Outdoor Q&A: Does CDFW offer online fishing resources for new anglers? | Outside
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a fishing guide designed for new anglers. (Courtesy picture)
Q: Does CDFW offer online fishing resources for new anglers?
A: CDFW’s online fishing guide is a great tool to help new and experienced anglers plan their fishing activities. The guide can be used to identify historically good places to fish and to see what species of fish are available to catch in water bodies across the state.
Additional features include planting schedules for CDFW’s stocked lakes and ponds, as well as boat launches, licensing agent locations, and fishing regulations. The guide can also be used to identify locations of marine protected areas and waters infested with quagga mussels.
CDFW’s Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) team has a wealth of resources available on the R3 webpage, including how-to videos (R3H3), recipes, and tips for cleaning your catch.
For sea fishing, CDFW’s interactive sea sport fishing web maps show both fishing regulations and marine protected area boundaries relative to your location when used with a smartphone. The Marine Species Portal provides images, life histories, and other information for a large number of oceanic fish and invertebrates.
Visit CDFW’s Fishing in California webpage and Fishing in the City program for additional resources.
Antlers against horns
Q: How are antlers different from horns and antelopes in ungulate species like deer, elk, and bighorn sheep?
A: California is home to several species of ungulates that have antlers, horns, and pronghorns. Deer and elk have antlers, which are made of bone and grow from pedicels, which are bony support structures that grow on an ungulate’s skull. The woods are deciduous, which means they shed every year.
For most ungulate species, only males grow antlers, and usually not before their first year of life (female caribou and caribou calves, which live in climates much colder than California, are an exception , because they grow wood).
Horns consist of a bony core covered in keratin, a structural protein that can be likened to nails. Horns occur in bighorn sheep and grow continuously throughout an animal’s life. Scientists can usually count the growth rings on the horns of males to determine an animal’s age, but aging females from horn rings is much less reliable.
There are also several herds of pronghorn antelope in California, including the Carrizo Plain in San Luis Obispo County and throughout northeastern California. Pronghorns consist of a sheath that grows over a bony core. Pronghorn sheaths are deciduous and fall off every year like antlers.
Q: I saw a recent CDFW Facebook post that said K-9s can be trained to detect gunpowder, quagga mussels, deer, bear, abalone, shark fin, ivory and marijuana. I can understand gunpowder and animal products, but does ivory smell?
A: Yes. The CDFW Law Enforcement Division has K-9s who are trained to detect (or “sniff”) ivory. K-9s can be useful in this regard due to the number of very high quality synthetic ivory replicas. Wildlife officers are trained in ivory identification, but K-9s trained in detecting ivory can make an investigation much more efficient.
Generally speaking, dogs can be trained to identify distinct odors even when the item has no detectable odor to humans. Some dogs have even been trained to alert on imperceptible odors such as the presence of cancer in blood samples.
K-9 CDFWs were trained to locate saltwater fish, abalone, crab, lobster, firearms, gunpowder, freshwater fish, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, cannabis, deer, bear, ivory, shark fin, quagga mussels and gray squirrel.
Q: Is there a way to report mountain lion sightings online?
A: The public can report mountain lion sightings to CDFW through its wildlife incident reporting system. Public safety concerns should be reported to law enforcement, and if your wildlife encounter is an emergency, call 911. There are also community organizations that track mountain lion sightings and offer community sighting maps .
Cougars are commonly referred to as mountain lions, but they are known by many names, including cougar, panther, and catamount. In the Californian wild, these are different names for the same animal.
Cougars live throughout much of California, including along urban-wildlife interfaces where they hunt deer and other animals. However, it is rare to see a cougar as they are elusive creatures.
If you see a mountain lion or a lion cub, do not approach it and do not intervene. Remember that adult cougars, when hunting prey, may leave their offspring in a safe place for several days at a time.