BC Recreational Freshwater Fishing Licence

Before you head out to your favourite fishing spot, make sure that you have your provincial freshwater Fishing Licence.

Licences can be purchased:

Freshwater fishing licences are available in a range of options from single day to annual licences that last all year, from April 1 through March 31st.  Please review the information below to learn more about different licence options, pricing and other key details.

The freshwater fishing licence does not include fishing in British Columbia's coastal tidal waters.

Tidal (saltwater) fishing regulations and licences are under the jurisdiction of the Canadian federal government. For more information and licence purchase visit the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Wildfire Notice: Stay up to date on regulation changes and vehicle/access restrictions during wildfire season. While planning your fishing trip please see B.C. Wildfire Service Fire Bans and Restrictions for the most up to date information.

Basic Licences and Fees

If you are 16 years or over:

  • You must have a valid basic licence to sport fish for any species of fish in non-tidal waters (including salmon). 
  • You must purchase appropriate supplementary licences and stamps to fish for conservation species (see conservation surcharges and white sturgeon sections below) or on Classified Waters (see Classified Waters section below). These can be added to your basic licence at any time by accessing the e-Licence system and printing an updated licence, or by visiting Service BC or a Licence Vendor.
  • You must carry your licence while sport fishing and, if asked, produce it for inspection by a Conservation Officer, Fishery Officer, RCMP constable, Park Ranger in a park, or an Officer under the Wildlife Act.
  • Your basic non-tidal angling licence must be legible and can be provided in the following formats:
    • An unmodified paper copy printed on 8.5 x 11 paper, or
    • An unmodified electronic copy on your digital device (i.e. a photo on your phone, tablet, computer, etc.)
  • When a conservation surcharge retention record is required, an unmodified paper copy printed on 8.5 x 11 paper is required to record your catch.Please review the conservation surcharges section below. 
  • If you are an Indian (as defined by the Indian Act (Canada)) AND a resident of BC, you do not require a licence to fish in non-tidal waters in BC.

If you are under 16 years of age:

If you are under 16 and a resident of B.C.:

  • you may sport fish without any licence or stamp, but you must abide by all regulations;
  • you do not need to be accompanied by a licence holder;
  • you are entitled to your own quota of fish.

If you are under 16 and a non-resident of B.C.:

  • you do not require any licence or stamp to sport fish, but you must abide by all regulations and be accompanied by a person 16 years of age or older (resident or non-resident) who has the appropriate licences and stamps;
  • any fish you keep must be counted as part of the catch and possession of your accompanying licence holder;
  • if you want to catch and keep your own quota of fish, you must buy a licence and any necessary supplementary licences and stamps.

Prices subject to change. Tax not included.

Annual Angling Licence (valid April 1st to March 31st)

  • Resident: $36
  • Non-Resident: $55
  • Non-Resident Alien: $80 
  • Annual Licence for Residents with Disabilities: $1
  • Annual Licence for Residents 65 or Older: $5

One Day Angling Licence*

  • Resident: $10
  • Non-Resident: $20
  • Non-Resident Alien: $20

Eight Day Angling Licence*

  • Resident: $20
  • Non-Resident: $36
  • Non-Resident Alien: $50

*You may purchase as many One-Day and Eight Day Licences as you need, but only one Annual Licence.

All licence fees except Annual Licence fees for Residents with Disabilities include a surtax for the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Refunds

Refund Policy

Please make sure you've chosen the right licences before completing your purchase. Licences are non-refundable and non-transferable with few exceptions. If in doubt, do not complete the purchase until you have consulted the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis or confirmed with a Licence Vendor or FrontCounter BC you are purchasing the correct licences for the type of fishing you intend.

Lost Licences

If you have lost your licence, refer to the "Lost your Licence" section listed below for more information and next steps.

B.C. Resident means:

your primary residence is in British Columbia, AND

(a) you are a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, AND
have been physically present in B.C. for the greater portion of each of 6 calendar months out of the immediately preceding 12 calendar months,

OR

(b) you are NOT a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant, but have been physically present in British Columbia for the greater portion of each of the immediately preceding 12 calendar months.

