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Fishing in BC: Fishing Licences

By Rodney Hsu, Fishing with Rod

Before you start fishing in British Columbia, you must purchase and carry the correct fishing licences and other additional conservation surcharges. Your fishing licences serve many purposes. Funds generated from licences are used to sustain fisheries that anglers enjoy, and conserve fishery resources that may need to be protected. Your licences are also used as your identification and catches of some species are required to be recorded on them.

The first thing that you should know is, there are two types of fishing licences – Freshwater and saltwater fishing licences. A freshwater fishing licence is required when you wish to fish in rivers, sloughs and lakes. A saltwater fishing licence is required when you wish to fish in the ocean and the designated tidal portion of rivers.

Fishing licences can either be purchased online or at a licence vendor, such as fishing tackle stores.

The cost of your fishing licence depends on your residential status and age, so be sure to pick the correct one when purchasing.

While your fishing licences allow you to target most species, you need to purchase additional stamps or conservation surcharges if you wish to catch salmon and steelhead, or fish in classified waters.

Once you have your fishing licences, be sure to carry them when you are out fishing. At times, you will be asked to show them by conservation officers. Failure to produce your licence when checked may result in a fine or confiscation of your fishing gear.

Finally, if you purchase an annual licence, please remember that it always expires on March 31st.

If you wish to operate a motorized watercraft, by law you must obtain a Canadian boat license.

With a valid fishing licence, all you need to do now is to read the regulations thoroughly before heading out for your first fishing trip!