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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Catching Grass Shrimp for Bait  (Read 229 times)

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  • Manatee
  • *****
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  • Location: Fremont, CA
  • Date Registered: Feb 2007
  • Posts: 19222
March 1, 2018

Question: My friend and I recently found out how to catch grass shrimp for bait, and we are wondering what the regulations are. I see on the CDFW website that the limit is five pounds. Does that mean we can take five pounds of grass shrimp home alive? I also saw a commercial license for harvest of grass shrimp. Would we need that as well? We don’t plan on selling them. We just want to use them for fishing as they are larger than store-bought ones and native to the area. (Pean S.)

Answer: Congratulations on your new skill. Catching and fishing with your own bait, where legal to do so, adds yet another dimension to the fishing experience. Grass shrimp – also known as bay shrimp – are an effective and popular bait in some areas. One of the reasons why they can be so effective when used in the area where caught is that they are most likely a natural food preference of the target fish.

Grass shrimp are crustaceans, and a sport fishing license is required of any person who is 16 or older to take any kind of crustacean in California, except when taken from a public pier in ocean or bay waters. You do not need a commercial fishing license or shrimp permit since the grass shrimp are for your own recreational use. You are correct in that the sport fishing limit is five pounds per angler (CCR Title 14, section 29.86). Grass shrimp may be kept and used alive or dead as the law makes no distinction.

Please note that there are several restrictions and regulations on the gear and methods that can be used to take grass shrimp and other crustaceans (CCR Title 14, section 29.80). These regulations can be found on pages 36-37 of the 2017-2018 California Saltwater Sport Fishing Regulations booklet. We wish you the best of luck and encourage you to teach others the skills you have developed to share a more holistic fishing experience.