Non-Resident means:

you are not a “resident,” but (a) you are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, OR (b) your primary residence is in Canada, AND you have resided in Canada for the immediately preceding 12 months.

Non-Resident Alien means:

you are neither a “resident” nor a “non-resident.”

Any British Columbia Resident who is severely and permanently disabled may apply for a Non-Tidal Angling Licence at the reduced fee of $1.05.

Note: Licences are not required for anglers under 16 years of age. Review "Licensing Requirements" for full details

The fee reduction is for the annual Non-Tidal Angling Licence ONLY. There is no fee reduction for Conservation Surcharge Stamps, the White Sturgeon Conservation Licence or the Classified Waters Licence.

Download the application form (PDF, 165 KB).

To qualify, you must submit documentation to confirm that you receive one of the benefits listed in Part B of the application. If this documentation cannot be provided, then Part C must be completed by a practising registered B.C. physician or nurse.

Completed applications should be sent by mail to:

Fish and Aquatic Habitat Branch
PO Box 9391, STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, B.C.  V8T 9M3

To buy a future licence, present your expired licence or a Certificate of Eligibility to any licence vendor. If a licence becomes lost, stolen or destroyed, eligibility can be confirmed by contacting the Fish and Aquatic Habitat Branch at 778 698-9217 or 250 387-9589.

Note: no refunds will be made on licences purchased at the full price.

100% of your licence fees directly benefit recreational fisheries.

Licence revenue goes to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and helps:

  • fund research
  • conservation and education programs
  • improve angler access
  • the provincial stocking program

Remaining revenues go to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to provide grants for fish conservation projects.

If you lose your licence:

  • You cannot go fishing without a valid licence
  • Do not buy a new licence. You are only permitted one annual angling licence per year
  • Your retention record must be transferred to the new copy

You will need your Angler Number:

  • If you have forgotten your angler number, you may be able to retrieve it using the e-Licence system
  • If you are unable to use the e-Licence options for retrieving it, you can contact FrontCounter BC for assistance

To replace a license that was bought online:

  1. Log back in to the licensing system
  2. You will be asked to provide your Angler Number, date of birth and the phone number associated with your profile
  3. Download an electronic copy to keep on your electronic device OR
  • Reprint it yourself for free, or
  • Get a Licence Vendor to reprint a copy for you (there may be a fee). You will need to provide your angler number, date of birth and phone number;

To replace a licence that you bought in person:

  • You can get another hard copy printed at any Licence Vendor
  • There may be a fee in either case
  • You will need to provide your angler number, date of birth and phone number

 

Conservation Surcharges and Classified Waters Licences

Conservation Surcharge Stamps are valid for the current licence year, April 1 to March 31, starting on date purchased.

Your basic licence can be validated with up to five annual Conservation Surcharge Stamps, plus a White Sturgeon Conservation Licence. If your basic licence is reprinted, all your retention records must be transferred to the new copy. These stamps are valid for the licence year, (i.e., to March 31).

Prices subject to change. Tax not included. Refund Policy

Steelhead

  • Resident: $25
  • Non-Resident: $60
  • Non-Resident Alien: $60

Your basic licence must be validated with a conservation surcharge stamp if you fish for steelhead anywhere in B.C. whether you intend to keep or release your catch. In addition, a steelhead stamp is mandatory when fishing on most classified waters during certain specified periods, even when fishing for species other than steelhead. Refer to the Regional Water-Specific Tables for dates and exceptions.

This stamp is available with all annual and short-term basic licences but you are limited to one stamp per year, regardless of how many short-term licences you buy. You must immediately record your catch on the back of your angling licence when keeping a hatchery steelhead. Please retain your basic licence for the entire licence year as you may be requested to complete an annual steelhead survey.

Note: The ANNUAL province-wide quota for hatchery steelhead is 10. All wild steelhead must be released.

Salmon

  • Resident: $15
  • Non-Resident: $30
  • Non-Resident Alien: $30

Your basic licence must be validated with a salmon conservation stamp to keep a salmon of any legal size or species (other than kokanee) from non-tidal waters. Refer to the DFO Sportfishing Guide’s Regional Water Specific Tables for more information on fishing opportunities. A stamp is not required if you release all salmon caught. You must immediately record your retention of adult chinook salmon on your basic angling licence.

