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New State of California Fishing Regulations for 2021

2021 Freshwater Fishing Regulations

2021 Saltwater Regulations

In October 2020, the Fish and Game Commission adopted the largest regulatory inland sport fishing package in their 150-year history. The new regulations took effect on March 1st, 2021.

Please refer to section 5.0 of the Freshwater Inland Regulations for Black Bass, and the Saltwater Fishing Regulations for Ocean and Delta fishing which were less impacted.

Here is the key section that applies to all streams, rivers, and lakes for the entire state regarding trout which had the most significant changes. It is the new standard. Only those waters that are specifically called out in the exceptions listings, section 7.40 (anadromous fish and waters, i.e. Feather, Yuba, Sacramento, American, etc.), section 7.50 (b) (trout water exceptions), and section 5.84 (expanded takes for Brooks).

5.85. TROUT. As used in this section, daily bag and possession limits, unless otherwise noted, mean the total number of trout in combination, including but not limited to rainbow, golden, brown, and cutthroat. (a) General Statewide Regulations:

(1) All inland lakes and reservoirs; and ponds entirely on private lands, except those listed in Section 7.50(b), are open to fishing all year with a five-trout daily bag limit, and 10 trout possession limit.

(2) All inland streams, rivers, and canals, except those listed in Section 7.50(b), are open to fishing from the last Sat. in Apr. through Nov. 15, with a five trout daily bag limit, and ten trout possession limit, with no gear restrictions. From Nov. 16 through the Fri. preceding the last Sat. in Apr., a zero trout bag limit applies, and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. In waters where the bag limit for trout is zero, trout must be released unharmed, and should not be removed from the water.

(3) Exceptions: (A) All waters in Section 7.50(b), Alphabetical List of Trout Waters with Special Fishing Regulations, are those having regulations different from the General Statewide Regulations for trout. (B) Brook Trout bag and possession limits may be taken in addition to the statewide trout daily bag and possession limits. See Section 5.84.

Frequently asked questions:

Why did CDFW change the sport fishing regulations?
These changes stemmed from a CDFW effort to address anglers’ concerns about the complexity of the inland sport fishing regulations by simplifying and streamlining them, and better aligning them with CDFW’s current fisheries management goals and objectives. The underlining goal was to make it easier for anglers to understand the regulations while maintaining and protecting the fisheries.

How have the regulations been simplified?
The regulations have been simplified in three main ways.

  • The special fishing regulations for inland trout (non-anadromous waters) are separated from regulations for hatchery trout, hatchery steelhead and salmon (anadromous waters) to make it easier to understand the bag and possession limits. The special fishing regulations for trout remain in Section 7.50 and will be included in the Freshwater Sport Fishing regulations booklet effective March 2021. The special fishing regulations for hatchery trout, hatchery steelhead and salmon are moved to Section 7.40, and will be included in the Supplemental Sport Fishing regulations booklet effective June 2021.
  • The District regulations, which formerly followed political boundaries, have been consolidated into consistent statewide regulations in a watershed based approach similar to the Special Regulations.
  • The Special Fishing Regulations were standardized and consolidated through application of a suite of regulations based on fisheries management goals, including angling seasons (closures), bag and possession limits, size limits, and gear restrictions.

How will I know if the regulations are changing for my favorite fishing location(s)?
Anglers can view and download regulations for all inland water bodies in the 2021-2022 Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations Booklet, which can be viewed and downloaded at the CDFW Regulations webpage (see link at top of page). Inland trout (non-anadromous) waters will remain in Section 7.50, while regulations for waters supporting hatchery trout, hatchery steelhead, and salmon (anadromous waters) have moved to a new Section 7.40.

These are current as of March 1, 2021 and may change at any time so make sure that you check carefully before you go out. This listing does not include the Anadromous (steelhead, salmon, etc.) fish and streams as that regulation will be published in the late spring. The regulations are also written with an overall trout regulation in non-specific streams and rivers. Check carefully before you go to determine any regulations for the streams and/or lakes you will be fishing.

This quick reference is not meant to be exhaustive but a summary of the most popular streams and rivers that TVFF anglers frequent during the year. See the full regulations for smaller, less frequent streams. And always check the full regulations to ensure your compliance.

