California’s urban fishing on the city agenda

In 1993, California launched the Urban Fishing program to provide fishing opportunities for the state’s growing urban populations. While park lakes, ponds and streams are common in metropolitan areas, urban residents did not see these as viable fishing opportunities as many suffered from pollution and habitat degradation. Fishing in the City program objectives include:

  • Providing opportunities for people to reconnect to their local waterways
  • Providing beginners with tools and knowledge to make fishing a lifelong activity
  • Providing advanced anglers with skills that they can expand and eventually teach others
  • Raising awareness of the relationship between healthy aquatic habitats, healthy fish and healthy people
  • Encouraging schools and community members to get involved in local habitat improvement projects
  • Encourage collaboration within each community to adapt the Urban Fishing program to their community
  • Provision of fish, scientific and educational advice and guidance

In order to be selected for the program, the state conducts an analysis to determine whether an urban body of water is a good candidate based on a few basic criteria:

  • Is the lake located in an urban area – accessible by public transport, bike, etc.?
  • Can the lake biologically sustain year-round fishing?
  • Are there any water quality issues that would make the fish unsafe?
  • Does the maritime manager support fishing and is he ready to maintain the fishing spot?
  • Is there community support for a fisheries program – volunteers, businesses, schools?
  • Are the lake manager and community members willing to provide long-term in-kind contributions to maintaining a fishery training program in the community?

The program is currently offered in several metropolitan areas including Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, and Sacramento. It offers incredible volunteer opportunities for anglers and local residents alike. Those who use urban fishing must still obtain a California fishing license before they can enjoy the activity.

Learn more about fishing in California or research city fishing programs in your area.


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