Welcome to 2022, have you purchased your new fishing license? You may notice the price increase up $1.34 from 2021, bringing the cost of the annual sportfishing license in 2022 to and even $54.00. New 2022 fishing licenses are valid from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022 and are available from any of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's license agents or online directly from CDFW's website. Anglers now also have the option to sign up for auto renewal of their annual sport fishing licenses, report cards and validations through CDFW's website. If you, like many anglers, were under the impression that new California fishing licenses would be valid for one year from the date of purchase and you could keep a valid copy on your phone read on.
Much was made of Assembly Bill 817 authored by Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) this past legislative session and signed into law by Governor Newsom. AB 817 made it possible for CDFW to provide an electronic display option for sport fishing license items and sell a sport fishing license that will be valid for 365 days from the purchase date rather than the calendar year. In true California fashion, a new law was created that has no way to be enacted. The state announced that implementation of this new law requires "technological infrastructure revisions", so neither provision will be available during the 2022 license year. Given the fact that California's EDD and just about every other department system are also in need of "technological infrastructure revisions" has many wondering if the aspects of this new law will ever be realized.
While an electronic version of your fishing license may not currently be available in California it is certainly not a bad idea to keep that info on your phone as a backup. One game warden told me that he encourages everyone to take a picture of your new fishing license, making sure all the information on the license is readable, and save it to your phone. A solid idea for sure, but if you are like me and have large quantities of pictures stored in a semi-organized manner on your phone, that one picture of your license could prove hart to find. To make it easily accessible at all times, create a contact in your phone named "Fishing License" and set the contact image as the picture of your license.
Keep in mind this is only a way to back up your license information and have it available easily, you still need to have your actual signed fishing license in your possession while fishing, the same as in years past.
Tight lines to you in 2022!
Capt. Bryan Roccucci
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