An interesting question was posed in the California Department of Fish and Game's press release, "California Outdoors Q&A.;"
An angler asked: "While fishing from a public pier without a fishing license [by state law, no license is required], am I allowed to go down onto the beach to land a big fish that I hooked on the pier?"
While some would think this should be an extenuating circumstance and therefore okay with the DFG, the answer is no.
"Even if you hooked the fish on the pier and only came down to land it on the beach, you would still need a valid license to avoid a potential citation," says Carrie Wilson, a DFG marine biologist. "Purchasing an annual fishing license will make this a non-issue, or you may want to buy a pier net."