Is Fly Fishing Legal in California?

Fly Fishing, which is the art of using a rod and artificial fly to catch fish, has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years. It’s no surprise then that fly fishing enthusiasts across the country are wondering if the sport is legal in their state. In California, the answer is yes – fly fishing is legal throughout much of the state.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regulates fishing activities in California and has established specific regulations designed to protect fish populations and maintain healthy waterways. The CDFW has also set a daily bag limit for certain fish species, as well as size limits for some species.

Additionally, there are restrictions on when and where you can fish with a fly rod. For example, some areas may require that you use barbless hooks or artificial lures only.

Most of California’s major rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs are open to recreational fly fishing, but there are a few exceptions. For instance, certain areas may be closed or have special regulations due to endangered species or other conservation concerns.

Additionally, some waters may be closed during certain times of year due to spawning seasons or other wildlife concerns. It’s important to check with your local CDFW office before heading out to make sure you’re following all applicable regulations.

Fly fishing can be an enjoyable activity for anglers of all skill levels and ages. With proper preparation and knowledge about applicable regulations, it can be an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors in California.


Yes, Fly Fishing is legal in California as long as anglers abide by the regulations set by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). It’s important for anglers to research any local restrictions or special regulations before they go out on their fishing trips.

Photo of author

Michael Allen