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And The Free Fishing Days for 2024 are…


… July 6th (Saturday) and August 31st (Saturday)

Every year the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) announces two Free Fishing Days. On these days, anyone ages 16 or older can go fishing without getting a sport fishing license. This includes at creeks, rivers, lakes, and even beach fishing. Free Fishing Days are the perfect opportunity to try fishing before committing to an annual permit and it’s a great excuse to get the entire family outside.

Some CDFW Regions offer a “Fishing in the City” program where you can go fishing in the middle of major metropolitan areas on certain days. These areas include the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose/South Bay, Sacramento, Los Angeles area, and Orange County. 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. More info here.

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. Kids under 16 never require a license, but again the other rules still apply.

On California’s Free Fishing Days, every person fishing must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for these species:

  • Abalone
  • Steelhead
  • Sturgeon
  • Spiny lobster
  • Salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems

Also, don’t forget that you can fish for free from California piers every day all year long.