Is Spearfishing With Scuba Gear Legal in California?

Spearfishing with scuba gear is a popular recreational activity that is practiced around the world. It involves using a spear gun to catch fish. In California, scuba-assisted spearfishing is legal, with some regulations in place to protect the environment and ensure user safety.


In California, spearfishing with scuba gear is legal in both fresh and saltwater, with some restrictions. Spearfishers are required to possess a valid fishing license and any additional permits or tags that may be necessary, depending on the type of fish they are Targeting. Spearfishers must also abide by the state’s size and bag limits for the species they are Targeting. In addition, spearfishing in certain protected areas may be prohibited or restricted.

Equipment Requirements

Spearfishers using scuba gear must follow specific equipment requirements.

All spearfishers must carry a minimum of one float line and one float flag while fishing from shore or from a boat. The float line should be at least 50 feet long and have an easily visible orange or yellow flag attached at the end. This helps other boaters spot divers underwater and avoid running over them. All divers must also carry an efficient signaling device such as a whistle or mirror, as well as an underwater light for nighttime diving.

Environmental Respect

Spearfishers using scuba gear in California must respect the environment by following safe practices and avoiding harmful activities such as harassing wildlife or damaging coral reefs or other marine habitats. Additionally, all divers should practice good buoyancy control techniques to minimize their impact on the environment while diving underwater.


In conclusion, spearfishing with scuba gear is legal in California but it is important to follow all regulations and equipment requirements in order to ensure user safety and respect for the environment.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins