Carrying a Gun While Fishing in California (A Quick Guide)

carrying a gun while fishing in California

What do you need to carry a gun while fishing in California? Is it even legal carrying a gun while fishing in California? These are queries that I sought to answer for myself and, hopefully, for you.

This guide will summarize obtaining a hunting license in California and explain what is considered lawful carry while fishing in our great state. So, if you’re looking to legally carry your firearm in an area while enjoying one of our favorite pastimes, read on!

Can You Carry a Gun While Fishing in California?

The simple answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to do first. To carry a gun while hunting and fishing in California, you must have a valid hunting license.

There are some vital matters to consider when carrying a gun while fishing in California. 

  • First, you must adhere to the state’s laws regarding opening a concealed carry.
  • Second, you must keep your gun unloaded and in a case while transporting it to and from your fishing location.
  • Finally, you must be aware of the areas where you cannot carry your guns, such as school grounds, government buildings, and private property.

What is Considered Lawful Carry While Fishing in California?

To lawfully carry a gun while fishing in California, you must have a valid hunting license and adhere to the state’s open and concealed carry laws.

Gun Laws in California 2020 (Section 12027)

carrying a gun when fishing in California
carrying a gun when fishing in California

It is illegitimate for any person to carry a firearm in any vehicle unless they have a standing concealed weapons permit or are otherwise exempt from the permit requirement.

A person who breaks this section is guilty of a public offense punishable by the arrest in a county jail for more than three months and less than one year, or by a fine of over five hundred dollars ($500), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

California Penal Code 12027 Fishing

(a) It shall be illegal for any individual to fish with any gun, whether loaded or unloaded, on any waters of this state, except as follows:

  • A person who is lawfully engaged in taking migratory waterfowl according to Section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code may use a shotgun to take those birds.
  • A lawfully engaged in taking fish under Section 7145 of the Fish and Game Code may use a spear, gig, or dip net to take those fish.
  • A person who holds a valid sport fishing license and is lawfully engaged in sport fishing from a vessel may use a gaff to land fish.

(b) It shall be illegal for any individual to place, set, draw, or throw any gun, line, net, trap, device, or contrivance whatever on any waters of this state with the intent to take any fish or other aquatic animal, except as authorized in this code.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to possess on any waters of this state any gun, whether loaded or unloaded, except as follows:

California Penal Code, Section 12025

If you carry your loaded firearm in a public place and it’s not registered to yourself, severe consequences could be.

A person who does this may face charges for Felony Hijacking or, even worse- Manslaughter!

Carrying a Gun in California without a Permit (Is it Legal?)

You can’t carry a gun in California without a permit, even if the gun is unloaded and stored in a case.

The only exception is if you’re on your own property or inside your home, business, or vehicle.

If you’re captured carrying a gun without a permit, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and confront up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Fishing apparel store

How to Obtain a Hunting License in California?

To obtain a hunting license in California, you must complete a Hunter Safety Course and pass a written exam and a field test.

Once you have done all these critical steps, you will be issued a hunting license, which will permit you to carry a gun while fishing in an area.

If you’re interested in taking a Hunter Safety Course, you can contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.

Can You Open Carry in California? (Open Carry California Permit)

The open carry of firearms is generally illegal in California, except for residents living in counties with fewer than 200 thousand people.

However, because these smaller areas are less populated, it’s possible to openly carry guns if you’re a citizen there – but remember, this law only applies while on your property!

When Was Open Carry Banned in California?

As of January 1, 2012, in California, it is now illegal to carry either a loaded handgun or unloaded weapon without having the appropriate carry permit. Exception: When you’re out and about with your pistol(s), revolver, or another firearm that needs no extra.

Permits can be obtained by applying country conquering departments within one’s respective jurisdiction. 

The new law goes into effect on July 1 so expect compliance from everyone soon! you must discharge firearms

Best Way to Carry a Gun While Fly Fishing?

The best way to carry a gun while fly fishing is in a holster designed specifically for that activity.

