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California Outdoors 4/24/19
Fishing With Young Children
Kid fish pix.png
Taking your kids fishing is a great way to instill in them a lifetime passion for fishing and the outdoors and it’s also a great way to spend family time together. CDFW Photo By Travis VanZant

Question: I have four-year-old twin daughters and am looking forward to taking them fishing. I am a bit apprehensive about keeping my eye on both girls, plus the two to three rods, tackle and bait. What if I bring mommy or grandpa along to help? I am a licensed angler but neither mommy or grandpa have fishing licenses, nor would they even want to fish aside from helping my daughters. If I am assisting one of my daughters with her rod, and while doing so the other daughter suddenly needs help with her rod, would my wife or father-in-law be allowed to step in to help my other daughter even if they are without fishing licenses?

And while on this subject, if I am holding two rods at once and assisting the girls, could a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer cite me for not having an extra rod permit? (Jason D.)

Answer: First of all, we are happy to hear you are taking your kids fishing! We hope it impresses upon them a lifetime passion for fishing and the outdoors. You’ll probably agree that fishing is a great way to spend family time together.

Since you already have a fishing license, you can always assume control over one of the rods. Purchasing a second-rod validation for $15.12 may help with your situation in the event you need to assume control over another rod. But to answer your question, your daughters should be doing the fishing by closely attending their rods and no one should be controlling their rods or reeling their fish in for them unless licensed. Mom or grandpa may help the girls with things like untangling lines and baiting hooks but when it comes to attending the rod with a line in the water and then reeling lines in, especially if a fish is hooked, that must be all them.

To specifically answer your question about a second rod validation, you should not be cited for fishing with two rods as long as your daughters are doing their own fishing as described above. One of the biggest problems in this scenario is if one of your daughters must leave to use the restroom or they get tired of fishing and want to go do something else. At that point they must reel their lines in and stop fishing. You cannot hold onto their rods and continue to fish for them if they step away.

One last FYI – juveniles who are 15 years old or younger are allowed to fish with two rods each in most inland waters, but that is of course after they have mastered the use of one rod!


Do California hunting licenses cover archery and crossbows, too?

Question: I have a hunting license. Can I legally hunt with a bow under this license or does it only cover firearm hunting? I am asking because I have had my hunting license for about three years now and have recently purchased a compound bow. What about crossbows? (Tomas C.)

Answer: Yes! Your California hunting license covers hunting with firearms, muzzleloaders, archery equipment and crossbows. In some states, a crossbow is considered archery equipment, but in California it is not. A crossbow may only be used during general seasons.


Fishing 9-mile bank?

Question: In Southern California, the depth restrictions are being extended down to 75 fathoms (fm). For decades, the 9-mile bank off San Diego has been closed. There are portions of the 9-mile bank shallower than 450 feet, so it seems that those portions would now be open. However, when I read the wording, it refers to Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, Part 66 subpart C for definition of the 75 fm line. The most recent copy I could find was 2014 and it seemed like there were four zones for the 75 fm curve; coastal, Northern Channel islands, San Clemente and Catalina. The coordinates are all connect-the-dots. I did not connect the dots, but if the line is continuous, I would assume offshore banks are excluded, meaning the 9-mile bank will still be closed. Can you please clarify? (William H.)

Answer: Unfortunately, just as in the past, even the pinnacles or banks that occur offshore with high points that are shallow enough to fall within the maximum depth allowance are not legal to be fished. Therefore, the 14-mile bank, 9-mile bank, 60-mile bank, and all similar banks or shallow points beyond the federal waypoints boundary are still closed.


Recreational Dungeness fishery still open?

Question: I heard about the recent proposed closure of the Dungeness crab fishery. Is that only the commercial fishery, or recreational too? Are other trap fisheries closing? (Jim)

Answer: This closure only applies to the commercial Dungeness crab fishery. Recreational (including commercial passenger fishing vessels) Dungeness crab, recreational and commercial rock crab, and other trap fisheries are not affected by the closure.


California Outdoors is a column published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to answer your questions about California’s many fish and wildlife species, hunting and fishing methods, regulations and opportunities and natural resource conservation. If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to