Is Spearfishing Allowed in California?

Spearfishing is a popular and ancient method of fishing that has been used for centuries. It involves using a spear or other sharp implement to catch fish from the water. Spearfishing is an exciting sport that has gained in popularity throughout the world.

California is a popular destination for spearfishing due to its favorable climate and abundance of fish. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regulates all fishing activities in the state, including spearfishing. CDFW allows recreational spearfishing in coastal waters and certain inland lakes, rivers, and streams.

However, there are some restrictions that must be followed when spearfishing in California.

Spearfishers must have a valid California fishing license when they are hunting in coastal waters or inland waters that are designated as open to spearfishing by CDFW. They may also be required to obtain additional permits depending on the location they are hunting in. Spearfishers must also obey all local regulations regarding the type of gear they can use and the size of fish they can take.

The use of certain types of gear is prohibited while spearfishing, such as gaffs, nets, explosives, firearms, trolling rigs, or any device used to pursue or take marine life other than by hand-held spears. It is also illegal to possess any species which is protected under California law while spearfishing.

Spearfishers are also required to practice safe and responsible fishing practices while out on the water. This includes following all boating laws as well as being aware of their surroundings and other users of the waterway such as swimmers or other vessels.


In conclusion, it is legal to engage in recreational spearfishing in California according to CDFW regulations; however there are certain rules that must be followed in order for it to be done safely and responsibly. It is important for anyone engaging in this activity to read up on the local regulations before heading out on the water so that they have a safe and enjoyable experience

Photo of author

Emma Gibson