Steelhead Report and Restoration Card

Woman Fishing

CDFW Photo by Leslie Alber

CDFW uses Steelhead Report and Restoration Card data to track angling trends over time. The data is used in making fisheries management and regulatory decisions. The information submitted by steelhead anglers directly influences the way your steelhead rivers are managed. 

Funds generated from the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card sales are dedicated to managing steelhead fisheries and supporting the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card program.

Purchasing a Steelhead Report Card

Where to Purchase:


Prior to purchasing your steelhead report card you must have a valid sport fishing license.

Reporting Your Steelhead Harvest

Reporting Period: January 1st - 31st

Report your harvest by mail to:
Steelhead Report Card
PO BOX 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244

Filling Out Your Steelhead Report Card

Before You Fish

Enter the day, month, and location code BEFORE beginning to fish and when you move to a new location code.

  • These columns must be filled out whether or not you catch fish.

Example of the information on your Steelhed Report Card that should be filled in before you fish.

While You Are Fishing

Immediately upon retaining a hatchery steelhead, write a tally mark under the "Hatchery Kept" column.

Example of the information on your Steelhed Report Card that should be filled in while you are fishing

When You Finish Fishing or Move to a New Location

Immediately after you finish fishing for the day or you move to a new location code, record all wild and hatchery steelhead that you released and the number of hours you fished.

Example of the information on your Steelhed Report Card that should be filled in when you finish fishing for the day or move to a new location code.

If You Did Not Fish

If you did not fish for steelhead during the year your report card is valid, check "DID NOT FISH" at the top of the Steelhead Report Card.

Example of checking the "DID NOT FISH" box on your Steelhed Report Card

Steelhead Report Card Data and Funds

The Information Your Steelhead Report Card Provides

The information collected from Steelhead Report Cards allows CDFW to assess angling trends by evaluating data such as the number of fish caught and the number of fishing trips reported. This data is graphed below by month for each location code (2016 through 2018). Detailed information regarding the analysis of report card data can be found within the   link opens in new windowadministrative (PDF) and link opens in new window legislative reports (PDF).
Total Catch and Number of Fishing Trips by Location Code

Your Steelhead Report Card Funds at Work

South Fork Eel River Adult Steelhead Sonar Monitoring Project

California Trout, Inc.

    North Cow Creek Fish Barrier Removal

    Western Shasta Resource Conservation District

Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations For Steelhead

Keeping Up With In-Season Regulation Changes

State sport fishing regulations may change during the year. Before engaging in any sport fishing, please access one of the following sources for up-to-date information:

Who Needs a Steelhead Report Card

Any person who is 16 years of age or older must have a sport fishing license to take any kind of fish, mollusk, invertebrate, amphibian, or crustacean in California, except for persons angling from a public pier in ocean or bay waters.

Any person fishing for steelhead  must have in their immediate possession a valid non-transferable report card issued by CDFW for steelhead. Anglers who are not required to have a sport fishing license (e.g. anglers under 16 years old, anglers fishing on Free Fishing Days) are required to have a Steelhead Report Card when fishing for steelhead. Steelhead Report card requirements apply to anyone fishing for steelhead regardless of whether a sport fishing license is required.

Steelhead Report Card Requirements

  • Prior to beginning fishing activity, the cardholder must record the month, day, and location code on the first available line on the report card.
  • When a hatchery steelhead is retained, the cardholder must immediately mark the appropriate field.
  • When the cardholder moves to another location code, or finishes fishing for the day, the angler must immediately record on the card the number of wild and hatchery steelhead that were released from that location.
  • In the event an angler fills in all lines and returns a Steelhead Fishing Report and Restoration Card, an additional card must be purchased to continue to fish for steelhead.

Fishing With a One, Two, or Ten-Day Sport Fishing License

If your one, two, or ten-day Sport Fishing License expires you may replace the expired license without purchasing a new report card so long as the report card is still valid.

Returning Your Report Card


The deadline for returning report cards is January 31st of the following year. Reporting can be done online (preferred), or by mail or in person at the address specified on the card.

Reporting Online

If you report online you will be provided a confirmation number upon successful submission. The report card holder must record the confirmation number in the space provided on the report card and retain the report card for 90 days after the reporting deadline. Report cards submitted online must be surrendered to CDFW upon demand.

Reporting by Mail

A report card returned by mail shall be postmarked by the date the report card is due.

Failure to Return Your Report Card

If you fail to return your report card to CDFW by the deadline you may be restricted from obtaining the same card in a subsequent license year or may be subject to an additional free for the issuance of the same card in a subsequent license year.

If your report card is submitted by mail and not received by CDFW, it is considered not returned unless you report your card as lost.

Lost Report Cards

If your report card is lost during the period for which it is valid you may purchase an additional report card. Catch information from the lost report shall be reported online or by submitting an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury, to a CDFW license sales office containing the following information:

  • The report card holder's full name, GOID#, and a statement confirming that the originally issued report card is lost and cannot be recovered.
  • A statement containing the report card holder's best recollection of the prior catch records that were entered on the report card that was lost.
  • A statement describing the factual circumstances surrounding the loss of the report card. 

DO NOT report catch information from a lost card on your new report card

Filleting of Salmonids In Inland Waters

All steelhead taken in inland anadromous waters where a sport fishing license is required, must be kept in a condition that the species, size of the fish, and the presence or absence of a healed adipose fin scar, can be determined until the fish is placed at the angler's permanent residence, a commercial preservation facility, or being prepared for immediate consumption.

Steelhead Report Card Location Codes

Thumbnail of a map of 20 location codes included in the steelhead report card program

Santa Maria River to the Mexican border (location code 14)

Origin of Your Catch

Hatchery steelhead may be kept in selected waters

Steelhead Origin

For the purpose of this regulation steelhead are defined as any rainbow trout greater than 16 inches in length found in anadromous waters.


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