Reduced cost fishing licenses to be available in new year


December 27, 2001

It's time to get your new fishing license for 2002.

As usual, the state will soak you, as only California can, for the privilege of fishing. I haven't checked all the states but I'm willing to bet a California fishing license costs more than any other state in the union.

The increased cost for this year is $30.45. That's $1.05 more than last year. If you want to fish with two rods, tack on another $9.70. To fish on the Colorado River an additional stamp is required that costs $3. The total comes to $43.15. To add insult to injury, you have to wear the damn thing around your neck, like a ball and chain, while fishing.

California leads the nation in license sales. There is no reason a license should cost so much. Just for fun I checked to see how much a resident has to pay for a comparable fishing license in Texas. Texas sells the second-largest amount of fishing licenses in the nation. Their resident license is only $19. To fish on water between Oklahoma and Texas requires a $7.50 stamp. You get to fish with two rods for free so the total comes to only $26.50. That's $16.65 cheaper than California's license.


Incensed with that information, I checked what California's contiguous states charge for the same privileges. A citizen in Arizona only pays $29, in Oregon a license costs $19.75, and in Nevada a license is still $9.15 cheaper at $34. Wear that license with pride folks. You paid dearly for it.

But wait, that's not all! For the first time in history, when you buy your two-rod stamp this year, it will be valid on the waters of the Colorado River. Of course Arizona fishermen with a two-rod stamp have been able to fish with two rods on the Colorado for more than 10 years.

A warm and fuzzy feeling press release extols all the virtues of the two-rod stamp and how its horizons have been broadened to include the Colorado River.

They even mention it as a great stocking stuffer idea. Boy, why didn't I think of that? Our silver wedding anniversary is just around the corner. Now wouldn't that make the ideal gift for the little lady?

In addition, Arizona Game and Fish will honor the second-rod stamp on the shore of the Arizona state side of the Colorado River.

"Basically where the California fishing license with the Colorado River stamp has been honored before with a California license, river stamp and second pole stamp, it will be honored now," said Becky Wright, law enforcement project manager for Arizona Game and Fish's Yuma region. "That includes Mittry Lake near Yuma, Topoc Marsh north of Lake Havasu and the Colorado River."

"Anglers can double their opportunities with this stamp in an area that prior to Dec. 31 you were unable to do," said Mike McBride, a Southern California regional patrol chief for the DFG. "Now anywhere you can fish in the district you can use two poles. We hope to put a big smile on the faces of anglers with this opportunity to expand their fishing techniques. A lot of folks will enjoy being able to put out that second rod."

Hey, while I'm on a roll, let me tell you how you can get a reduced-fee California fishing license and wildlife area pass if you meet certain criterion. They will be available at the Wal-Mart store in El Centro from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jan. 11 and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Jan. 12 The cost is only $4.75

If you are age 65 or older and receiving aid to the aged, you can qualify. If you are age 65 or older and your total monthly income from all sources does not exceed $712 per month or $1,265 per month for married persons, you can qualify. Be sure to bring your last year's reduced fee license or an income verification printout from your Social Security office to show you are eligible.

Also, if you are a honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces with a service connected disability of 50 percent or more, you can qualify with proof from the Veterans Administration.

Even better, you may qualify for a free 2002 California sport fishing license and wildlife area pass if you have a vision impairment, or if you are an American Indian with a low yearly income. Also if you are a ward of the state and live in a state hospital or are developmentally disabled and receiving services from the state, you may qualify. Finally, any resident who is severely physically disabled may qualify. There are many rules and regulations you must meet to qualify, so please call for more information.

The poster says to call the San Diego state Fish & Game office at (858) 467-4201 for more information. I called the number and the guy couldn't answer any of my questions. He finally said to call Warden Carol Sassie here in the Valley at 344-8139. She has the answers. Makes you wonder why they're paying the guy in San Diego.

>> Outdoor Tales writer Al Kalin can be reached on the Internet at

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