Freshwater Fishing e-Licence News

Dear Angler:

The NEW Angling Season is approaching!
Your current 2015/2016 Freshwater Fishing Licence expires on March 31.
2016/2017 NEW season licences are available for purchase March 1.

It’s fast and easy to buy your licence online or from your favourite fishing licence vendor or at any Service BC Centre.

2015/2016 current season licences will still be available for purchase during the month of March. Be sure to select the 2016/2017 following season for each of your new Basic Licence, Conservation Surcharge Stamps and Classified Waters Licence products valid for the April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 licence year. All licence sales are final so please double check that you have the correct season prior to completing your purchase.

Note: The Freshwater Fishing Licence does not include fishing in British Columbia’s coastal tidal waters (salt water). You will need to go to the website for the National Recreational Licensing System to renew your Tidal ‘Salt Water’ Fishing Licence.

Regulations

The 2015/2017 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis is available online at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations/ and available in hard copy from licence vendors and Service BC Centres. Supplies are limited and anglers are requested to care for and retain their copy of the synopsis for the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 licence years.

The eligibility criteria for angling on Age Restricted Waters have been amended. Previously, anyone under the age of 16, 65 years of age or older, or disabled were the only individuals eligible to angle on these waters. This new classification of waters is termed Youth/Disabled Accompanied Waters. The list of these waters has been amended and the regulation now re-defines an eligible angler as anyone under the age of 16 or anyone in possession of a BC Disabled Basic angling licence, with an allowance of up to two accompanying anglers per eligible anglers. Now parents or friends can fish alongside their youth or disabled companions.

The Ministry holds a photo contest for the cover of the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis. Learn how to submit photos of your fishing adventures for the next synopsis printing. Even if your photo doesn’t make it on the cover, it may still find a place within the publication.

Angling, Hunting and Trapping Public Engagement Website

Members of the public are invited to review and provide feedback on proposed Angling, Hunting, and Trapping regulatory or policy proposals through the Fish & Wildlife Branch’s Angling, Hunting and Trapping Public Engagement Website Proposed regulation changes for the 2015/2017 angling seasons were posted in the fall/winter of 2014 for a one month period. It is anticipated that angling regulation proposals for the 2017-2019 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis will be posed in the fall/winter of 2016 with a one month window for public review, comment or feedback.

If you have questions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions or our How-To Guide for the British Columbia Angling, Hunting, and Trapping Website.

In Season Regulation Changes

Anglers must be aware that in-season regulation changes occur in order for fisheries managers to respond to new information, and amend regulations accordingly. The online synopsis website is the best source for anglers to ensure they are informed of any in-season regulation changes.

Kootenay Region Classified Waters

Anglers should be aware there are regulation changes to Classified Waters in the Kootenay Region to help ensure a quality fishing experience, reduce crowding on popular rivers, and support trout conservation. The main change is implementation of a booking system for non-resident anglers on three ‘classified waters’: the Wigwam River, Skookumchuck Creek and Michel Creek. Under the new system, a set amount of non-resident non-guided angler days will be made available through the existing online angling licensing system. Selections will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis, ensuring all non-resident anglers have an equal opportunity.

Youth/Disabled Accompanied Waters

The eligibility criteria for angling on Age Restricted Waters have been amended. Previously, anyone under the age of 16, 65 years of age or older, or disabled were the only individuals eligible to angle on these waters. The new classification of waters is termed Youth/Disabled Accompanied Waters. The list of these waters has been amended and the regulation now re-defines an eligible angler as anyone under the age of 16 or anyone that is eligible and in possession of a BC Disabled Basic angling licence with an allowance of up to two accompanying anglers per eligible angler. Now parents or friends can enjoy the better than average angling opportunities on these waters while fishing alongside their youth or disabled companions.

Protect our lakes and streams:

Clean Drain and Dry your boat to prevent the spread of invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels. These freshwater mussels can negatively impact native fish, block irrigation pipes and increase your hydro bill if they are introduced into BC waters. The BC Ministry of Environment is operating highway inspection stations to help you to prevent the spread of these and other Aquatic Invasive Species. To learn more about how you can help please visit www.gov.bc.ca/invasive-species.

