CDFW News | California Trout Opener, a cherished tradition for anglers in the Golden State
California Trout Opener, a cherished tradition for anglers in the Golden State
The traditional opening of trout season on the last Saturday in April remains one of California’s most celebrated and anticipated outdoor traditions, drawing thousands of anglers to trout fishing destinations. such as Burney and Dunsmuir in the north, Bridgeport and Bishop in the eastern Sierra, Mammoth Lakes in the south, and many other scenic mountain communities and hamlets throughout the state.
This year, traditional California trout season opens on Saturday, April 30, an hour before sunrise in many counties across the state.
In recent years, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has expanded year-round trout fishing opportunities in many waters, but the traditional trout opener remains popular. April 30 will mark the start of the catch and hold season on many streams and creeks, as well as the reopening of much of the eastern Sierra to trout fishing for the first time since the last fall.
Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and a possession limit of 10 trout. Regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits, and equipment restrictions. Anglers are strongly advised to check for area-specific regulations and open dates in the California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations 2022 (PDF) available online. All anglers 16 and older must have a valid California sport fishing license to fish within state lines, which can be purchased through CDFW’s Online Licensing Sales and Services website or through an authorized sales agent.
CDFW stocked trout in several dozen locations in the weeks and days leading up to opening. To find more details on the specific waters planted, please see CDFW’s Fish Planting Calendar. These efforts will continue throughout the season, even as CDFW fisheries managers work to minimize impacts resulting from a disease outbreak at two Eastern Sierra trout hatcheries (PDF). Anglers are reminded that California is in its third drought year and drought conditions may impact their favorite trout fishing waters, especially as summer approaches. CDFW’s “Hoot Owl” Water Watchlist webpage offers voluntary guidelines for freshwater fishing during a drought year and may list specific waters where fishing should be avoided at midday and midday. other recommendations.
CDFW has many resources available for both beginners and experienced anglers regarding trout fishing throughout the state. Recently the Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) team released a new R3 Harvest Huddle Hour (R3H3) pre-recorded video, Introduction to Trout Fishing, which showcases different tools and techniques anglers can try for trout fishing this season. CDFW’s online interactive fishing guide also provides information on trout factories, boating locations, regulations, licensing agents, and more.
For anglers interested in learning more about wild trout and where to find them in their specific area, the Heritage and Wild Trout program offers resources explaining wild trout management and maps of designated wild and heritage trout waters. helping to find those special fish. For anglers who feel up to a challenge, CDFW offers the Heritage Trout Challenge, which requires anglers to catch six different forms of native California trout in their historic pools!
Once you’re out and caught your limit of trout, visit CDFW’s R3 California Wild Kitchen webpage for tips and recipes on how to clean and prepare your trout for you and your family.
Taylor Williams, CDFW R3 Program, (916) 203-1362
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 215-3858