Fishing Contests, Tournaments and Derbies

ATTENTION: CDFW requests your engagement in developing regulations to improve the inland fishing contest (e.g., black bass tournament) permitting process. CDFW is proposing to revise the current fishing contest permitting regulations (Title 14, California Code of Regulations (14 CCR) § 230) to distribute fishing contest permits more efficiently and equitably. You may submit written input regarding this process at any time by emailing You may also visit the Fish and Game Commission 2022 calendar page for upcoming public comment opportunities.

If you have questions regarding how recent species listings or candidate listings under the California Endangered Species Act may affect fishing contests, please contact

Beginning in 1975, organizers offering prizes or other inducements for the taking of sport fish in any California water were required to obtain a fishing contest permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Since 1985, organizers have been required to submit a “Fishing Contest Report” to CDFW detailing the results of each permitted contest. In 1990, in an effort to gather more data, regulations were established that provided two types of contests, “Event” and “Annual.” An “Event” type contest permit is designed to regulate large fishing contests often run by commercial organizations. The “Annual” type contest permit is designed to gather data from smaller organized contests, such as those offered by bass clubs or individuals. Both types of contests are listed as they are entered into the tournament management database, and are available at the following link:

For more specific information about a contest listed, anglers should contact the contest sponsor directly.

Participating in a Fishing Contest

CDFW has a responsibility to approve or deny contest permits, but is not involved in individual angler participation. If you are an angler interested in registering and participating in a fishing contest, you need to contact the sponsor of the contest directly. A good first step is to browse upcoming, approved contests at the Pending and Approved Contests page where you can filter the results by specific locations, dates, sponsors or species. If you find a contest you are interested in, you need to contact the listed sponsor via internet search. CDFW does not provide sponsor contact information since not all contests are open to the public.

If you are new to bass fishing tournaments, please read Keeping Bass Alive (PDF) to ensure you are taking all appropriate measures to protect the resource and avoid tournament penalties for weighing dead fish. Good luck and tight lines!

Organizing a Fishing Contest

Tournament organizers must apply for a permit using the “Fishing Contest Application” form(s) provided below. If targeting black bass, the organizer should also review the special conditions for black bass contest permits; these conditions apply to all black bass fishing contests. To request exemption from typical fishing regulations (e.g. a slot limit or minimum length limit), organizers must complete an exemption form specific to that water and submit it with the application. This does not guarantee exemption; approval must be given by CDFW.

Angling Regulation Exemption Forms for Black Bass Tournament


Within 30 days of the completion of the fishing contest, tournament organizers must also submit fishing contest report. This report assists CDFW in monitoring the effects of tournament fishing pressure on public waters. Contests for black bass can be reported through the black bass online reporting form. All other contests should submit the “Fishing Contest Report Form (FG-776)” listed below.

Reports may be emailed to or mailed to:

ATTN: Contest Report
Fisheries Branch
1700 9th Street, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95811

Annual Black Bass Contest Permit Drawing

Current fishing contest permitting regulations are under consideration by the Fish and Game Commission. The 2022 black bass contest permit drawing will be conducted after the adoption of new regulations. This year’s drawing is anticipated to occur in September or October.

Every July, CDFW sponsors two permit drawings for black bass fishing contests to be held the following year, one in northern California and one in southern California. The drawings provide a forum for tournament sponsors to efficiently coordinate their fishing contests for the following year. If you are planning fishing contests that will offer prizes totaling more than $1,000 in value or attract more than 50 participants, we strongly recommend your attendance. The drawing is also an opportunity for tournament organizers to ask questions and learn new information about the statewide tournament management program.

Fishing Contest Report Summaries