Freshwater Regulations - where IS technically legal?

Discussion in 'Freshwater' started by mistercameron, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. mistercameron

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    I was looking at the freshwater regs to make sure some streams I was interested in checking out were open to fishing. There's a handy map here CDFW Sport Fishing Regulations

    When you click around and start reading the regulations to apply to each outlined region, it seems like there are few legally-fishable streams in So Cal. Go ahead and try for yourself. Try the SD River in Mission Valley.
    ...
    (1) All lakes and reservoirs except those listed by name in the Special Regulations. All year, 5 trout
    (4) All anadromous waters except those listed by name in the Special Regulations (See definition of anadromous waters, Section 1.04) : Closed to all fishing all year.
    ...

    ... basically any stretch of stream or tributary that connects to the ocean.. Now, fishing in lakes and reservoirs is fine. Above some dams also OK.

    Has anyone run into issues with game wardens, or at least had this clarified? I tried calling the local office (about a specific C&R stream), but they are closed for COVID and i'm sure the answering machine is just to pacify us. I can't believe this just doesn't come up in discussion, like anywhere.
     
  2. Queue

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    Which stream?
     
  3. mistercameron

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    There are some in the Los Padres and Angeles NF areas that are fishable and listed in the regs as open, but some of the adjacent water is unknown (historically fishable)

    Other streams/rivers (say for example the LA River or SD River), it seems they are technically closed to fishing.
     
  4. carpkiller

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    Nope, never heard of any enforcement action against bass fishermen in MV. That being said, there's a lot of conflicting or confusing information in the regs.

    When I am fishing for bass, the rules I follow are in this section, which starts on page 18:

    5.00. BLACK BASS.
    It is unlawful to take or possess black bass except
    as provided below:
    (Note: Some waters are closed to all fishing under
    Section 7.50.)
    (a) General Statewide Restrictions:
    (excerpted some junk from here that doesn't apply)
    (2) Rivers/Streams and Private Ponds: Rivers,
    streams, canals, and lakes or ponds entirely on
    private lands, which are not listed in subsection (b)
    Special Regulations (below), are open all year with
    no size limit and a five-fish daily bag limit.

    If a fisherman never read any farther, they'd never see the restrictions on fishing (which are in the trout/salmon section). And yeah, the Southern District regs note the same restriction on anadromous waters as the trout section.

    However, If the intent was truly to protect a certain species....the game wardens could make a crapload of money citing the people fly-fishing for carp in the LA River and in Mission Valley's SD River...which leads me to...

    If the intent of the laws were to protect migrating salmonids, why wouldn't the LA and SD Rivers be listed in section 7.5? That's where the San Luis Rey River is listed, where there is a chance of steelhead finding their way upstream.

    And what fish is being protected in the Sweetwater River, where it's illegal to fish anywhere downstream of the Sweetwater dam? Under that rule, fishing for spotties at Pepper Park, or in the marina just upstream, are illegal.

    Anyway, if I was cited for fishing in "anadromous" waters, I'd bring along my laptop to my hearing. I would google "anadromous" and show the court the first twenty definitions that come up. Anadromous refers to fish that swim from salt to fresh water to spawn...I can't find any definition like the one in the DFW regs. And I'd ask the state's witness to describe a section of the San Diego River where spawning of anadromous fish takes place. Pretty sure trout and salmon don't spawn in the sand pits, swamps, and warm mucky pools that make up the SD River's course between Dog Beach and the El Capitan Dam. But it wouldn't come to that because the intent of the law is to protect fish that migrate to spawn in freestone creeks...and that activity was halted in our county a century ago when the SD River was dammed.

    Unrelated note: There is no size limit on largemouth bass in cuyamaca lake. that's on page 19. If your kid's just dying to cook a fish that they catch, and you can't get a trout....
     
  5. mistercameron

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    Sure, and maybe there’s some combination of not having enough resources, and not really caring that much because the impact is so low. I feel like folks on here have talked to wardens in Mission Trails without issue, but maybe I’m wrong (or maybe those stories predate whenever the current law went into place). I mean, or also doesn’t help when local governments say go ahead, ignorant of the actual regulations.

    https://www.kcet.org/shows/earth-focus/to-fish-or-not-to-fish-in-the-la-river

    It would be great if it were either clarified a bit more (sight fishing carp is different than throwing flies/lures for trout)... OR change the law to be more inclusive of other species targets.
     
  6. carpkiller

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    Nope, the regulations closing "anadramous waters" to fishing have been around for a long time...I recall seeing that rule when a started fishing a certain local creek, which was in the late 1990s.
    Around the same time I was also fishing in Mission Trails Park frequently.
    I met state wardens in there a few times. They gave exactly zero ****s that I was fishing. One guy asked for the scoop on where to find bigger pools that might hold decent fish; it seemed like he was interested in coming back and hitting it on his day off. "Good luck!" was the last thing he said to me...
    Meanwhile, the park rangers (bless their hearts) would politely run me off when they saw me fishing. When I (extra politely) asked what rule I was violating, on two occasions I was told I had to stay on designated trails. And once, a ranger said said there was a federal (?? and !!) closure on fishing the San Diego River.
     
    #6 carpkiller, Jan 18, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  7. AzImport

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    Mission Trails has three rules that I can see that pertain to fishing.
    1. Stay on marked trails. - There is some leeway here I think, as I've seen rangers just wave and say hi to folks technically not on trail, but fairly close to, while they were fishing the river. I'd imagine going into areas which are posted specifically keep out would have a different response however
    2. No cleaning of fish. - Kinda self explanatory. I can't say I'd be thrilled with seeing fish guts all along the shore, and that is as an angler who believes in catch and keep lol. I'd imagine folks who know nothing of fishing would be fairly hostile to it
    3. Have your license. - Also self explanatory. And thus, fish the sh*t out of it!

    I know for myself, that once the water level comes up some, I'll be dragging the kid out there to do some prospecting. Left to wonder just how much trouble I'd be in for taking a machete to a bit of the tulies surrounding the campground pond... lol
     
  8. mistercameron

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    Yup - MT is a nice area and I appreciate having a bit of shade on the hot days. I'm not sure if one could also argue the "high water line" rule, or point out the worn pathway along the river. As you said - it doesn't seem to be a problem.

    It sure would be great to be able to fish without concern of being caught by a warden having a bad day, or trying to prove a point.

    This morning I found this document (scroll down to the link with the proposed changes - it's a little bit long, but not too bad if you skip the environmental review). The public comment period is closed, but still worth knowing the state is at least trying to simplify regs and open up fishing where possible. - https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=182933&inline
     
  9. Queue

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    South Coast Region isn’t my area but I know discussions have occurred to address the efficacy and purpose of maintaining the SD/LA river anadromous water regs as they are. Dealing with federally listed species like the Southern DPS steelhead and their historical “critical habitat” is most likely why they remain though the actual habitat isn’t adequate. Hopefully the issues can be worked through.
     
  10. carpkiller

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    Ixnay on the achetemay. Any time folks see you (or me) doing anything to plants...even dead, rotting tules...the "optics" are bad.
     
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