Trout Water Specific Regulations:

Almanor Lake tributaries (Lassen, Plumas and Shasta cos.) upstream to the first lake. Sat. proceeding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. 5 trout

Burney Creek (Shasta Co.). From Burney Creek Falls downstream to Lake Britton. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Carson River, East Fork and tributaries (Alpine Co.).

(A) Carson River, East Fork and tributaries above Carson Falls. Closed to all fishing all year.

(B) Carson River, East Fork from Hangman’s Bridge downstream to Nevada State Line. All year. Only artificial lures may be used. Minimum size limit: 14 inches total length. 2 trout

Crowley Lake (Mono Co.). (See individual listings for regulations on tributary waters which include: Convict, Crooked, Hilton, Hot, McGee, and Whiskey creeks and the upper Owens River).

(A) Crowley Lake within 1,800 feet of the outlet dam (this area is marked with a series of buoys). Closed to all fishing all year for safety purposes.

(B) Crowley Lake, except for the closed area near the outlet dam (see above). Last Sat. in Apr. through Jul. 31. 5 trout Aug. 1 through Nov. 15. Only artificial lures may be used. Minimum size limit: 18 inches total length. 2 trout

Davis Lake tributaries (Plumas Co.). Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. 5 trout

Dismal Creek (Modoc Co.). Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Eagle Lake and tributaries (Lassen Co.).

(A) Eagle Lake. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. 2 trout per day. 4 trout in possession.

(B) Eagle Lake inside the breakwater at the Gallatin Marina. Closed to all fishing all year.

(C) Eagle Lake tributaries, including Pine Creek. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. 5 trout

Fall River Complex (Shasta Co.).

(A) Fall River and tributaries from its origin at Thousand Springs downstream to the PG&E Pit #1 Diversion Dam. excluding Bear Creek.

(B) Lava Creek (C) Little Tule River (D) Tule River (E) Horr Pond (F) Ja She Creek (G) Big Lake (H) Thousand Springs (I) Spring Creek (J) Ahjumawi Lava Springs (K) Eastman Lake Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout Oct. 1 through the Fri. preceding Memorial Day. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout (CHANGE TO FULL YEAR ACCESS BUT WTH CHANGING LIMITS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR)

Feather River, Middle Fork (Plumas Co.), from the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge (1/4 mile upstream of County A-23 bridge) to the Mohawk Bridge. Covered under Statewide regulation subsection 5.85(a)(2)

Feather River North Fork from Belden Bridge downstream to Cresta Powerhouse (excluding reservoirs) (Butte and Plumas cos.). Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Golden Trout Wilderness Area (Tulare Co.), excluding the main stem Kern River (see subsection 7.50(b)(69), and the Tule River drainage (See subsection 7.50(b) (154)). All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout

Goose Lake and tributaries (Modoc Co.), excluding Davis Creek (See subsection 7.50(b) (39), and Pine Creek (See subsection 7.50(b) (106)). Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Hat Creek (Shasta Co.) from Lake Britton upstream to Baum Lake, exclusive of the concrete Hat No. 2 intake canal between Baum Lake and the Hat No. 2 Powerhouse. All year (MAJOR CHANGE TO ALL YEAR ACCESSIBILITY). Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Hat Creek No. 1 and Cassel Forebays (Shasta Co.). Covered under Statewide regulation subsection 5.85(a)(2)

Heenan Lake and tributaries (Alpine Co.).

(A) Heenan Lake. Sep. 1 through Nov. 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout (APPEARS TO BE MAJOR CHANGE WITH 1 ADDITIONAL MONTH OF OPEN SEASON AND FULL WEEK ACCESSIBILITY, NOT JUST WEEKENDS)(B) Heenan Lake tributaries. Closed to all fishing all year.

Hot Creek (Mono Co.). Hot Creek from the State hatchery property line to the confluence with the Owens River. All year. Only artificial flies with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Kern River (Kern and Tulare cos.).

(A) From Lake Isabella upstream to the Johnsondale bridge. All year. 5 trout

(B) From Johnsondale bridge upstream to the Sequoia National Park boundary near the Kern Canyon Ranger Station. All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout

Kings River (Fresno Co.).

