California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Fish Culling during Black Bass Tournaments

Section 1.17 (Title 14, California Code of Regulations):

No more than one daily bag limit of each kind of fish, amphibian, reptile, mollusk or crustacean named in these regulations may be taken or possessed by any one person unless otherwise authorized; regardless of whether they are fresh, frozen, or otherwise preserved.

Section 7.00 (Title 14, California Code of Regulations) provides that in waters where the bag limit for trout or salmon is zero, fish for which the bag limit is zero must be released unharmed, and should not be removed from the water.

California Sport Fishing Regulations provide that anglers may take up to five bass per day when fishing, and fishing contest permit regulations provide that "insofar as possible; all fish shall be returned to the water alive and in good condition".

Definition of "Take" (Section 1.80, Title 14, California Code of Regulations):

To hunt, pursue, catch, capture or kill fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans or invertebrates or attempting to do so.

Section 230 (d)(1) (Title 14, California Code of Regulations):

No provisions of these regulations exempt any participant in a contest from the sport fishing regulations, except that the department may, for permitted contests, authorize an exemption to:

  • (A) Regulations which impose an increased minimum size limit larger than 12 inches, a slot size limit, or a reduced bag limit less than five fish for Type A contests, and;
  • B) Daily bag and possession limits for all permitted black bass contests, insofar that once the daily bag and possession limit has been reached by an individual angler, that same angler may continue to fish under the condition that each additional fish caught must immediately be returned to the water alive and in good condition, or be used to replace a fish being maintained alive and in good condition from the participant's livewell or other suitable holding facility.

Note that Section 230 (d)(1)(B) applies to all permitted black bass contests while Section 230 (d)(1)(A) applies only to Type A ('Event') contest permits for which the exemption has been authorized.