Freshwater Fishing e-Licence News

Dear Angler:

The NEW Angling Season is approaching!
Your current 2016/2017 Freshwater Fishing Licence expires on March 31st.
2017/2018 NEW season licences are available for purchase March 1st.

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

2016/2017 licences will still be available for purchase until the end of March. Be sure to select the appropriate year for each of your 1-day, 8-day, annual Basic Licences, Conservation Surcharge Stamps and Classified Waters Licences. All licence sales are final so please double check that you have the correct year prior to completing your purchase.

Note: Please be advised the Freshwater Fishing e-Licensing system will be unavailable for annual maintenance on Sunday March 26th from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m. Monday March 27th and again on Monday March 27th from 9:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m. Tuesday March 28th. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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.


The 2017/2019 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis will be available online at 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 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 licence years.

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 2017/2019 angling seasons were posted in the fall/winter of 2016 for a one month period. It is anticipated that angling regulation proposals for the 2019-2021 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis will be posed in the fall/winter of 2018 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.

Kootenay Region Classified Waters

Anglers should be aware there are classified waters in the Kootenay Region with regulations to help ensure a quality fishing experience, reduce crowding on popular rivers, and support trout conservation. These include a booking system for non-guided non-resident anglers on three classified waters: the Wigwam River, Skookumchuck Creek and Michel Creek. A set amount of 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.

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 is the best source for anglers to ensure they stay informed of any in-season regulation changes that can occur after publication of the printed version.

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

Protect our lakes and streams:

Zebra and Quagga mussels

Pull the plug! Clean Drain and Dry your boats and gear to prevent the spread of invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels. These freshwater mussels will negatively impact native fish, foul boats, and clog hydropower facilities increasing 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

Whirling Disease

Whirling disease poses a serious risk to our fisheries with the potential to drastically reduce trout populations. Physical signs may include:

Report deformities or discolouration of fish to the Conservation Officer Service hotline 1-877-952-7277, and help reduce the risk of spreading the disease by:

To learn more about Whirling Disease go to

Illegal Fish Introductions

It is ILLEGAL to possess or release any live fish into B.C.’s lakes or streams. Illegal introductions of invasive, non-native sport fish species including bass, perch, crappie and walleye are a threat to B.C.’s native fish stocks and can negatively impact our world renowned fisheries, as well as unique ecosystems.

Newly identified introductions of invasive sport fish species can result in a fishing closure on that lake and if a lake is suspected of providing a source of fish for illegal introductions elsewhere, it will be closed to fishing for that species immediately. Windy and Little Windy Lakes in Region3, and Fussee and New Lakes in Region 4 have all been closed within the last year due to illegal introductions.

Fish Handling

Wild Steelhead

Every second that a fish is exposed to air reduces their ability to survive when they are released. If you catch a fish that you are not legally permitted to retain, or plan on releasing a fish you have caught, please make every effort to keep that fish safe and in the water at all times. Refer to the “Releasing Fish the Gentle Way” article on page 11 of the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis for some tips on giving your released fish the best chance to survive.

While this applies to all caught and released fish in the province, it is especially important for wild steelhead. All wild steelhead in the province must be released, no exceptions. Keeping wild steelhead in the water gives anglers a better chance at conserving stocks, and having angling opportunities in the future.

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 or life threatening. 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.

B.C.’s Family Fishing Weekend is on Father’s Day Weekend June 16, 17, 18, 2017

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 for complete details on fishing regulations, suggested places to fish and locations of special community events.

Your Licence Dollars at Work

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 and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF). The Freshwater Fisheries Society and HCTF receive 100% of angling licence revenue. This licence revenue is comprised of a fee portion which is transferred to the Society 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.

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 freshwater fishing licence fees directly benefits recreational fisheries. Every licence dollar is invested back into research, conservation and education programs, improvements to angler access, and the provincial stocking program.

To learn more, visit

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

Surveys – We need 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!

Electronic-based hunting licences available this spring

Are you also a BC Resident Hunter? Beginning in spring 2017, the Province of B.C. will introduce electronic-based hunting licences. The new service will allow resident hunters to buy their licences through the BC Hunting online service, or at Service BC, Front Counter BC or participating licence vendors. To find out more, visit the website at

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 & Wildlife Branch
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations