Q: I was always taught as a kid when fishing in the streams in the high Sierras and Mother Lode lakes that children under 16 had to count their catches under their licensed parent’s or other adult’s license on site.

My question is, can a child capable of catching their own fish without assistance from an adult catch a limit of trout, for example, separate from a licensed adult? I see this come up with parents who want to take their kids fishing (and the kids really want to learn how to fish!), but the parents are not interested enough to buy a fishing license.

I’m interested in taking a group of kids fishing but can’t figure out how many licenses we’ll need and how many fish we can legally take. Some of these kids are too young for a license but really want to catch their own fish. Can you please clarify this for me? (Doug M.)

A: A child or young adult 15 years of age or younger does not need a fishing license to catch their own limit of fish. They also do not need to put their catches under an adult guardian’s license limit. All of the same regulations apply for them except the requirement to purchase a fishing license. However, if fishing for sturgeon, abalone, lobster or steelhead (which all need additional report cards), then they will have to purchase those.

Tips for Pig Hunting

Q: What are the rules for hunting wild pigs, and where can I find maps or private farms were I can go to hunt them? (Isaac G.)

A: According to California Department of Fish & Game wild pig program manager Marc Kenyon, “I am asked this same question all the time!” Before going into the field, Kenyon suggests you first read the California Mammal Hunting Regulations, especially sections 352-355 and 368 (click here to view online).

A good reference publication is DFG’s “Guide to Hunting Wild Pigs in California.” It details some of the finer points of hunting pigs and provides hunting information for public lands. Click here to download. DFG also offers some special pig hunts, some of which are on private lands (click here). In addition, commercial hunting club information can be found by clicking here.

Lastly, you may benefit from attending an advanced pig hunting education clinic. These clinics take basic hunter education to the next level by having experienced hunters teach advanced techniques, pig behavior, hunter ethics and more. They also provide a discussion of places to go and a demonstration of cleaning and butchering a pig. More information and a schedule of upcoming classes are available by clicking here.

Storing Abalone in the Freezer

Q: Regulations literally say abalone must remain in the shell until ready for immediate consumption. Does an abalone stored at home in the freezer really have to remain in the shell? If so, if intestines and guts are still attached, isn’t there a possibility of food poisoning occurring? (Anonymous)

A: The law does require that abalone remain attached to the shell until ready for immediate consumption. If you freeze the entire abalone whole and intact until ready for immediate consumption, the flesh and the guts are both preserved by freezing and should offer no health risks.

California or Arizona License Required?

Q: I’m going camping in Buckskin Mountain State Park in Arizona.

Am I allowed to fish on the Colorado River there with a California fishing license since the river is split with California? Would I have to be on the other side of the river with my current license, or would I need a fishing stamp (Colorado River Validation)? (Aye F.)

A: Your California fishing license is only valid when fishing from shore on the California side of the Colorado River. In order to fish from a boat in the Colorado River, you must have both a California sport fishing license and an Arizona special use stamp or validation. The required Colorado river stamp must be purchased through a California DFG license agent in the area. Arizona licensees must buy their stamps through Arizona Game and Fish Department license agents.

For more information, please review the 2012-13 Freshwater Sportfishing Regulation booklet (page 7) available wherever sportfishing licenses are sold or online by clicking here.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Game. She can be reached at cwilson@dfg.ca.gov.