Note: "Adult Chinook" are defined in DFO Sportfishing Guide and on page 90 of the BC Freshwater Fishing Regulation Synopsis.

Kootenay Lake Rainbow Trout

  • Resident: $10
  • Non-Resident: $20
  • Non-Resident Alien: $20

Your basic licence must be validated with a conservation surcharge stamp to keep rainbow trout over 50cm from the main body of Kootenay Lake. You must immediately record your retention on your basic angling licence.

No conservation surcharge stamp is required if you release all Kootenay Lake rainbow trout over 50cm.

Shuswap Lake Rainbow Trout*

  • Resident: $10
  • Non-Resident: $20
  • Non-Resident Alien: $20

Your basic licence must be validated with a conservation surcharge stamp to keep rainbow trout over 50cm from Shuswap Lake.* You must immediately record your retention on your basic angling licence.

No conservation surcharge stamp is required if you release all Shuswap Lake rainbow trout over 50cm.

Shuswap Lake Char*

  • Resident: $10
  • Non-Resident: $20
  • Non-Resident Alien: $20

Your basic licence must be validated with a conservation surcharge stamp to keep char over 60cm caught in Shuswap Lake.* You must immediately record your retention on your basic angling licence.

No conservation surcharge stamp is required if you release all Shuswap Lake char over 60cm.

* Shuswap Lake includes the main body of Shuswap Lake, Little Shuswap Lake, South Thompson River between Shuswap Lake and Little Shuswap Lake, Seymour, Anstey and Salmon Arms and Mara Lake.

100% of your conservation surcharge fees directly benefit fish conservation.

The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation receives 100% of the surcharge revenue collected from angling licence sales to provide grants for fish conservation projects across BC.

All revenue generated from the sales of the White Sturgeon Conservation Licence (WSCL) will be directed to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for use in sturgeon stock management activities.

You must purchase a White Sturgeon Conservation licence, in addition to your basic licence, if you fish for White Sturgeon in the Fraser River Watershed (including tributaries) from the CPR Bridge at Mission to and including Williams Lake River in the Cariboo.  This is a catch and release only fishery - all sturgeon must be released. See Guidelines for Angling White Sturgeon in B.C. for more information.

Lower Fraser River Voluntary Sturgeon Angling Closure Areas

 If you plan to fish for White Sturgeon in the lower Fraser River from May 15 to July 31, there are currently seven voluntary and three mandatory sturgeon angling closure areas located between the Harrison River confluence and just upstream of Hope, BC. These closure areas were established to protect confirmed white sturgeon spawning areas. If you would like more information on the location of these voluntary sturgeon angling closure areas, please contact the South Coast Fish and Aquatic Wildlife group at SCFishandAquaticWildlife@gov.bc.ca.

Prices subject to change. Tax not included. Refund Policy

White Sturgeon Conservation Licence Fees

Annual Licence

All annual licences are valid for the current licence year, April 1 to March 31, starting on the date purchased.

  • Resident: $25
  • Non-Resident: $60
  • Non-Resident Alien: $60

One-Day Licence

  • Resident: $8
  • Non-Resident: $15
  • Non-Resident Alien: $15

Eight-Day Licence

  • Resident: $15
  • Non-Resident: $30
  • Non-Resident Alien: $30

The Classified Waters Licensing System was created to preserve the unique fishing opportunities provided by these waters, which contribute significantly to the province's reputation as a world class fishing destination. The classified waters of B.C. are fifty-two (52) highly productive trout streams. These streams are classified as either Class I or Class II and are listed in the Water Specific Tables for each Region.

To fish on a stream during the period when it is classified, you need all of the following:

  • a basic Angling Licence
  • a Classified Waters Licence
  • any other stamps required by regulation

Note: a steelhead surcharge stamp is required at all times when fishing for steelhead, or when fishing classified waters during the period when steelhead are known to be present. The specific times when a steelhead licence is mandatory are listed in the Regional Water-Specific Tables.