There are many various types of holsters on the market, so it is essential to choose one that is convenient and allows you to move freely while fishing.

It is also vital to ensure that the holster is securely attached to your body so that the gun does not become dislodged while fishing.

Best Gun Holster Fly Fishing

It can be hard to find the best gun holster for fly fishing. 

There are a lot of different gun holsters on the market, and it can be hard to determine which holster is right for you. 

We’ve researched for you and have compiled a list of the top five best gun holsters for fly fishing.

Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Holster fits Springfield XD-S 4.0" |...
  • Fits: Springfield XD-S 4.0 inch 9MM/45ACP - Carry: Appendix, Hip,...
  • Posi 'Click' Audible Retention Lock System - Integrated Full...
  • Type: IWB - Inside The Waistband - Easily Adjustable Retention...
  • Material: .08 inch KYDEX for a Perfect Custom Molded Fit -...
NEW! Brown Genuine Leather Single Western Cowboy Holster Rig 38/357...
  • Brown Genuine Leather Single Western Cowboy GUNS4US Holster Rig...
  • Size availability varies from 44-56 inch. Larger and smaller...
  • Holsters are designed for single and action guns 4 5/8 - 5 1.2...
Clint Eastwood Holster Rig - Cowboy Western Gun Belt 36" - 46" The...
  • I Will e-mail You For Sizing after the Purchase
  • Sizes Available - 36" - 46"
  • Quality Rough-Out Leather - Adjustable Holster
  • Heavy Duty Stitching - 24 Bullet Loops
Clint Eastwood Holster Rig - Premium Cowboy Western Gun Belt Replica -...
  • Top Quality Rough-Out Leather
  • Adjustable Holster
  • 25 Bullet Loops
  • Heavy Duty Stitching

Best Gun to Carry While Fishing

The best gun to carry while fishing is the one you are most comfortable with.

If you are new to carrying a gun, it is crucial to choose one that is lightweight and easy to maneuver.

There are many other types of guns on the market, so it is essential to do your research before purchasing one.

Once you have chosen the right gun for you, it is important to practice with it to be comfortable using it in case you ever need it for self-defense.

Commonly asked questions about California gun laws (FAQ)

Can I Carry a Gun in My Rv in California?

In accordance with California’s Penal Code section 25610, a United States citizen over 18 years of age who is not prohibited from gun possession and resides or temporarily in the Golden State may convey by motor vehicle any handgun provided it remains unloaded within their private property.

Can I Carry a Gun While Hiking in California?

No, unless you have a Carry Concealed Weapons license. It is generally illegal to carry a firearm openly in public in California.

Can You Carry a Handgun When Hunting in California?

Yes, but you must have a valid hunting license. In order to get a hunting license in California, you must take a Hunter Safety Course and go through a written exam and a field test.

Can I Carry a Gun While Camping in California?

California state is a fantastic place to visit with your family. You can have a firearm while camping or fishing, but there are many things you should know before going!

For example: in law (and most people), our campsite would be considered home – even if it’s just temporary. Like at spring training; however, that doesn’t mean we’re allowed weapons inside as well?

Can You Conceal Carry While Fishing in California?

It is illegal to transfer a firearm concealed on your person in California. This includes knives and applies even if you own one or have purchased the legal to conceal a firearm from someone who owns them.

This law was passed in October 2017 following several high-profile shooting incidents where people were killed because their killers could easily outperform police officers when armed with guns. What’s worse than having this kind of power over others? To be able to defend yourself against those much greater threats!


While there are many restrictions on what you can and cannot do while carrying a gun in California, it is essential to know your rights and responsibilities should you choose to open carry in the state. So, can you carry a gun while fishing in California? In California, the answer to this question is a resounding “maybe.” Depending on what type of firearm piece you are carrying and where you are fishing, different rules may apply.

However, as long as you have a valid carry permit (if required), no law specifically prohibits you from carrying a gun while fishing in California. So get your tackle box and sidearm ready and hit the water! Just brush up on California’s open carry laws before packing heat while casting for trout.

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