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Department of Fish and Game

September 17, 2003

Contacts: Ethan Rotman, South Bay Fishing in the City Coordinator,
(415) 892-0460; Troy Swauger, Information Officer, (916)
654-2096

Second Free Fishing Day set for Sept. 27

The second of two annual Free Fishing Days on all California waterways is Saturday, Sept. 27, once again allowing people to become acquainted with angling without the cost of purchasing a license.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) explains that on Free Fishing Days anglers are not required to carry a sports fishing license or stamps. However all other regulations, such as season and bag limits remain in effect. "California offers plentiful and varied aquatic resources, from high mountain lakes, streams and rivers, to hundreds of miles of access to the Pacific Ocean," said Ethan Rotman, coordinator of DFG's South Bay Fishing in the City program. The state offers 4,800 lakes and reservoirs, 80 major rivers with nearly 30,000 miles of river and stream banks, and more than 1,100 miles of coastline.

"Fishing provides a positive experience that the entire family can enjoy together," Rotman said. "Surveys conducted by fishing associations show that Americans believe fishing and boating are the best ways to spend quality time with their families."

Introduced nationally in the early 1970s through a Presidential resolution, the first of two free fishing days accompanies National Fishing Week in June. The second free fishing opportunity coincides with National Hunting and Fishing Day, routinely set for the fourth Saturday in September. California and New Mexico are the only two states west of the Mississippi that hold two annual Free Fishing Days.

The Department's Urban Fishing Program, which started in 1993, serves Californians living in the Sacramento, San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. The program's Fishing in the City clinics gives city dwellers an opportunity to learn how to fish, and to fish close to home. It also gives participants an opportunity to borrow rods, bait and tackle through the Tackle Loaner Program. Clinics help educate people about fish habits, proven methods of catching fish, and the tackle needed.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Department's South Bay Fishing in the City program will sponsor a free learn-to-fish clinic at Vasona County Park in Los Gatos. While there is no admission fee, there is a park entrance fee. DFG will offer a 40-minute clinic that covers casting, safety, ethics, rigging, and pollution. The program will provide all tackle and equipment, and will plant catfish at specific areas prior to the event. For more information, contact Rotman at (415) 892-0460.

In Sacramento, DFG has a fishing clinic from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Free Fishing Day at William Land Park. The clinic, held at the pond across from the Sacramento Zoo on Land Park Drive, will include free loans of rods, bait and tackle. The Department has stocked 300 pounds of channel catfish for the event. Also during the Free Fishing Day weekend, DFG will stock catfish in eight other Sacramento area ponds, including Southside Park, Gibson Ranch, Howe, Hagan, North Laguna, Elk Grove, Oak Grove, and Mather. For more information, contact (916) 358-1644.

In Southern California, DFG will partnership with Los Angeles County at Hollenbeck Park to hold a learn-to-fish clinic from 8 a.m. to noon. DFG and the county will stock the lake with channel catfish prior to Free Fishing Day. A second how-to-fish clinic will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area, off the 605 Freeway in San Dimas. DFG will stock catfish prior to the day. There is a charge for parking at the recreational area.

As an added bonus at the Hollenbeck Park event, anyone participating in the clinic will receive "The Definitive Guide to Fishing in Southern California," by author Chris Shaffer. Shaffer's guide lists 135 lakes, rivers and streams, offers a rating system, accurate directions and updated stocking information. It even lists the best times to fish.

For information about the Urban Fishing Program in the Los Angeles metropolitan areas, call (562) 342-7148.

For more information on fishing programs, go to DFG's Web page: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/coned/fishcity.html .

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