Freshwater Fishing e-Licence News

Dear Angler:

The NEW Angling Season is approaching!

Your current 2017/2018 Freshwater Fishing Licence expires on March 31st.

2018/2019 NEW season licences are now available for purchase.

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

Licenses for both the current 2017/2018 season and the new 2018/2019 season will be available for purchase throughout the month of March. Be sure to select the right season 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 your license selections 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.


The 2017/2019 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis is available online at or you can obtain a hard copy from a licence vendor or Service BC Centre when you buy your license.

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 printing of the 2019/2021 synopsis. 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. 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.

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. Zebra and quagga mussels are two freshwater invasive species that are not currently found in B.C., but pose significant environmental and economic risks if introduced. 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 and report suspected invasive mussels to the BC Conservation Officer Services Report All Poachers and Polluters Hotline at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has created a new granting program to fund invasive mussel monitoring in British Columbia. Invasive Mussels Lake Monitoring Grants will provide organizations with funding to sample BC lakes and rivers to test for the presence of zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) mussels. This new granting program is made possible by a $450,000 contribution from BC’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV). Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2018 season but will be accepted again in early 2019 – information will be posted on HCTF’s website.

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 Front Counter BC by calling 1-877-855-3222 or email, 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 Region 3, and Fussee and New Lakes in Region 4 have all been closed within the last year due to illegal introductions.

Fish Handling

All Catch and Release Fisheries

Every mishandling of a fish and every second that a fish is exposed to air reduces their ability to reproduce and/or 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 article “Releasing Fish the Gentle Way” on page 11 of the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis for tips on giving the fish you release the best chance to survive.

Wild Steelhead

While proper handling applies to all caught and released fish in the province, it is especially important for wild steelhead, and critical for summer run steelhead that may be caught in relatively warmer water and may not spawn for up to 10 months thereafter. All wild steelhead in the province must be released, no exceptions. Handling wild steelhead carefully and keeping them in the water gives current and next generation anglers a better chance at conserving stocks, and maintaining angling opportunities in the future.

White Sturgeon

The majority of white sturgeon populations in British Columbia are protected under the federal Species at Risk Act and are closed to recreational angling. Limited fishing opportunities still exist since the lower and middle Fraser River populations are relatively healthy. However, they are still vulnerable to impacts from angling if extra care is not taken to ensure their health and survival.

White sturgeon can grow to more than three metres in length and weigh more than 250kg. They mature only after 17-20 years and can live for more than 100 years. Handling can be challenging and 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 avoid harm, and to help protect these remarkable fish and sustain this fishery, anglers must abide by these capture and handling practices.

B.C.’s Family Fishing Weekend is Father’s Day Weekend June 15, 16, 17, 2018

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 Freshwater Fisheries 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. These projects restore freshwater habitats, monitor fish populations, and educate British Columbians about our province’s incredible biodiversity.

To learn about the many ways your licence purchase benefits BC’s freshwater fish and habitats, please visit HCTF’s website or follow HCTF on Twitter or Instagram.

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

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!

New electronic non-resident hunting licences available in spring 2018

Starting in the spring of 2018, non-residents will be able to buy hunting licences using BC Hunting Online. Non-resident hunting licences will continue to be available at Service BC offices, and starting this spring, they will also be available at FrontCounter BC offices.

To apply for the new electronic hunting licences, non-residents will need:

The application and issuance of permits to accompany a non-resident/alien to hunt big game animals and guide outfitter licences will also be available in BC Hunting Online starting this spring. Applicants will continue to be able to submit their permit to accompany and guide outfitter licence applications in person at a FrontCounter BC office. 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, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development