(A) Kings River, South Fork from its confluence with Copper Creek downstream to the Highway 180 crossing at Boyden Cave. All year. 2 trout. 4 trout in possession.

(B) Kings River South Fork, from the Highway 180 crossing at Boyden Cave downstream to the main stem; Middle Fork, from the western boundary of Kings Canyon National Park downstream to the main stem; and main stem, from the confluence of the South and Middle forks downstream to Garnet Dike Campground. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(C) Kings River, from Garnet Dike Campground downstream to Pine Flat Lake. All year. 2 trout. 4 trout in possession.

Kirman (Carmen) Lake and all its tributaries (Mono Co.). Last Sat. in Apr. through Nov 15. Only artificial lures may be used. Minimum size limit: 18 inches total length. 2 trout

Klamath River Klamath River main stem and all tributaries above Iron Gate Dam. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. 5 trout Oct. 1 through the Fri. preceding Memorial Day. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks maybe used. 0 trout

Klamath River all anadromous waters in the Lower Klamath River Basin downstream of Iron Gate and Lewiston dams (Del Norte, Humboldt, Siskiyou, and Trinity cos.) – moved to 7.40(b)(50)

Little Truckee River (Sierra and Nevada cos.) from Stampede Reservoir Dam downstream to Boca Reservoir. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

McCloud River and tributaries (Shasta and Siskiyou cos.).

(A) Moosehead Creek and all tributaries. Closed to all fishing all year.

(B) Edson Creek. Closed to all fishing all year.

(C) Swamp Creek and all tributaries. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(D) Sheepheaven Creek. Closed to all fishing all year.

(E) Bull Creek and tributaries. Closed to all fishing all year.

(F) Dry Creek south of upper McCloud River. Closed to all fishing all year.

(G) McCloud River from McCloud Dam downstream to confluence of Ladybug Creek. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout Oct. 1 through the Fri. preceding Memorial Day. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(H) McCloud River from confluence of Ladybug Creek downstream to Shasta Lake. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Meiss Lake (Alpine Co.). Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout (NEW OPENING)

Milton Lake and Middle Fork Yuba River between Milton Lake and Jackson Meadows Dam (Nevada and Sierra cos.). All year. (MAYBE A NEW OPENING TO ALL YEAR, BUT ROAD IS NORMALLY CLOSED AN NOT PASSABLE EXCEPT FOR SNOWMOBILES IN THE WINTER) Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Owens River (Inyo and Mono cos.), except (A), (B), (C), and (D) below All year. 5 trout

(A) Upper Owens River from Benton Bridge road crossing upstream to Big Springs. Above Big Springs, see Deadman Creek (subsection 7.50(b)(41)). All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(B) Upper Owens River from Benton Bridge road crossing to Crowley Lake. Last Sat. in Apr. through Jul. 31. 5 trout Aug. 1 through Nov. 15. Only artificial lures may be used. Minimum size limit: 18 inches total length. 2 trout

(C) From Pleasant Valley Dam downstream to footbridge at lower end of Pleasant Valley Campground. Last Sat. in Apr. through Nov. 15. 2 trout. 4 trout in possession. Nov. 16 through the Fri. preceding the last Sat. in Apr. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(D) From footbridge at lower end of Pleasant Valley Campground east (downstream) to 5 Bridges Road. (WILD BROWN TROUT WATER). All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Pit River (Shasta and Modoc cos.). Pit River (Modoc County) from the Hwy 395 bridge/South Fork Pit River crossing near the town of Likely downstream to the Highway 299 (Canby) bridge/Pit River crossing. Covered under Statewide regulation subsection 5.85(a)(2)

(A) Pit River, South Fork (Modoc Co.) and tributaries upstream of the Highway 395 bridge in Likely. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. 5 trout

(B) Pit River, North Fork (Modoc Co.) and tributaries from the confluence with the South Fork upstream to and including Franklin Creek. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through the last day in Feb. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout

(C) From Pit No. 3 (Britton Dam) downstream to the outlet of the Pit No. 3 Powerhouse. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout (D) Pit River, from Pit No. 3 Powerhouse downstream to Shasta Lake. All year. 2 trout. 4 trout in possession.

