Unlawful Actions

It is illegal to:

  • fish for finfish and/or shellfish without a licence.
  • catch and retain salmon if your licence does not have a valid Salmon Conservation Stamp attached to it.
  • wilfully foul hook or attempt to foul hook any fish other than herring, northern anchovy, Pacific sand lance and squid.
  • possess more than your daily limit and/or possession limit.
  • fish for salmon, cutthroat trout and steelhead with a barbed hook.
  • angle with a fishing line to which more than one hook, artificial lure or artificial fly is attached except:
    • in the tidal portion of the Fraser River you can use two hooks, artificial lures or artificial flies, attached to a fishing line; and
    • in tidal waters any number of hooks attached to a fishing line if the hooks are used in combination to hold a single piece of bait; and
    • in tidal waters when fishing for Herring, Northern Anchovy, Pacific Sand Lance or Squid you may use any number of hooks on a fishing line.
  • angle in a Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA).
  • kill, harm, harass, capture or take a species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened under the Species at Risk Act.
  • use spears to fish for salmon, trout, char, sturgeon and shellfish, except shrimp.
  • fish with a fixed weight (sinker) greater than 1 kg except on a downrigger line, in which case the fishing line must be attached to the downrigger by means of an automatic release clip.
  • leave a fishing line unattended in the water.
  • use explosives or chemicals to molest, injure or kill fish.
  • use gaff hooks in angling except as an aid to landing a fish caught on a legal line or rod and reel.
  • use torches or artificial lights while sport fishing, except when they are submerged and attached to a fishing line, within 1 m of the fishing hook.
  • catch or attempt to catch any fish with snares.
  • fail to release with the least amount of harm any fish caught that you may not lawfully retain. When releasing a fish you must return it to the water from which it was caught immediately. Finfish may not be kept alive in live wells aboard a vessel.
  • release live fish into any fish habitat except fish that is immediately returned to the waters from which it was caught.
  • trap or pen fish on their spawning ground, or in rivers or streams leading to spawning grounds.
  • buy, sell, barter or attempt to buy, sell or barter any fish caught by sport fishing.
  • possess any fish caught while sport fishing that is dressed or packed in a manner so that the species cannot be easily identified, measured where size limits are applicable, identified as hatchery origin where hatchery salmon are allowed, and the number of fish readily counted where quotas are applicable. This includes removing the carapace, or shell, from any crab — see Packaging and Transporting Your Catch.
  • field can any fish outside of a person's ordinary residence, other than at a registered licensed facility.

Penalties for contravention of the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations include voluntary ticket payments up to $1,000 and possible seizure and forfeiture of fishing gear and catch, or court-imposed fines up to $100,000 on first offence and possible court-imposed forfeiture of fishing gear, catch, vessel or other equipment used in the commission of an offence. Licences may also be suspended or cancelled.