Unlawful Actions

It is illegal to:

  • fish for salmon, other finfish or shellfish without a valid licence
  • catch and keep salmon without a valid Salmon Conservation Stamp attached to your licence
  • possess more than your daily limit or possession limit except for what is at your ordinary residence
  • wilfully foul hook or attempt to foul hook any fish except herring, mackerel, northern anchovy, Pacific sand lance, Pacific sardine and squid
  • fish for salmon, cutthroat trout or steelhead with a barbed hook, including within the tidal portions of any stream (such as the Fraser River and Skeena River)
  • angle with a fishing line that has more than one hook, artificial lure or artificial fly attached except:
    • in the tidal waters of the Fraser River, where you can attach two hooks, artificial lures or artificial flies to a bar rig
    • in tidal waters, where you can attach any number of hooks to a fishing line if using the hooks in combination to hold a single piece of bait
    • in tidal waters, where you can attach any number of hooks to a fishing line if fishing for herring, mackerel, northern anchovy, Pacific sand lance, Pacific sardine or squid
  • use spears to fish for salmon, trout, char, sturgeon, octopus or shellfish other than shrimp
  • use gaff hooks in angling except as an aid to landing a fish
  • use explosives or chemicals to molest, injure or kill fish
  • use snares to catch or attempt to catch any fish, including crab
  • 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
  • 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 a release clip
  • leave a fishing line unattended in the water
  • 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.
  • fail to release with the least amount of harm any fish caught that you may not legally retain; when releasing a fish, you must immediately return it to the water you caught it from
  • release live fish into any fish habitat except for fish that you immediately return to the water you caught it from
  • trap or pen fish on their spawning ground, or in rivers or streams that lead to spawning grounds
  • buy, sell or barter or attempt to buy, sell or barter any fish caught by sport fishing
  • possess any fish caught while sport fishing that is not dressed or packed as described on the Packaging and Transporting Your Catch page.
  • 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.