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Talking Golden Trout, Boats And Bears In California
California Outdoors 6-26-19
California golden trout is a species native to the state and was named the state’s official fish in 1947.

Talking Golden Trout, Boats And Bears In California


Learning About Trout

Question: I have to do a report on the California golden trout at my school. Is the California golden trout important to California because it looks colorful, or is it because the state of California is called the ”Golden State” and the fish’s colors are close to looking gold? California golden trout are amazing fish to me! (Kaito N., 4th grade)

Answer: What a great school project! We hope the project helps you develop a better appreciation not just for golden trout, but for all of California’s native fishes. Golden trout were first described by fish biologists in 1892 and were named golden trout because of their brilliant golden yellow body color. Some say they are the most beautiful trout in the world. They were designated as the official state fish of California in 1947, in recognition of their great beauty and because they are native only to California. Other state symbols, such as the golden poppy (state flower) were also designated for the same reasons; they are distinctive to California.

We encourage you to establish a goal to see golden trout with your own eyes in its natural habitat. (Hint: it may require you to hike to a high elevation stream!) If your family enjoys fishing, you might also want to check out the Western Native Trout Challenge, a recently launched program that challenges anglers to catch native trout in their home state, at their own pace. California golden trout is included on California’s list!


Bears in urban areas?

Question: It seems like there have been a lot of instances of bears in urban areas recently. I’ve heard of several cases where the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) had to tranquilize a bear and move it out of a residential neighborhood. Why does this seem to be happening more frequently? (Stephanie)

Answer: Yes, there’s been an increase in the number of bear calls, compared to other times of the year. But that’s something we see every year in the springtime. A lot of these bears are two-year-olds that are venturing out on their own for the first time. They’re exploring their surroundings, following food and water sources, and they sometimes take a wrong turn and end up where they’re not supposed to be.

Sometimes adult bears can find themselves in a similar predicament. Bears are in search of food (and sometimes mates) this time of year, and that search can lead them into areas with a dense human population. Often these bears can find their own way home, given enough time and space. In some cases, if there are too many people or other reasons why the bear cannot safely retreat to the wild on its own, CDFW staff will intervene.

We recently published a list of seven things to know about California bear activity that you might find interesting.


Boat owner liability?

Question: I’m the owner of a small recreational boat for ocean fishing. If somebody on my boat violates Fish and Wildlife laws (such as a hook barb not completely removed for salmon fishing), am I liable in any way for this violation? What are my legal “game law” responsibilities for my boat guests? (John S.)

Answer: In ocean waters, boat limits apply to all persons on board. “All persons aboard a vessel may be cited where violations involving boat limits are found, including, but not limited to the following violations: A-Over limits: B-Possession of prohibited species: C-Violation of size limits: D-Fish taken out of season or in closed areas” (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.60). If the issue is illegal gear, the officer will try to determine who was using the illegal gear. Regulation books are usually available wherever fishing licenses are sold, via our website, or your phone. We encourage California anglers to learn ahead of time what regulations may apply to the species of fish you are targeting and the location where you are fishing. Understanding the regulations helps everyone enjoy their time out fishing.


Ownership of alligator or crocodile parts in 2020

Question: I have heard starting in 2020 that the sale of any alligator or crocodile parts will be banned in the state. What if a person acquires parts (like a skull, teeth or hide) before the law goes into effect? Will they be able to possess their parts but just not be able to sell them? (Christian F.)

Answer: Yes. Once the ban goes into effect on Jan 1, 2020, it will be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $1,000 and $5,000 “to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of a crocodile or alligator,” per California Penal Code 653o. People who already possess parts or products prior to when the ban goes into effect can continue to possess what they have, but they cannot sell these items.


California Outdoors is a column published by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to answer your questions about California’s many fish and wildlife species, hunting and fishing methods, regulations and opportunities and natural resource conservation. If you have a question you would like to see answered in the California Outdoors Q and A column, email it to