California's Department of Fish and Game announced on May 26 that anglers in the state are now able to purchase sport fishing licenses online, effective immediately. This is welcome news for the more than 2 million anglers licensed in the state each year.
"The online purchasing option will make it more convenient for our customers to enjoy California's diverse recreational fishing opportunities," said John McCamman, Chief Deputy Director in a recent DFG press release. "Anyone who has access to the Internet and a printer can get a license 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and be on their way to fish minutes after logging on."
All resident and non-resident licenses, both annual and short-term, and selected stamps can be purchased at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/ols/intro.html. The purchaser will be able to print out a one-day or two-day license, or a temporary annual license. Non-residents can also purchase a 10-day license. All licenses purchased online and printed are valid; annual license purchasers will receive a permanent license in the mail within 10 days. All purchases may be made using Visa or MasterCard.
The stamps available for online purchase are the Second Rod Stamp (only needed for inland waters), a Sport Fishing Ocean Enhancement Stamp, and Bay Delta Enhancement Stamps. Report cards (such as those required for all anglers taking spiny lobster and sturgeon) must still be obtained from one of the 1,800 authorized license agents throughout the state or at local DFG license sales offices.
Fishing licenses are still available for purchase from authorized license agents. The cost is the same whether purchased online or from an agent. All licenses purchased online or from an agent must be displayed above the waist and be clearly visible while fishing. Licenses will include a security code that will be decipherable by wardens in the field.
McCamman was instrumental in guiding this sport fishing license project to completion prior to the release of the entire Automated License Data System (ALDS). The department plans to expand this capability to hunting licenses by 2011.
According to the DFG, California sport fishing license sales generate more than $62 million in revenue annually. One-third of the revenue generated by these sales is earmarked for DFG's Hatcheries and Fish Planting Facilities Program; the rest supports fisheries management and protection through the Fish and Game Preservation Fund.