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Fishing in Canada takes place in tidal (salt) waters of oceans and estuaries and in fresh water, primarily in lakes (including ice fishing) and rivers. All recreational (also called sport) anglers residing in and visiting Canada require the appropriate fishing licence for the type of fishing they plan to do.
The federal department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages tidal waters fishing in the country.
Anglers, including those under 16 years of age, must have a licence to fish for any species of finfish or shellfish in British Columbia and are encouraged to purchase and obtain licences online before heading out. They are available in 1-, 3- or 5-day permits or annual licences depending on the age group and residency of the person fishing. Select Independent Access Providers also sell the licences. Licences are purchased annually and are good from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.
All recreational anglers must carry a printed copy of the licence with them when they are fishing. Any catch of chinook salmon, halibut and lingcod is to be recorded in ink on the printed licence as required by the BC Sports Fishing Regulations.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has useful reading on:
Freshwater licences are managed provincially in Canada and in British Columbia by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. New and returning anglers can register and log in online or purchase person licences at select vendors throughout BC. You must carry your licence while sport fishing in case a conservation officer, park/wildlife ranger or RCMP member asks you to produce it.
Children under 16 who are non-residents of BC do not need any licence or stamp to sport fish, but they must abide by the regulations and be accompanied – or fish with – a person 16 years of age or older (resident or non-resident) with appropriate fishing papers. Any fish kept must be counted as part of the catch and possession of the accompanying licence holder. Minors wanting to keep their own catch quota must obtain a licence.
For more information on freshwater fishing in the province consult the government webpages and documents:
A fishing permit is required to fish in Canada’s national parks and it must be purchased individually at each Parks Canada location. Permits from other national parks are not valid nor are provincial angling licences. A valid national park pass may also be required; this can depend on the park location.
Children under the age of 16 may fish in national parks without a permit if accompanied by a national park permit holder 16 or older. All catch must be included in the permit holder’s daily limit.