Prices subject to change. Tax not included. Refund Policy
 
Basic and supplementary licences and stamps are not valid in National Parks (except for Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. See Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis, Provincial Regulations, Fishing in National Parks).
 

Classified Waters Licence Costs

Annual Classified Waters Licence (includes Class I and II)

All annual licences are valid for the current licence year, April 1 to March 31, starting on the date purchased.

  • Resident: $15
  • Annual classified waters licences are not available to non-residents.

Class I Waters Licence

  • Non-Resident: $40/day
  • Non-Resident Alien: $40/day

Class II Waters Licence

  • Non-Resident: $20/day
  • Non-Resident Alien: $20/day

Licence Details

If you are a B.C. resident:

Your Classified Waters Licence may be purchased on-line or from any licence vendor who may offer this service. The Classified Waters Licence is an annual licence. This means you can fish on any Class I or Class II water in the province during the year the licence is valid.

If you are not a B.C. resident (a non-guided non-resident or non-guided non-resident alien):

Your Classified Waters Licence for Class I or Class II waters may be purchased on-line or from any licence vendor who may offer this service.  Class I and Class II classified waters licences are sold on a per diem basis and are date and water specific. Although anglers may purchase as many classified waters licences as they wish, each licence must not exceed 8 consecutive days.

EXCEPTION: Special rules apply for the Dean River.

If you are a guided non-resident or a guided non-resident alien:

Your Classified Waters Licence for Class I or Class II waters may be purchased on-line or from any licence vendor who may offer this service.  Class I and Class II classified waters licences are sold on a per diem basis and are date and water specific. Although anglers may purchase as many classified waters licences as they wish, each licence must not exceed 8 consecutive days.

EXCEPTION: Guided Non-Resident Aliens may only purchase one classified waters licence for the Dean River per year.

As part of the implementation of the 2015 Kootenay Angling Management Plan, a booking system was implemented for non-guided non-residents and non-guided non-resident aliens wanting to fish on Michel Creek, Skookumchuck Creek, and the Wigwam River. These regulatory measures are to help ensure a quality fishing experience, reduce crowding and to support trout conservation.

Angler days available for non-guided non-residents

In order to distribute angling pressure throughout the season, the region has set bi-weekly allocations for each residency group. The following angler day quotas for non-guided non-residents will be distributed throughout the angling season:

Michel Creek River System

  • Non-Resident: 368 angler days
  • Non-Resident Alien: 302 angler days

Skookumchuck Creek River System

  • Non-Resident: 130 angler days
  • Non-Resident Alien: 106 angler days

Wigwam Creek River System

  • Non-Resident: 149 angler days
  • Non-Resident Alien: 122 angler days

Classified waters licences (for non-residents) are available for purchase through the online angling licencing system on March 1st of each angling year at 00:00:01 PST along with all other angling licence pre-sales for the new licencing year. Licence pre-sales will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Once the non-guided non-resident angler days are fully allocated, non-guided anglers may choose to either fish with a licenced angling guide or choose another classified water without these restrictions.

All anglers are required to buy a Classified Waters Licence to fish the classified portions of the Dean River (see Region 5 Synopsis Section (PDF, 2MB) for specific areas and dates).

If you are a Canadian Resident:

There are no limits on the number of days which a Canadian resident may fish the classified portions of the Dean River.

If you are not a resident of Canada (Non-Resident Alien):

  • You are allowed only one Classified Waters Licence for the Dean River
  • You may only fish one classified portion (Class I or Class II) of the Dean River for a maximum of 8 consecutive days per year
  • These restrictions apply regardless of whether guided or unguided

Non-Guided Non-Resident Aliens:

To fish the Class 1 - Main Section of the Dean River, from Crag Creek to signs 500m above the canyon, you must enter an annual limited entry draw held in early April.

Note: the Class 1 section of the Dean River from 100m downstream of the canyon to tidal boundary is NOT included in the annual Dean River Draw.

For more information about the draw, please contact:

Pat Twaddle
Fish and Aquatic Habitat Branch
Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development
email: pat.twaddle@gov.bc.ca
Phone: 250 387-9589