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Great Holiday Gift Idea: Annual Fishing License
An annual fishing license makes a great gift for the angler on your holiday list. Photo Contributed

If you’re looking for the perfect present for the angler in your life, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds holiday shoppers that beginning Jan. 1, anglers 16 years of age and older will need a new annual sport fishing license to take or pursue any fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, reptile or amphibian in California (including catch-and-release fishing) in the 2022 calendar year. Though the 365-day license is definitely part of California’s angling future thanks to AB 817, there are some further steps needed to bring the option online. CDFW’s goal is to have that option and other electronic licensing improvements available in 2023.

CDFW’s online license sales and services site makes it easy to give a gift that will bring joy all year. To purchase a sport fishing license as a gift, go to the online license sales and services site and select “Guest” from the tabs at the top. Next select “Sport Fishing” and in the “Voucher” section select “Add.” Then enter the name of the person the license is for, and follow the prompts to buy and print the voucher. Vouchers purchased online are not mailed to customers and must be printed at the time of purchase.

A California sport fishing license offers more fishing opportunities than any other state in the country. California has 1,100 miles of ocean coastline, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 29,664 miles of streams and rivers, and 1,800 miles of bay and Delta waters. A sport fishing license is an angler’s passport to these amazing opportunities.

In addition to native fresh and saltwater fish, CDFW trout hatcheries will plant roughly 35 million rainbow, brown, cutthroat, brook and golden trout in 2022 and salmon hatcheries annually release more than 39 million young salmon and steelhead. Those are millions of reasons to give the angler on your holiday gift list a 2022 California sport fishing license.

Please note, Governor Newsom signed AB 817 authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) this past legislative session which, among other things, provides that CDFW can provide an option to display sport fishing license items on a mobile device and sell a sport fishing license that will be valid for 365 days from the purchase date rather than the calendar year. However, implementation of these parts of this new law requires technological infrastructure revisions, so neither will be available during the 2022 license year.

On the other hand, AB 817 also expands criteria for reduced-fee sport fishing licenses to Californians over 65 and receiving certain benefits. Those new criteria take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and allow any low-income senior, age 65 or older, who is a resident of California and receives benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Cash Assistance Program for Aged, Blind and Disabled Legal Immigrants (CAPI), to obtain a sport fishing license for $8.24. Those interested can learn more on CDFW’s reduced-fee sport fishing license page.