Outdoors Q&A

Wilson on Outdoors: Treble hooks not allowed for salmon in certain areas

Cal.Outdoors@wildlife.ca.govMay 27, 2014 

Q uestion: When trolling for salmon between Point Conception and Horse Mountain, are treble hooks allowed on spoons or lures if they are barbless? Or does the two single-point, single-shank-hook regulation apply as if I were bait fishing? The rules are clear regarding when you are not trolling, but they do not seem to elaborate on allowable gear when you ARE trolling. – Rick S.

Answer: No, you may not use treble hooks for salmon in the area you describe. Only single barbless hooks may be used, and whether trolling or drifting with bait (mooching), you may only use two single, barbless hooks per line. The law says, “No more than two (2) single point, single shank barbless hooks shall be used in the ocean north of Point Conception when salmon fishing or fishing from any boat or floating device with salmon on board.” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.80(a)(2)).

This section does not specifically address trolling or mooching, so it applies to all salmon fishing, including trolling or drifting with bait.

Q: My wife and I will be taking a two-week vacation and plan to do a lot of trout fishing. Is our 10-fish bag limit the same as a 10-fish possession limit? We will be out 10 days, and due to lack of ice in the remote area where we are going, we plan to can our daily limits of fish. Is there anything wrong with this?

I know people who fish and catch their limits daily, and then when they get home they process (can or smoke) the fish each evening. I know they possess more than a 10-fish limit, but is this legal? If so, why could my wife and I not do the same because when we are out camping in our RV, wouldn’t that be considered our second home? – Eric S.

A: If the people you describe retain more than their allowed possession limits in any form, they are in violation. The law requires that each person may have no more than one legal possession limit in any form, whether it’s fresh, frozen, canned or smoked (CCR Title 14, section 1.17). Possession limits even apply in your home.

In most trout waters, the possession limit is the equivalent of two daily bag limits. There are also special brook trout regulations in many areas so you really need to know the body of water(s) where you will be fishing. Check out sections 7.00 and 7.50(a) in the 2014-2015 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations to be sure of the limits you are allowed.

Q: I have a question regarding what appears to be abandoned commercial fishing gear. My three dive buddies and I are instructors and regularly find lost fishing gear snaring marine life. Generally, they are old lobster traps without any line or buoys still attached. Sometimes, the traps still contain live lobsters. We have been afraid to touch them.

Can we release lobsters from what looks to be lost gear? Any help you can provide to help us understand what we can and can’t do, and under what rules, would be appreciated. We are tired of just swimming by them. – Randall Krueger, Visalia

A: Thank you for contacting us. Lost fishing gear – commercial and recreational – sits on the seafloor, gets caught on rocks and can remain in the marine environment for years, harming habitats and continuing to catch fish and invertebrates.

You cannot keep the lobster caught in the lost traps, but you can let them go and leave the trap doors open so they no longer trap marine life, then report the location of the lost gear.

If you are able, please report sightings of lost recreational and commercial fishing gear (even anonymous reports are accepted) by calling (888) 491-GEAR or visiting www.seadocsociety.org/california-lost-fishing-gear-removal-project/. You may also contact the Ocean Defenders Alliance at (714) 875-5881 or www.oceandefenders.org/.

Q: I live in a rural area. Can I legally hunt within 150 yards of my residence? Can I hunt within 150 yards of anyone else’s if I have their written permission? – Jess K.

A: Yes. These are safety-zone restrictions, but as long as there are no other local laws or ordinances that prohibit hunting or the discharge of a firearm, then you can hunt within 150 yards of your residence or any other residence where you have obtained express permission of the owner or person in possession of the premises (Fish and Game Code, section 3004(a)).

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.

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