Fishing 101

New to fishing? No problem!

Jigs, sinkers, spinners, chumming, trolling, leaders, lines, lures…confused yet? With thousands of fishing products, strict regulations, and seemingly endless bodies of California water to explore, heading out on your first few fishing trips can be overwhelming, and we want to make it easier for you. In this article, you will find links and information related to best fishing practices that will help you be knowledgeable and prepared – even if you already have some experience with fishing!

Fishing Licenses & Regulations

First things first, the state of California requires that anyone 16 and older fishing for sport obtain a license, even nonresidents. These can be bought online, or in person (many sporting goods stores like Walmart, Big 5, local tackle shops, etc. sell fishing licenses.)

If you are new to sportfishing and not sure if you’ll enjoy it, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two FREE Fishing Days every year! On these days, you can fish without a license and give fishing a try at no cost to you. In 2020, these fishing days fall on July 4 and September 5 – Fourth of July, and Labor Day weekend!

Once you obtain the proper license, it is important to plan where you would like to fish and educate yourself on any fishing regulations in that area; these can usually be found on the website of the park or region you’re visiting, or you can call the nearest ranger station for resources.

Get a California Fishing License

Leave No Trace

Popular fishing spots can often be bustling with eager anglers waiting for a bite. Camp-California always promotes that outdoor adventurers of all kinds practice Leave No Trace – whether you’re going for a walk in your local park, or heading out on a deep, backwoods backpacking adventure.

Here are some things to keep in mind regarding the 7 Classic LNT principles before heading out on a fishing trip.

Leave No Trace Tips for Fishing

Catch and Release

You’ve heard the phrase before, but now it’s time to put it in perspective! Practicing catch and release fishing improves native fish populations by allowing healthy fish to reproduce within their ecosystem. In turn, catch and release provides the opportunity for more people to enjoy fishing popular spots and share in the thrill of catching a fish for generations to come.

Catching and releasing does take practice, and it is important to only release healthy fish back into the water. The National Park Service has a great comprehensive article on everything you need to know to help maintain aquatic ecosystems through practicing catch and release.

Catch and Release Fishing – National Park Service


Other useful links:

California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations

Fishing in the City

Teaching a Child to Fish

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Camp-California is concerned about the health and safety of our campers and adventurers. While camping and outdoor activities do offer the ability to self-isolate, we are encouraging all California residents and travelers to shelter in place until further notice. We recognize that getting outdoors is what you do best, and we will be here to reacquaint you with nature once we're cleared for adventure again!


Most private parks are open with 14-day minimums. If you are a full-time RVer looking to shelter in place, a member of the traveling medical profession, or a utility worker looking for a park please call our office and we can connect you with an appropriate location.