Fishing is a fun pastime and B.C. has thousands of lakes, streams and tidal waters where anyone can fish. As it is vitally important to conserve B.C.'s fish and their delicate habitat, we all have a responsibility to follow the rules and regulations in order to sustain our great fisheries for future generations. Approximately 400,000 B.C. residents annually purchase freshwater licences and practice angling, so fisheries are managed for sustainability with appropriate rules.
To learn about and make sure you are in compliance with the rules, we have made a resource centre on this page for your benefit. Get a copy of the fishing regulations synopsis for freshwater (you can also pick up a free copy at most tackle stores or government agents offices) or if you need the tidal waters regulations they can be accessed through the Fisheries and Oceans website.
During B.C.'s Family Fishing Weekend, residents of Canada* can go fishing in most of B.C.’s tens-of-thousands of lakes and non-tidal streams, compliments of the provincial government. You do not need to buy or carry a Freshwater Fishing Licence for the weekend but if you would like to have one you can soon download it here and everyone can have fun within the rules.
If you need to purchase Conservation Surcharge Stamps to keep a Special Fish go to our search tool to find the licence vendor nearest you. Get your FREE COPIES of the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis from tackle shops and Government Agents throughout the province. Along with any recent updates, the Freshwater Fishing Regulations are also posted on the Internet.
* Individuals who have lived in Canada for the preceding 12 months
Both new and experienced anglers will find plenty of useful information about fishing and how to fish in the Synopsis, including some tips on how all anglers can make sure the time spent on the water is enjoyable for everyone.
You and your friends can have fun fishing within the rules. First, become familiar with the provincial fishing regulations (in the front of the Synopsis). Next, select the region you will be fishing in and refer to the regional regulations. There are eight regions of the province (see the map). Look for things like regional daily catch quotas, possession quotas and angler notices. Finally, check to see if the specific lake or stream you want to fish is listed in the regional tables for any water-specific regulations.
Please note: In some parts of B.C., streams may be closed in the spring to protect spawning fish. Be sure to check the regional regulations and tables for the dates of these seasonal closures.
The Family Fishing Weekend complimentary licences cannot be used to fish in 18 special trout and steelhead streams. Check the Synopsis for details on these Classified Waters.
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada invites all to participate in B.C.’s Family Fishing Weekend and enjoy the pleasures of saltwater sport fishing. Tidal Waters (saltwater) Fishing Licences are required for all anglers. They must be purchased by adults (16 and older), but are FREE for those under 16. Tidal Waters licences can be obtained at most tackle shops, marinas and department stores. Pick up a FREE BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Guide when you obtain your licence. Check updates to the saltwater and salmon regulations (including area closures) on the web site at:
www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish (you can also view the Tidal Waters Regulations online at this address too)
Many government or community wharves or piers allow fishing, you will find shiners and sea perch always available, and sometimes salmon and rockfish. The government wharves generally have floats attached to them, and unless otherwise indicated, you can fish from these. Please remember the following points when fishing in tidal waters:
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Age-Restricted waters are set aside just for you if you are less than 16 years of age or 65 or older.
These waters are also open to disabled B.C. residents who have a valid fee-reduced angling licence. If you are not in one of these categories, it is unlawful to fish in any of these waters.
If you are under 16 you do not need a licence to fish any of B.C.’s lakes and streams, but eligible adults require a basic angling licence to fish these age-restricted waters.
We’ve picked 21 lakes and streams close to your home where there’s lots of trout. The rest is up to you.
All angling regulations still apply, so find the water in one of the Regional Water-Specific Tables (look for the Age Restriction symbol) and note any Special Restrictions for the water. Then look up the "Daily Catch Quotas" in the Regional Regulations to find out how many trout (or other species) you may keep.
Fishing Friendly locations if you are under 16 or over 65