Finfish (Other than Salmon): Points to Remember

Gear

  • There’s no limit to the number of fishing rods you can use except in the tidal waters of the Fraser River, where the limit is one.
  • It is illegal to 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 use two hooks, artificial lures or artificial flies attached 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 and if they’re not arranged so as to catch more than one fish. This does not apply in areas restricted to the use of only one single barbless hook.
    • when fishing for herring, mackerel, northern anchovy, Pacific sand lance or Pacific sardine, when you can attach any number of hooks to a fishing line. This does not apply in areas restricted to the use of only one single barbless hook.
  • It is illegal to use an unattended line or “set line.”
  • It is illegal to 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 (see glossary).
  • A gillnet that you use to fish for smelt cannot be more than 7.5 m long. Mesh size must be between 25 mm and 50 mm. A floating buoy clearly marked with the operator’s name must be attached to each end of the net. You can fish only one gillnet at a time.
  • A dip net that you use to fish for herring, mackerel, northern anchovy, Pacific sand lance, Pacific sardine or smelt must be hung on a frame measuring at most 90 cm in its greatest dimension. The bag can’t be longer than 1.5 times the greatest dimension of the frame.

Reminders

  • You must immediately record in ink on your licence all halibut that you keep from any area, and all lingcod you keep from Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-4), from Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and from Subarea 29-5.
  • You must release incidental catch alive, to the place where you caught it, in a way that causes the least harm to the fish.
  • When sport fishing, you may not waste any fish that’s suitable for human consumption. However, you are allowed to use fish offal, herring, mackerel, northern anchovy and Pacific sardine as bait when fishing with traps.
  • It is illegal to have any sport-caught halibut on board any vessel on which there are fish destined for sale.
  • It’s recommended that you not consume the liver from groundfish caught near industrial sites because of possible dioxin and furan contamination. The muscle tissue (fillets) of coastal groundfish and other finfish species is not affected.
  • It’s recommended that you eat only those spiny dogfish under 60 cm long because of high mercury levels in the tissues of larger, older dogfish.
  • Be aware of hook and line, downrigger and trap gear entanglement risks in the vicinity of the UVIC Venus project in Pat Bay, Saanich Inlet. For more information, visit: www.venus.uvic.ca/notice.php

Halibut

  • Halibut have a better chance of survival when you release them properly by removing the hook or cutting the line close to the hook. You’re encouraged to use a circle hook when fishing with bait to reduce the chance that a released fish will die. The circle hook’s point should not be offset from the hook’s shank.
  • You must immediately record in ink on your licence all halibut retained from any Area.
  • Learn to release halibut with care.
  • In addition to the regular tidal water sport fishing licence, recreational harvesters can obtain an experimental licence, on a voluntary basis, that will allow the licence holder to lease halibut quota from the commercial sector for use in the recreational fishery. More information.

Lingcod

  • There is no size limit for lingcod in Areas 1 to 10, 101 to 110, 130 and 142. In all other areas the minimum size limit for a lingcod is 65 cm. The minimum size limit for lingcod with the head removed is 53 cm, measured along the shortest length of the body to the tip of the tail.
  • You must immediately record in ink on your licence all lingcod retained from Areas 12 to 19 (excluding Subarea 12-14), and from Subareas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5.

Rockfish

  • Rockfish stocks, particularly in the Strait of Georgia (Salish Sea), are at low levels. Avoid rockfish by fishing away from rocky reef areas, key habitat for these fish.
  • Rockfish rarely survive after being caught, so keep what you catch within your limit. Move to another area or change your gear or fishing method if you reach your rockfish limit.
  • Rockfish Conservation Areas

Sturgeon

  • You’re not allowed to keep sturgeon from any tidal or fresh waters in British Columbia. If you are catch-and-release fishing in the tidal waters of the Fraser River, you must use a single barbless hook.

Smelt

  • When fishing for smelt in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, please be considerate of others using the seawall. If you fish with dip nets or gillnets, be careful not to get in the way of pedestrians or cyclists. Clean up scales and other fish parts that may make the seawall slippery for others.
  • Pacific Spirit Park includes all beaches from the Fraser River’s North Arm around Point Grey to Acadia Beach, near Spanish Banks Beach. Park hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., from the start of Daylight Saving Time to Labour Day and during the remainder of the year from 8 a.m. to dusk.