California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Program Description

WHAT is the California Fishing Passport program?

This is a new fishing incentive and angler recognition program designed to highlight and promote fishing throughout the state. A California Fishing Passport book serves as the basis of the program and it lists 150 different species of popular fresh and saltwater finfish and shellfish that occur throughout the state. With this passport book as a guide, anglers are encouraged to "Take the Challenge" to get out, go fishing, and try to catch one of every species listed. For each successful catch, participants will receive a stamp in their passport book documenting each achievement and become eligible for additional recognition and awards.

The Passport program is intended to provide adventure-seeking anglers with years of recreational opportunities, and to highlight and promote the many unique and diverse fishery resources available throughout California.

WHO can participate and "Take the Passport Challenge?"

Passports will be provided free of charge to everyone who has purchased an annual California fishing license, and to children 15 years and under, upon their request. We are not able to provide bulk orders of passport books to groups.

WHERE can I get my passport book and stamps?

Passport books and verifying stamps are available from all 10 official CDFW licensing offices and from licensing staff at sportsmen’s shows (Fred Hall Fishing Tackle, Boat and Travel shows and the International Sportsmens Expositions). They are also available from stamping agents throughout the state. You can also send an e-mail request for a passport book to publications@wildlife.ca.gov.

HOW can anglers verify their catches and get stamps for their Passports?

For each new species caught, verify the species, take a photo of the fish if possible, and fill in the catch report section of the passport book with all the data requested. If a camera is unavailable or if no photo is taken, the angler may have a fishing partner or another witness who is present certify the authenticity of the species caught by signing their name on the witness line for that species in the book. If the catch is kept, the species may also be verified by the stamping agent, who then signs on the Witness line in the passport. Catch-and-release is encouraged where appropriate/required, but released fish must be verified by photo or witness signature in the passport book.

Anglers may take their books and any verifying photos to an official CDFW licensing office, to the sportsmen’s shows listed above, or to any authorized stamping agent to verify and stamp their book.

WHY has this program been established and WHY is the CDFW promoting it?

California is a state of remarkable outdoor recreational opportunities with an unrivaled diversity of fishing, boating and outdoor experiences. With 1,100 miles of ocean coastline, 220,000 square miles of ocean waters, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 29,664 miles of streams and rivers, and 1,800 miles of bay and delta waters, California has more fishing opportunities than any other state in the nation.

WHAT are the major benefits of this program?

California has the greatest variety and amount of fishing opportunities available anywhere in the country. This program is designed to help guide people on a lifetime journey of fishing trips throughout the state and to help all who accept the Passport Challenge to engage in the full depth of possible fishing experiences that this beautiful state has to offer! Some of these benefits include:

  • Quality time with family and friends: Time spent in the outdoors with family and friends while enjoying fishing, boating and camping are cited by many as true "quality time" together. The Passport program encourages this and will soon offer opportunities for team/family/mentor competitions and incentives which will encourage more family outings focused on fishing and outdoor activities. Mentoring opportunities will also be highly encouraged.

  • Economic benefits: This program directly supports California's tremendous $4.9 billion per year annual sport fishing industry. Virtually all types of fishing industry businesses and supporters stand to benefit economically in some way from this program (e.g. tourism, guides and charter boats, bait and tackle shops, sporting goods businesses, etc.)

  • Ethical fishing practices and concepts of conservation: Everyone will be encouraged to maintain high ethical fishing standards, to use appropriate catch-and-release methods when appropriate, and to utilize good conservation practices.

  • Appreciation for California's aquatic and fishery resources. Anglers will not only learn new fishing skills, they'll also gain a greater understanding and appreciation for California's incredibly diverse fishery and aquatic resources, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife's many fishery management programs designed to maintain and enhance them.

  • Personal challenges: The California Fishing Passport program is fun and easy to get involved in, as well as challenging with broad appeal for everyone - from children fishing for the first time to seasoned anglers who think they've already done it all. Everyone will find new personal challenges and new goals to strive for.

  • New skills to build greater expertise: In order to catch all of the 150 most popular finfish and shellfish species listed in the passports, anglers of all ages and experience levels are challenged to try using different types of tackle, fishing techniques and methods, and to build new levels of personal fishing proficiency and expertise.

  • More quality time in the outdoors: California abounds with a tremendous amount of different outdoor recreational opportunities, and for anyone looking for new fishing trip ideas, the California Fishing Passport program will be their guide to help lead them on a lifetime journey full of fishing adventures throughout the Golden State!