Californians rediscover joys, health benefits of fishing as National Go Fishing Day approaches June 18

In trying times, many Californians have turned to the fishing rod for relief, according to a statement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

National Go Fishing Day arrives Thursday, June 18 providing yet another opportunity for veteran anglers and newcomers alike to get outside, renew, recharge and soak up the California outdoors.

California has issued more fishing licenses in 2020 than the state issued through this same time last year. Annual resident sport fishing license sales are up 10 percent so far in 2020. Overall, California sport fishing licenses — which include resident, nonresident, annual, short-term and lifetime licenses among others — are up 3 percent in 2020.

Californians have discovered that fishing can provide a safe and healthy physical distancing activity and offers physical and mental relief in stressful times. Fishing can supplement a family’s diet with heart-healthy, low-fat sustainable protein. Fishing remains one of the limited entertainment options currently available to many Californians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Go Fishing Day arrives as California’s fishing seasons are in full swing statewide following some COVID-19 related delays to the start of ocean salmon seasons and the general trout opener. From offshore tuna out of San Diego to high mountain trout in the Eastern Sierra and black bass and sunfish in neighborhood parks and ponds across the state, California anglers have nearly unlimited fishing options available to them this time of year.

The surge in 2020 California fishing licenses supports anecdotal observations pouring in for months. Bait, tackle, fly fishing shops and other outdoor retailers have reported brisk business in selling fishing equipment. CDFW wildlife officers in the field noticed an uptick in fishing activity where it was available in the early days of shelter-in-place mandates.

CDFW’s fish hatcheries have continued to stock catchable trout and salmon smolts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to provide current and future fishing opportunities to California anglers.

Those 16 and older are required to have a valid California fishing license in their possession while fishing. CDFW offers several fishing license options — from the traditional, annual license to one- and two-day licenses to lifetime licenses that are valid even if the holder moves out of state. Licenses can be purchased online or at participating retail sales agents.

CDFW provides a number of online resources to anglers at its R3 webpages to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and anglers in California.

CDFW reminds anglers to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Staying home in order to stay healthy is still the best way to keep yourself and others safe. Anglers are also advised to check with local authorities on the status of access points as many site closures and access restrictions exist and may change daily.