Prosser Creek from the Prosser Reservoir dam downstream to the confluence with the Truckee River (Nevada Co.). All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Putah Creek (Solano and Yolo cos.) from Solano Lake to Monticello Dam. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Rush Creek (Mono Co.)

(A) Rush Creek from Grant Lake Dam downstream to Mono Lake. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(B) Rush Creek (Mono Co.) between Silver Lake and Grant Lake Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. 5 trout

Sacramento River and tributaries above Keswick Dam (Shasta and Siskiyou cos.).

(A) Sacramento River and tributaries from Box Canyon Dam downstream to the Scarlett Way bridge in Dunsmuir. All year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(B) Sacramento River and tributaries from Scarlett Way bridge downstream to the county bridge at Sweetbriar. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. 5 trout Oct. 1 through the Fri. preceding Memorial Day. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout 2021-2022

(C) Sacramento River and tributaries from the county bridge at Sweetbriar downstream to Shasta Lake. All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout. Sacramento River and tributaries below Keswick Dam (Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Glenn, Sacramento, Solano, Sutter, Tehama and Yolo cos.). – moved to 7.40(b)(80)

Shasta Lake (Shasta Co.). Covered under Statewide regulation subsection 5.85(a)(1) Shasta River (Siskiyou Co.). See Shasta River 7.40(b)(103) and Klamath River 7.40(b)(50).

Stanislaus River, Middle Fork (Tuolumne Co.).

(A) From Beardsley Dam downstream to the U. S. Forest Service footbridge at Spring Gap (including the Beardsley Afterbay). All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout (B) From the U.S. Forest Service footbridge at Spring Gap to New Melones Reservoir. All year. 2 trout. 4 trout in possession. (APPEARS TO NOW BE OPEN ALL YEAR, IF YOU CAN GET THERE)

Tahoe Lake and tributaries (Placer and El Dorado cos.).

(A) Tahoe Lake tributaries upstream to the first lake. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(B) Tahoe Lake within 300 feet of the mouth of its tributaries. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Trinity River - moved to 7.40(b)(114) (152)

Trinity River, above Trinity Lake (Trinity Co.) from the confluence with Tangle Blue Creek (Hwy. 3), downstream (south) to the mouth of Trinity Lake, approximately 13.8 miles. Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30 5 trout Oct. 1 through the Fri. preceding Memorial Day. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

Truckee River (Nevada, Placer, and Sierra cos.)

(A) Truckee River for 1,000 feet below the Lake Tahoe outlet dam. Closed to all fishing all year.

(B) Truckee River from the confluence of Trout Creek downstream to the mouth of Prosser Creek. All year. Only artificial flies with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

(C) Truckee River from the mouth of Prosser Creek downstream to the Nevada State Line. Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout Nov. 16 through the Friday preceeding the last Saturday in Apr. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout (NEW REDUCED 0 TAKE LIMIT DURING SPAWNING SEASON)

Tuolumne River (Stanislaus and Tuolumne cos.). from O’Shaughnessy Dam (Hetch Hetchy Reservoir) downstream to Clavey River Falls. All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout. From La Grange Dam downstream to the mouth - moved to 7.40(b)(115)

Upper Truckee River and tributaries upstream from confluence with Showers Creek (Alpine and El Dorado cos.). Sat. preceding Memorial Day through Sep. 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout

West Walker River (Mono County) from the confluence with the Little Walker River (Hwy. 395 bridge at mile marker 96) downstream (north) to the inlet of Topaz Lake. Covered under Statewide regulation subsection 5.85(a)(2)

Yuba River, North Fork (Sierra and Yuba cos.) from the western boundary of Sierra City to the confluence with Ladies Canyon Creek. All year. Only artificial lures may be used. 2 trout. From Ladies Canyon Creek downstream to New Bullard’s Bar Reservoir. Covered under Statewide regulation subsection 5.85(a)(2)

Yuba River, from mouth to Englebright Dam (Yuba and Nevada cos.) - moved to 7.40(b)(123).

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