The live bait fishery in California targets coastal pelagic species (CPS) such as northern anchovy, Pacific sardine, market squid, Pacific mackerel and jack mackerel. California's live bait fishery began in 1910 to provide the rapidly expanding sport fishing industry with live fish for bait or chum. Before Pacific sardine disappeared in the early 1950s they were as much as 15-20 percent of the live bait catch, but from 1957 until the reappearance of Pacific sardine in the 1980s, northern anchovy made up virtually all of the live bait catch. Since the early to mid-1990s, proportions of Pacific sardine and northern anchovy have shifted in prevalence of live bait catch. Currently, live bait catch is monitored by CDFW through voluntary live bait fishing logs.
Live Bait Fishing Log Program
The CDFW CPS/HMS Project monitors live bait catch in California through a voluntary live bait fishing log program. Log data provide important information about the live bait fishery, which is used to aid in the management of CPS fisheries. Information from the vessel profile is used to better track participation and capacity of the live bait fishery.
Since sales of CPS in live bait markets are not recorded on landing receipts, the voluntary live bait log and vessel profile are our primary means of gathering information regarding this small but important and valuable fishery.
If you have questions regarding the CDFW voluntary CPS live bait fishing log program, please direct them to Kirk Lynn at: Kirk.Lynn@wildlife.ca.gov or (858) 546-7167.