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Outdoors Q&A: How to Fish the Lobster Opener?

Mouth calls for deer allowed

California spiny lobsters.
California spiny lobsters. ( Derek Stein, CDFW)

Question: I have some questions about how to best fish the lobster opener. I know lobster season has a new start time and opens at 6 a.m. Sept. 30. If the hoop wet time is a maximum two hours, can I drop my hoops at 4:15 a.m. Sept. 30, and pull them after the start time of 6 a.m.? (George G.)

Answer: No. Attempting to take lobsters is considered “fishing,” so if you drop your hoop nets before the season officially opens, you will be fishing out of season. The recreational lobster season officially opens at 6 a.m. on the first day of the season.

The two-hour wet time just means the net must be checked every two hours once it is legally in the water. So if you legally drop your hoop nets in the water at 6 a.m., they must be serviced by 8 a.m.

There are also three other new regulations that will go into effect for the 2017-18 recreational lobster fishing season:

Hoop-net buoys south of Point Arguello in Santa Barbara County must now be legibly marked with the operator’s GO ID number for identification and enforcement purposes. Your GO ID number can be found on your sport fishing license and your lobster report card.

While diving for crustaceans (including lobsters), divers may be in possession of spearfishing equipment as long as possession of this equipment is otherwise lawful and is not being used to aid in the take of crustaceans (including lobsters).

Measuring requirements have been clarified to allow for measuring lobster aboard a boat when hoop netting. The change will allow hoop-netters to bring spiny lobsters aboard a vessel where they can be measured safely.

All lobsters shall be measured immediately, and any undersize lobster shall be released immediately into the water. Divers shall measure lobsters while in the water and shall not remove undersized lobsters from the water.

Hoop-netters may measure lobsters out of the water, but no undersize lobster may be placed in any type of receiver, kept on a person or retained in any person’s possession or under his or her direct control.

These new regulations can be found on pages 36-38 in the 2017-2018 California Saltwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet available online, at CDFW offices and most tackle shops where fishing licenses are sold.

For more information on the new recreational lobster fishing regulations, visit our website.

Mouth calls for deer

Q: I am going deer hunting with some friends next week, and one of my buddies swears by using deer mouth calls to get their attention. He says they sound like the grunts of bucks during the rut. He says he also sometimes uses predator calls to pique their curiosity.

Is it okay to use mouth calls for hunting deer in California? (Richard T.)

A: Yes, as long as the sounds are not generated electronically or amplified.

Record fish caught from private waters

Q: How does the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) handle or verify potential record-sized fish when caught from a private lake requiring catch and release (unharmed) of that species? (Jim Stevens)

A: CDFW does not keep records of record fish caught from private waters. For consideration for a State Inland Waters Record, the fish must be taken from a water open to the general public for fishing, and certain verifying procedures must be followed.

For more information on how to certify a possible state record fish taken by diving or fishing, please check out our Fishing and Diving Records webpage.

Carrying an additional handgun for protection

Q: I am a California police officer. I was drawn for a G1-C4 Late Season Buck tag. I also have a bear tag. I am planning on hunting with my group.

As a sworn law-enforcement officer, I am allowed to carry a handgun while off-duty as per my department policy and state law. Can I carry my firearm for defense while hunting? Not to be used for hunting, but in case of a bear or other animal attack.

We will be hunting with rifles, but the more I read about hunting, the more I hear about the occasional bear attack. (Brian B.)

A: Yes, hunters can carry a handgun in addition to their rifle while hunting during a general season. That said, bear attacks are very uncommon.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at [email protected].

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