Information to know before sport fishing in B.C.
Before you fish, make sure you’re prepared. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1. Get a recreational fishing licence
To find out what kind of recreational fishing licence you need and how to get it, visit our Learn about and apply for a recreational fishing licence page.
To buy a B.C. Tidal Waters Sport Fishing licence, visit:
- the National Recreational Licensing System (NRLS)
- an Independent Access Provider (a licence vendor)
2. Plan your trip
If you plan to use a guide when you fish, consider hiring a certified guide. We support the Certified Tidal Angling Guide program. If you’re travelling to British Columbia to fish, visit Destination BC for information on activities, accommodations and guides.
Check the current regulations
We manage recreational fishing in:
- tidal (salt) waters for all species
- non-tidal (fresh) waters for salmon
Management measures include regulating the species you are allowed to fish for, the number of fish you are allowed to catch and keep and the gear you are allowed to use.
Fresh water fishing for species other than salmon is managed by the province of British Columbia. See their freshwater fishing regulations for rules around freshwater recreational fishing for all species but salmon.
Fishing limits, openings and closures can change daily, so always check for recreational fishing limits, openings and closures before you fish to find out:
- if fishing is permitted in your area
- which species you can fish
- which species you cannot fish
- how many fish you can retain (if any)
Areas may be closed for various reasons, such as conservation. Make sure you read your conditions of licence in full, and review our unlawful fishing actions page to understand what you can and can’t do when recreational fishing in BC.
Types of gear
The types of gear you can use varies by species. See the list of allowable gear for:
- salmon; barbless hooks are required for all salmon and sea-run trout fishing
- finfish (other than salmon)
In tidal waters, there is no limit to the number of fishing rods you may use.
In rivers, streams and the tidal waters of the Fraser River, there is a limit of one rod per fisher.
3. Record, clean, package and transport your catch
Record your catch
You must record your catch in ink on your fishing licence or in the National Recreational Licencing System if you catch and retain:
- chinook salmon
You do not need to record your catch for any other species.
Packaging and transporting
Packaging requirements vary by species. See the packaging guidelines for:
See our fishery notice system or visit our recreational fishing limits, openings and closures by area page for up-to-date information on the management area or region where you plan to fish.
Sign up to receive Fishery Notices by email for all areas, or just your favorites.
For recorded information, including updates on red tide closures, call the Fishing info line:
- Greater Vancouver: 604-666-2828
- Outside the Greater Vancouver area: 1-866-431-FISH (3474)
For the latest fishing information in your area, contact your local DFO office.
Follow us @sportfishingbc for updates on openings and closures.
- Date modified: