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 online or in person from BC Service Centres and Licence Vendors.

Did you know? 100% of your licence fees directly benefit recreational fisheries. Licence revenue goes to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, funding research, conservation and education programs, improving angler access and the provincial stocking program. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation receives 100% of the surcharge revenue collected from angling licence sales to provide grants for fish conservation projects.

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.

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.

In this program, 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.

The fee reduction is for the annual Non-Tidal Angling Licence ONLY. It does not entitle the applicant to a reduction on Conservation Surcharge Stamps, the White Sturgeon Conservation Licence or the Classified Waters Licence.

An application form is available for download [PDF 126KB], or forms may be obtained from Service BC Centres throughout the province.

To qualify, an applicant must submit documentation confirming that he/she is in receipt of 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 presented to a Service BC office or sent by mail to:

Fish and Aquatic Habitat Branch
PO Box 9391, STN PROV GOVT

Victoria, B.C.  V8T 9M3

Individuals may purchase future licences by presenting an expired licence purchased at the reduced fee or a Certificate of Eligibility to any licence vendor. If a licence becomes lost, stolen or destroyed, eligibility can be confirmed by contacting any Service BC Centre or the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management in Victoria.

Further information is available from any of the Service BC Centres or by calling the Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, in Victoria at 250 356-9295 or 250 387-9589.

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

Prices subject to change, tax not included.          Refund Policy

Basic Recreational Freshwater Fishing Licence Options
Basic Licences Resident

Non-
Resident

Non-Resident
Alien

Annual Angling
Licence
(valid April 1st-
March 31st)
$36 $55 $80
One Day
Angling Licence*
$10 $20 $20
Eight Day
Angling Licence*
$20 $36 $50
Annual Licence
for Disabled
$1 N/A N/A
Annual Licence
for Age 65 Plus
$5 N/A N/A

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

Lost your Licence? Refer to the "Lost your Licence" section listed below for more information and next steps.

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

Please review the licences you have selected to ensure they are correct prior to 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 Service BC Centre you are purchasing the correct licences for the type of fishing you intend.

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.”

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

Prices subject to change, tax not included                                         Refund Policy

Conservation Surcharges
Conservation Surcharge Resident Non-Resident

Non-Resident

Alien

Steelhead $25 $60 $60
Salmon $15 $30 $30

Shuswap Lake

Rainbow Trout

$10 $20 $20

Kootenay Lake

Rainbow Trout

$10 $20 $20
Shuswap Lake Char $10 $20 $20

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).

Steelhead

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.

Non-Tidal Salmon

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

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 Char*

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 Rainbow Trout*

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 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.

Please review the licences you have selected to ensure they are correct prior to 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 Service BC Centre you are purchasing the correct licences for the type of fishing you intend.

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 between May 15 and 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 MFLNRORD South Coast Fish and Aquatic Wildlife group at SCFishandAquaticWildlife@gov.bc.ca.

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

Prices subject to change, tax not included.          Refund Policy

White Sturgeon Conservation Surcharge

White Conservation
Surcharge Licence
Residents Non-Residents Non-Resident
Aliens
One-Day Licence $8 $15 $15
Eight-Day Licence $15 $30 $30
Annual Licence $25 $60 $60
 

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.

All anglers required to buy a basic Angling Licence must also purchase a Classified Waters Licence before fishing on a stream during the period when it is classified:

This licence is required in addition to the basic angling licence and any other stamps required by regulation.

Also note that 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.


All annual licences are valid for the current licence year, April 1 – March 31, commencing on date purchased.
 
Prices subject to change, tax not included                                                                           Refund Policy
Classified Waters Licence
Licences Resident Non-Resident Non-Resident
Alien
Annual Classified
Waters Licence
$15 N/A N/A
Class I
Waters Licence
N/A $40/day $40/day
Class II
Waters Licence
N/A $20/day $20/day
  • All annual licences are valid for the licencing year, April 1 – March 31, commencing on date purchased.
  • 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).

If you are a B.C. resident:

Your Classified Waters Licence may be purchased on-line, from a Service BC Centre, or 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 a non-guided "non-resident" or non-guided "non-resident alien" angler:

Your Classified Waters Licence for Class I or Class II waters may be purchased on-line or from a Service BC Centre or 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: Non-Guided Non-Resident Aliens may only purchase one classified waters licence for the Dean River per year. Non-guided "Non-Resident Aliens" wishing to fish the classified section of the Dean River from Crag Creek to signs 500m above the canyon must enter the Dean River Draw to obtain a licence.

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

Your Classified Waters Licence for Class I or Class II waters may be purchased on-line, from a Service BC Centre or 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.

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 2.11MB] for specific areas and dates). There are no limits on the number of days which a Canadian resident may fish the classified portions of the Dean River. A Non-Resident Alien (someone who is not a resident of Canada) is allowed only one Classified Waters Licence for the Dean River, and may only fish one classified portion (Class I or Class II) of the Dean River for a maximum of 8 consecutive days per year regardless of whether guided or unguided.

A non-guided Non-Resident Alien wishing to fish the Dean River from Crag Creek to signs 500m above the canyon must enter an annual limited entry draw held in March.
(Please note that the Dean River below signs in the lower canyon is a Class I Water and classified from June 1 to September 30. This section is NOT included in the annual Dean River Draw.)

Applications for the draw can be obtained by writing to the address below. You can also download the form below:
For more information about the draw, please contact:
Dean River Draw
Fish and Wildlife Branch
Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
PO Box 9363, STN PROV GOVT
Victoria B.C.  V8W 9M2
Phone: 250 387-9589

What to do if you lose your licence:

  • You must be in possession of a valid licence prior to resuming fishing.
  • Do not buy a new licence. You are only permitted one annual angling licence per year.
  • If you lose your basic non-tidal licence that you purchased on-line, you can log back into the licensing system and:
    • Download an electronic copy to keep on your electronic device
  • If you lose the licence that you purchased on-line and printed, you can log back into the licensing system and:
    • Reprint it yourself for free
    • Get a Service BC Centre to reprint a copy for you (there may be a fee), 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;
  • If you lose the licence that purchased in person at a Service BC Centre or from a Licence Vendor, you can get another hard copy printed at any Service BC Centre or Licence Vendor.  There may be a fee in either case.  You will need to provide your angler number, date of birth and phone number
  • If you are logging onto the eLicence system yourself or getting a Licence Vendor or Service BC to print a replacement, you will need to provide your Angler Number, date of birth and the phone number associated with your profile to access and download or print your replacement document.
  • If you have forgotten your angler number and are unable to use the eLicence options for retrieving it, you can contact Service BC or FrontCounter BC for assistance.
  • Your retention record must be transferred to the new copy.