Q uestion: My friends and I are going to Catalina next weekend to dive for lobsters. We know we have to catch them by hand but are wondering if it’s legal to lure lobsters out of their holes by holding a piece of sardine or squid in your hand? – David C.
Answer: Sure, you can give it a try, but I don’t know how successful you’ll be. The law says that skin and scuba divers may take crustaceans by the use of the hands only and may not possess any hooked device while diving or attempting to dive for them (California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 29.80). There is no prohibition against waving snacks in front of them.
Q: We are planning a sturgeon fishing trip on the Delta but want to check in first to find out what the new sturgeon tagging requirements are? I understand there have been some changes this year. – Anonymous
A: As of Jan. 1, 2014, California sturgeon anglers are seeing a small change to sturgeon tags. Sturgeon anglers have been required to tag all retained legal-sized sturgeon for many years. In the past, the date, location and length of the fish caught were recorded on each tag. Now, in addition to legibly and permanently writing the date, time, location and length, the new tags require the angler to physically punch out the date and month printed on each tag.
The bag limit for sturgeon remains at one per day and up to three sturgeon per year. Failure to attach a properly filled out tag to a retained sturgeon is a misdemeanor violation.
Q: My brother and I have two burning questions we have been wondering about. Is it legal to use licorice to fish with as bait? Also, we observed a man with a syringe injecting air into his bait worms so they would float off the bottom. Is this legal? – Marcus O.
A: Processed foods, such as licorice, are legal under bait regulations for inland waters (found beginning in CCR Title 14, Section 4.00). It is also legal to inject air into a fishing worm and many such kits are found at sporting goods outlets. This method can be a very effective way to keep a worm off the bottom of lakes with heavy bottom vegetation.
Q: I want to practice taxidermy and am wondering how I can get some animal hides to practice with. Would it be OK for me to purchase a hide from a tannery? If I do, will I have to just use game animals I take during hunting season? – Spencer
A: As far as game animals, only deer hides can be purchased. The only other hides that can be purchased are hides from fur-bearers taken under the authority of a trapper’s license. Remember, California wildlife (even hides and body parts) cannot be legally bought, sold, traded or bartered.
You can practice on any carcasses you can legally possess (e.g. taken legally by another person who gifts it to you, carcass of non-game/fur-bearing mammals taken under depredation laws, domestic game animals, etc. In addition, you can also buy many hides from species not found in the wild in California from other states.
Q: If I am spearfishing from the shore and return with my take, do I need to have my fishing license on my person or can it be in my car? – William H.
A: Persons diving from a boat or shore may have their license on the boat or within 500 yards on the shore, respectively (FGC Section 7145).
Q: If I am on my own property, can I hunt rabbits at night with a spot light? – John S.
A: No. It is unlawful for any person, or one or more persons, to throw or cast the rays of any spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light on any highway or in any field, woodland, or forest where game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, or nongame mammals are commonly found, or upon any game mammal, fur-bearing mammal, or nongame mammal, while having in his or her possession or under his or her control any firearm or weapon with which that mammal could be killed, even though the mammal is not killed, injured, shot at, or otherwise pursued (Fish and Game Code, Section 2005(b).
Carrie Wilson is a marine environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week in this column. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@wildlife.ca.gov.