Salmon: Points to Remember

Salmon Identification

Gear

In tidal waters

  • Barbless hooks are required for all salmon and sea-run trout fishing. Treble barbless hooks are acceptable in most areas; however, single barbless hooks are required in many tidal areas of coastal rivers and in areas requiring special management measures.
  • If you pinch a barbed hook, the barb must be crimped flat against the shaft. Partially crimped barbs are not allowed.
  • In tidal waters, there’s no limit to the number of fishing rods you can use. In rivers and streams, including the tidal waters of the Fraser River, there’s a limit of one rod per angler.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • It is illegal to sport fish with nets, including dip nets, minnow nets, gillnets or cast nets.

In freshwater

  • Single barbless hooks are required for all salmon fishing.
  • If you pinch a barbed hook, the barb must be crimped flat against the shaft. Partially crimped barbs are not allowed.
  • It is illegal to angle with more than one fishing line in any lake, stream or river. The only exception is if you are alone in a boat on a lake, in which case you can have two lines.
  • It is illegal to sport fish for salmon and trout using any method except angling.
  • When an area is restricted to fly fishing only, you may not attach a weight or float to the line.
  • It is illegal to sport fish with nets, including dip nets, minnow nets, gillnets or cast nets.

Limits

  • The daily limit for all species of Pacific salmon from tidal and fresh waters combined is four. Individual species limits also apply.
  • The possession limit for all salmon from all waters is twice the daily limit. You cannot possess more than eight salmon in total, except for salmon that are at your ordinary residence.
  • Unless otherwise specified in the limit table, all retained chinook must measure 45 cm or more from the tip of nose to fork of tail. All coho, sockeye, pink and chum must measure 30 cm or more.
  • The coast-wide daily limit for chinook is two. The total chinook annual limit is 30 from any tidal waters, of which at most:
    • 10 may be caught in the tidal waters of the Fraser River;
    • 15 may be caught in the waters of Area 12 to 18, 28 and 29 and that portion of Area 19 north of Cadboro Point;
    • 20 may be caught in the waters of Subareas 19-1 to 19-4 and 20-5 to 20-7.
    • Note: Subareas 20-1 to 20-4 (west of Sheringham Point) is part of the chinook total annual limit of 30 from any tidal waters.
  • You must immediately record in ink on your licence all chinook retained.
  • There’s an annual limit of 10 adult chinook from all freshwaters. The definition of adult chinook can vary depending on the time and area, so be sure to check online before fishing.

Reminders

  • Incidental catch, possession of which is not permitted at that time or from that area, must be released alive immediately back into the waters from which is was caught, and in a manner that causes it the least harm.
  • A Salmon Conservation Stamp must be purchased and affixed to the tidal waters licence of all anglers who wish to retain any salmon caught.
  • A provincial Salmon Conservation Stamp is also required to retain any salmon caught in freshwater.
  • A marked fish is a hatchery fish that has a healed scar in place of the adipose fin. The adipose fin is the fleshy appendage found on salmon located between the dorsal fin and the tail.
  • It is illegal to wilfully foul hook a salmon. If you accidentally foul hook a salmon in the ocean, you can keep it. If you foul hook a salmon, wilfully or accidentally, in any lake or stream, including the tidal parts of coastal streams, you must release it immediately.
  • There are no salmon in Region 4 (Kootenays). For information on other freshwater species in Region 4, refer to the B.C. Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis
  • You are not allowed to fish for salmon:
    • within 23 m below the lower entrance to any fishway, canal, obstacle or leap
    • within a 100 m radius of any government facility operated for counting, passing or rearing fish.