California Fishing Passport: Fishing Resources

Want to go fishing but don't quite know where to begin? This page is your one-stop shop for finding out what you need to know to begin fishing in California, or to expand your fishing horizons even if you have been an angler for years.

Tips and Techniques from Passport Program Partners

thumbnail of knot tying guide - link opens PDF file in new tab
Knot tying guide. Click to enlarge in new tab.
  • For the most accessible species (such as stocked trout, bluegill, and catfish), check out the CDFW Fishing in the City program's simple rigging guides
  • Berkley, one of our sponsors, has helpful knot typing videos(opens in new tab) to show you how to tie every knot you'll need to know and how to choose the best line for each knot. 
  • Concerned about whether or not your catch is safe to eat? Use the safe fish eating guidelines from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment(opens in new tab).
  • What do you do if you accidentally hook a seabird? Find out by reading the Outdoor California article, Give Them a Break, Not a Line by seabird biologist Nora Rojek.
  • For some cool fishing tutorials and tips, check out in new tab), an official Passport Program Supporter. Information on their site includes how to catch certain species, tackle rigging tutorials, and how to identify good fishing locations.
  • For more in-depth tutorials, check out the videos below produced by the CDFW Fishing Passport and Fishing in the City programs.

Saltwater Fishing Tutorial: Fishing with Live Bait

Saltwater Fishing Tutorial: How to Fish From a Pier

Saltwater Fishing Tutorial: Rockfish and Lingcod Fishing Tips and Tricks

Freshwater Fishing Tutorial: Introduction to Fishing

Freshwater Fishing Tutorial: Rigging and Knot Tying

Freshwater Fishing Tutorial: Casting and Safety

Find Fish Near You

kids fishing
  • The CDFW Fishing Guide map will show you where fish are being stocked, what regulations apply to areas of interest, historically good fishing locations, and much more. Use the Mobile Fishing Guide for on-the-go fishing references.
  • Living in the urban jungle doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors through fishing! CDFW's Fishing in the City program teaches anglers young and old how to fish the urban lakes and waterways of the Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas. Check out their page for urban fishing programs and resources.

Find Certified Fishing Guides or Charter Boats

a commercial passenger fishing vessel cruising on open ocean surrounded by seagulls
  • Hiring a certified fishing guide can help you learn new fishing skills, catch hard to find species, and show you the best environmentally responsible fishing practices. Why wander on your own when you could learn from the best? Find your guide from this list of professionals certified by CDFW(opens in new tab)
  • Want to catch those deep sea or large open-water species but don't have your own boat? There are hundreds of commercial passenger fishing vessels (CPFVs, also know as "party boats") at almost every fishing harbor on the California coast.

Understand the regulations before hitting the water

thumbnail sized photo of the officially recognized measurement methods for finfish and shellfish
Measurement Methods. Click to enlarge in new tab.
Flyer showing a black rockfish and a blue rockfish highlighting different ID markers
Black vs. Blue Rockfish. Click to enlarge in new tab.
Flyer showing canary, vermilion, and yelloweye rockfish highlighting different ID markers
Canary vs. Vermillion Rockfish. Click to enlarge in new tab.
Flyer showing different surfperch species
Common Surfperches of California. Click to enlarge in new tab.

Office of Communications, Education and Outreach
P.O. Box 944209, Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
(916) 322-8911