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Where are the trout in California?

Fishing-license revenue often raided by other state agencies

Dixon Lake stopped depending on the state to supply the fish.
Dixon Lake stopped depending on the state to supply the fish.

A 2015 fishing license will set you back $47.01, plus a $5.21 ocean fishing stamp. Out-of-state residents will shell out $126.36.

Sportsmen active in the politics say the increasing cost of fishing licenses is due to declining fisheries — because of mismanagement by the state. They point out that fishing-license revenue is often raided by other state agencies to balance budgets or increase Department of Fish and Wildlife staffing and pensions.

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Fishing enthusiasts point out that Fish and Wildlife and the state legislature ignored Assembly Bill 7, passed in 2005, which mandated one-third of fishing-license fees earmarked for trout hatcheries. That equated to 2.75 pounds of fish per license sold.

In 2012, the legislature passed Senate Bill 1148, (senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), which changed the wording of AB7, from a “mandated” 2.75 pounds per license, to a “goal.”

Jim Tatum, CEO for the City of Bishop in the Eastern Sierras, says he’s looking at lakes half full of trout this year. “In 2014, 1.8 million fishing licenses were sold; that totals nearly five million pounds of trout, as opposed to the 750,000 pounds planted.”

Reportedly, the cost of fish plants is only two-tenths of one percent of the Fish and Wildlife budget. While fishing groups work with the legislature to change the reduction of fish-enhancement programs, lake and resort operators will continue to stock their own trophy-sized fish. Operators of public and private Southern California lakes purchase fish from private hatcheries as far away as Oregon and Nebraska. According to Tatum, “A trophy trout [four to ten pounds] costs about $5.75 a pound, about the same as a prime cut of beef.”

The decade-old continued reduction in state-funded fish plants is probably what caused local lakes, such as Dixon and Wohlford to stop depending on Fish and Wildlife plants years ago. By purchasing their own fish from private hatcheries, the city-owned lakes eliminated the need for a state fishing license. The City of Escondido supports their planting programs with the sale of daily fish permits, boat rentals, and lakeside concessions.

Local lakes that still depend on Fish and Wildlife plants, such as Chollas Park, Lake Hemet, and Lake Henshaw, and the City of San Diego lakes are mentioned less and less frequently in hot-bite catch reports.

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Dixon Lake stopped depending on the state to supply the fish.
Dixon Lake stopped depending on the state to supply the fish.

A 2015 fishing license will set you back $47.01, plus a $5.21 ocean fishing stamp. Out-of-state residents will shell out $126.36.

Sportsmen active in the politics say the increasing cost of fishing licenses is due to declining fisheries — because of mismanagement by the state. They point out that fishing-license revenue is often raided by other state agencies to balance budgets or increase Department of Fish and Wildlife staffing and pensions.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Fishing enthusiasts point out that Fish and Wildlife and the state legislature ignored Assembly Bill 7, passed in 2005, which mandated one-third of fishing-license fees earmarked for trout hatcheries. That equated to 2.75 pounds of fish per license sold.

In 2012, the legislature passed Senate Bill 1148, (senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), which changed the wording of AB7, from a “mandated” 2.75 pounds per license, to a “goal.”

Jim Tatum, CEO for the City of Bishop in the Eastern Sierras, says he’s looking at lakes half full of trout this year. “In 2014, 1.8 million fishing licenses were sold; that totals nearly five million pounds of trout, as opposed to the 750,000 pounds planted.”

Reportedly, the cost of fish plants is only two-tenths of one percent of the Fish and Wildlife budget. While fishing groups work with the legislature to change the reduction of fish-enhancement programs, lake and resort operators will continue to stock their own trophy-sized fish. Operators of public and private Southern California lakes purchase fish from private hatcheries as far away as Oregon and Nebraska. According to Tatum, “A trophy trout [four to ten pounds] costs about $5.75 a pound, about the same as a prime cut of beef.”

The decade-old continued reduction in state-funded fish plants is probably what caused local lakes, such as Dixon and Wohlford to stop depending on Fish and Wildlife plants years ago. By purchasing their own fish from private hatcheries, the city-owned lakes eliminated the need for a state fishing license. The City of Escondido supports their planting programs with the sale of daily fish permits, boat rentals, and lakeside concessions.

Local lakes that still depend on Fish and Wildlife plants, such as Chollas Park, Lake Hemet, and Lake Henshaw, and the City of San Diego lakes are mentioned less and less frequently in hot-bite catch reports.

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