Fish Handling – Guidelines for Angling White Sturgeon in BC

The majority of white sturgeon populations in British Columbia are protected under the federal Species at Risk Act and are closed to recreational angling. Since the lower and middle Fraser River populations are relatively healthy, they are able to support exciting world class fisheries. However, they are still vulnerable to impacts from angling if extra care is not taken to ensure their health and survival. White sturgeon mature after 17-20 years and can live for more than 100 years, so impacts or injuries can be long lasting. As such, all sturgeon angling in the province is catch and release only and strictly managed. To sustain this fishery, anglers must abide by these capture and handling practices

Stream closures

The year of 2015 was one of the worst drought years recorded for certain areas in BC which lead to several streams, sloughs and rivers being closed to fishing.  Vancouver Island (Region 1), the lower mainland (Region 2) and the Thompson/Okanagan (Region 3 and 8) had some of the most severe drought conditions. Over 70 Management Units were closed to angling in response to elevated temperatures or drought, and the 2016 year is starting to show similar conditions.

Angling closures are put on to conserve fish at a time they are stressed from high temperatures or lack of flow.  Catching fish under these conditions can lead to high mortality rates as fish cannot cope with both the stress of being caught and surviving in a stressful environment. Please carefully monitor the in-season changes for updates on closures before going fishing in 2016.

Subscribe to receive in-season regulation updates. If you would like more information using the ministry’s RSS feed, follow these instructions.

 

B.C.’s Family Fishing Weekend is on Father’s Day Weekend June 17, 18 and 19, 2016

Canadian families can go fishing and enjoy B.C.’s great outdoors compliments of the provincial government.  Check the Family Fishing Society of BC’s website at www.bcfamilyfishing.com for complete details on fishing regulations, suggested places to fish and locations of special community events.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

Sustainable management and conservation of B.C.’s fisheries resources is delivered through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF).  HCTF provides grants for fish conservation projects using surcharge revenue from angling licence sales. To find out how your licence purchase is benefitting BC’s freshwater fish and habitats, or to sign up for the HCTF’s quarterly newsletter visit HCTF’s website at www.hctf.ca.

Sustainable Management

Sustainable management and conservation of B.C.’s fisheries resources is delivered through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC), and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). FFSBC and HCTF receive 100% of angling licence revenue. This licence revenue is comprised of a fee portion which is transferred to FFSBC, and a conservation surcharge portion administered by HCTF.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation

The conservation surcharge on each freshwater fishing licence goes to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). HCTF uses this money to fund conservation projects taking place across BC including many projects focused on maintaining or improving fish populations and habitats, as well as environmental education programs and grants to connect children with the outdoors. To find out how your licence purchase is benefitting BC’s freshwater fish and habitats, sign up for  HCTF’s quarterly newsletter or visit HCTF’s website at www.hctf.ca.

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Under an agreement signed between the Province and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC in 2015, 100% of the revenue generated from fishing licences directly benefits recreational fisheries. The Freshwater Fisheries Society invests your licence dollars into research, conservation and education programs, improving angler access and the stocking program. To sign up for their newsletter, learn more about programs or seasonal fishing opportunities and to get the latest stocking reports visit www.gofishbc.com.

Surveys – We want your feedback!

Surveys are an important part of fisheries management. They help us understand angler preferences, as well as the state of the fishery.

Every year, anglers who purchase certain special licences, are asked to participate in a survey. Information gained from these surveys is key to the successful management of angling opportunities.

Annual survey questionnaires include those for steelhead and white sturgeon, as well as for Kootenay Lake rainbow trout. You may receive one soon, either by mail or by email. If you receive one, please complete it and return as instructed.

We encourage all anglers to participate!

New BC Hunting online service

Are you also a BC Resident Hunter?  Are you aware of the upcoming changes that will impact Limited Entry Hunting (LEH) applications and licence purchases?  The Province will be introducing a new online service for hunters in April 2016.  To find out more, visit the website at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/hunting/transformation/

Thank you!

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and working together to ensure that British Columbia continues to provide world-class fishing opportunities.

Please feel free to forward this email to anglers you know who may not have received it.

 

Director, Fish and Wildlife Branch
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations