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Fishing Contests, Tournaments and Derbies

If you have questions regarding how recent species listings or candidate listings under the California Endangered Species Act may affect fishing contests, please contact Kyle Murphy at (916) 323-5556 or

Beginning in 1975, organizers offering prizes or other inducements for the taking of sport fish in any California water were required to obtain a fishing contest permit from the CDFW. Since 1985, organizers have been required to submit a “Fishing Contest Report” to the CDFW detailing the results of each permitted contest. In 1990, in an effort to gather more data, regulations were established that provided two types of contests, “Event” and “Annual.” An “Event” type contest permit is designed to regulate large fishing contests often run by commercial organizations. The “Annual” type contest permit is designed to gather data from smaller organized contests, such as those offered by bass clubs or individuals. Both types of contests are listed as they are entered into the tournament management database, and are available at the following link:

For more specific information about a contest listed, anglers should contact the contest sponsor directly.

Organizing a Fishing Contest

Tournament organizers must apply for a permit using the “Fishing Contest Application” form(s) provided below. If targeting black bass, the organizer should also review the special conditions for black bass contest permits; these conditions apply to all black bass fishing contests. To request exemption from typical fishing regulations (e.g., a slot limit or minimum length limit), organizers must complete an exemption form specific to that water and submit it with the application. This does not guarantee exemption; approval must be given by CDFW.

Angling Regulation Exemption Forms for Black Bass Tournament

Fisheries Branch
830 S Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 | (916) 327-8840