CDFW to Begin Offering 365-day Fishing Licenses for 2023

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will begin selling 365-day fishing licenses far sooner than expected, thanks to extensive efforts by staff to expedite sales. Beginning November 15, 2022, California anglers will be able to purchase a 2023 fishing license that will take effect on January 1, 2023, and last the entire year. All licenses purchased on or after January 1, 2023, will be effective from the date of purchase for a continuous 365 days.

“I’m proud to announce that we’re able to sell yearlong licenses many months sooner than we anticipated,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “I applaud the staff that worked tirelessly to bring this benefit to California’s anglers who have been asking for the 365-day license for a very long time.”

Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) introduced AB 817 in February 2021, allowing a transition of California’s fishing license validity from a calendar year to a full 365 days from purchase. Prior to this change, anglers who purchase their license after New Year’s Day were charged the same price for fewer days of fishing, and some are not willing to pay the full price of a license when purchasing it later in the year resulting in fewer license sales. This change will allow anglers to receive 365 days’ worth of benefits after purchasing a license any time of year.

“Thanks to the dedicated staff efforts at CDFW, California will be moving to our new 365-day fishing license even sooner than expected,” said Wood. “This license will encourage more Californians to fish and increase fishing license revenue which funds critical state fishing and conservation programs. Making fishing more accessible really supports communities that rely on outdoor recreation and tourism, like my northern California district.”

The idea, which has been discussed and desired by California’s fishing community for many years, was embraced by CDFW’s Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) initiative. The concept was further developed with stakeholders responsible for drafting the R3 initiative, including Wayne Kotow of the Coastal Conservation Association – California (CCA CAL).

“Providing a fishing license that offers greater value and incorporates 21st-century technology is long overdue,” said Kotow, executive director of CCA CAL, sponsor of AB 817 which led to the new license option. “It is also an important step in the implementation of California’s R3 program, which seeks to boost the number of anglers and others recreating in the outdoors. We are thrilled Assemblymember Wood’s perseverance on this issue has paid off, and proud to partner with CDFW to achieve this milestone for California anglers.”

CDFW’s R3 team works alongside partners and stakeholders, like CCA CAL, to create goals and strategies and then implement changes that reduce the barriers to participation in outdoor activities.

To purchase a fishing license, please visit CDFW’s online internet sales webpage. At checkout there is an additional option to enroll in auto-renewal for fishing licenses, which allows anglers to automatically purchase and receive their new license when their current one expires, so California’s anglers never miss a day of fishing!

Interested in becoming an angler but not sure where to start? Check out CDFW’s R3 webpage to find the latest information on fishing programs, regulations, tutorials and additional resources. Don’t miss the California’s Wild Kitchen tab to view recipes for use on harvested fish plus additional informational videos found under the R3 Harvest Huddle Hour (R3H3) section.