Do You Need a License for Spearfishing in California?

Spearfishing is a popular activity for many people in California. It provides anglers with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the ocean’s denizens in a way that other forms of fishing cannot. But before you can begin your spearfishing adventure, you need to know whether or not a license is required for spearfishing in California.

The answer is yes, you do need a license for spearfishing in California.

This applies to both recreational and commercial fishermen alike. All anglers must obtain a valid fishing license from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) prior to engaging in any fishing activities, including spearfishing. The CDFW offers two main types of fishing licenses: General Fishing Licenses and Specialized Fishing Licenses.

To obtain a General Fishing License, applicants must be at least 16 years old and provide proof of residency or identity, such as a driver’s license or passport. Anglers under the age of 16 are not required to have a fishing license but must be accompanied by an adult who holds one.

Specialized Fishing Licenses are available for those who wish to engage in more specialized forms of fishing, such as spearfishing. These licenses come with additional restrictions and rules that must be followed.

Spearfishers should also familiarize themselves with local regulations when it comes to spearfishing in California waters. Depending on where you are fishing, there may be restrictions on the type of gear that can be used, catch limits, size limits, and other regulations that must be followed.


In conclusion, all anglers who wish to partake in spearfishing activities in California waters must obtain a valid fishing license from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to doing so. In addition, all local regulations pertaining to spearfishing should also be followed while engaging in this activity.

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Lindsay Collins