.

Since you know why purchasing a fishing license versus fishing without a license in California (or in any other state) is important, get your fishing license today and help support the conservation of your state's aquatic resources.

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.