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What to know about fishing licenses and regulations if you move to British Columbia

If you’ve moved to British Columbia from another Canadian province or country, and if you love fishing, there are some things to consider about your new life as a recreational fisherman in BC’s waters. Rules can be different than where you’re from. In this article, our Metro Vancouver movers, who have moved families to and from cities in B.C., will explain a few guidelines on exploring fishing licenses and regulations in this province.

Fishing in BC freshwater is not the same as fishing in saltwater; moving to B.C. means two separate fishing licenses

Some bodies of water are regulated provincially, while others are regulated federally. This is important to know for BC because the province sits on the Pacific Coast. If you have traditionally fished in the Interior or the Prairies, this may be new for you upon moving to BC – having to obtain two separate license for the type of fishing you want to do.

Before or after you move to BC, you’ll need to view the rules for federal fishing licenses for tidal waters. Here is a link that may help:

For the Federal system, it’s also important to note that Canada participates in international treaties and national laws that regulate fish species. For this reason, when you catch fish in Canadian tidal waters off the coast of B.C., you’ll need to be aware of some changing regulations and programs over time.

For example, there are certain endangered species of fish you can not catch and keep. There are also special rules for your license to be able to obtain salmon. Since salmon live in both salt and freshwater, they are governed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada – even in provincial lakes. So if you are fishing for salmon in provincially-regulated freshwater, you need to be aware of federal restrictions. Remember you have moved to B.C., but you are still in Canada, where national laws can apply.

And, for research purposes, it’s important to identify fish that have tags which need returning, to be able to monitor species.

Here is a list of items that are illegal in Canadian waters in the region of British Columbia:

And illegal fishing is serious – people DO get fined for such actions:

Moving to BC will be expensive enough – don’t add a fishing violation fine to that, just because of ignorance! Take time to do your research and keep up to date with notices.

For fishing in B.C.-regulated waters, you’ll need a provincial fishing license. This can be an electronic license bought online, or you can buy one at a vendor. You will get an Angler number which you need to keep handy to renew your license starting in March (licenses are seasonal!). Here is a website with more information:

In the provincial jurisdiction, there are also fishing rules and laws to follow. Some are for everyone’s benefit, such as shellfish notices that warn fishers of toxicity levels in species that can be harmful.

You’ll also need to be aware of rules that require you to pack fish you’ve caught in a certain way, so that they can be inspected. This is because there is a minimum size of the catch you can bring home.

Depending on where you’ve moved to in B.C., you’ll want to be familiar with the regions that are determined for fishing licenses and regulations. Here is a handy guide on the division of fishing regions in B.C.:

There is also a guide from the government website here:

For federally-managed waters, see this guide on the Pacific region:

After moving to B.C., check on fishing quotas before you embark on a fishing adventure

There are also limits on how much fish you can catch as a recreational fisher. Sport fishing is not discouraged in B.C. – in fact it’s part of the reason people love coming to the province. However, to preserve species and prevent over fishing, the governments in charge of these waters impose limits. Here is a guide that helps you determine if what you’re catching is within those limits:

From Fishers and Oceans Canada:

You’ll also want to check on seasonal changes to regulations on fishing quotas.

BC fish are stocked, and there are many places to find them once you’ve move

One useful note is that fish in B.C. lakes and streams are stocked from hatcheries funded by license fees, through a non profit organization. This can mean a few things for the local fisherman. One is that there can be specific tips for fishing with stocked fish. The other is that if you know where to find stocked fish, you can enhance your fishing experience.

When you move to BC, register your boat before you use it for fishing

If you’re a seasoned recreational fisher, you may have a powered boat for your fishing excursions or otherwise. The boat is required to be registered through Transport Canada. There are also boating restrictions, as well as safety guidelines to be aware of.You also will need to pay attention to regulations for boaters that prevent invasive species.

Moving to British Columbia might make a talented sport fisher out of you

We’ve covered some of the guidelines when it comes to fishing regulations and licenses you need to know about before moving to BC. But don’t let the many rules deter you from having fun fishing. As they say, ‘a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work’.

Ferguson Moving & Storage in Vancouver BC

If you’re making a move in the Greater Vancouver Area and need a professional moving & storage company, give Ferguson Moving and Storage a call at 604-922-2212 or request a quote online through our website!

Fishing Licenses and Regulations When you Move to BC

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