Question: Are there any rules on the numbers of fishing rods someone can use for ocean fishing? I had a bad experience recently with an Orange County sheriff's deputy who saw me on the Newport Beach jetty fishing with several poles. He told me I was allowed only two poles. I told him I'd seen a sign posted at a nearby pier that said, "Maximum limit three active poles."
The officer said the pier was not following the Fish and Game rules. I told him I thought what applies there also applies in Newport since Fish and Game rules apply statewide. I presume sheriff's deputies can't represent Fish and Game regarding fishing rules and should instead be catching fugitives, bad guys and drug traffickers and not bothering fishermen! I didn't want to argue with an officer with a gun, especially a sheriff who doesn't know the rules, but I felt the officer was harassing me.
— Dandy L., San Bernardino
Answer: Sheriff's deputies enforce Department of Fish and Game regulations when they see violations, and in this case, the deputy was correct. When fishing in the ocean from a public pier or jetty, DFG regulations allow only two rods and lines, two hand lines, or two crab nets, crab traps or other appliances for taking crabs. If the sign on the nearby pier indicated a three-pole maximum, then it was not a sign posted or authorized by the state. City regulations can be more restrictive than state DFG regulations, but not less restrictive.
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Q: I've heard that you need to be a certain distance from highways and roads when hunting. How far away from the roadway do you need to be before shooting?
A: Neither the Fish and Game Code nor the California Penal Code states a specific distance hunters or shooters must remain from roads. The Penal Code section that most closely addresses this issue states, "Every person who shoots any firearm from or upon a public road or highway is guilty of a misdemeanor."
In essence, this section makes it unlawful to discharge a gun from the highway surface. Bear in mind, that local ordinances can prohibit the discharge of firearms in certain areas or within certain distances of roads. In general, most cities do not allow shooting within the city limits. You should check with your county sheriff's office.
The most important factor, regardless of the law, is public safety. Well-traveled roads and highways are not appropriate places to shoot. If you injured another person or livestock, or damaged property, you would undoubtedly be subject to civil and/or criminal prosecution. While shooting just one inch away from a road might be legal, it might not be safe.
Q: A pond on our private duck hunting property was accidentally drained in the last year but has now refilled. Can we have the DFG replant it with fish?
A: The DFG will only plant fish in public waters that are open and available to the public to enjoy. If this is a private pond, you will need to get a private stocking permit from the DFG and then buy fish from a commercial fish farm, which may also stock them for you.
Q: I recently moved to California from Michigan and I am wondering if I will be required to take another hunter safety class to be able to hunt here? Also, during archery season, are you able to hunt from a tree stand or an elevated platform?
— Noah S.
A: California has no restrictions on tree stands. And no, you will not need to take another hunter safety course as long as you can show proof that you have passed a hunter safety class in Michigan. If you cannot produce a certificate or proof, you will need to complete another course to get your hunting license. Information regarding hunter education courses in your area is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/index.aspx.
Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Send questions to her by visiting CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.