Regulation Changes for 2021-2023

• Big Qualicum River – The reduced area of the August 15 to October 15 angling closure in the vicinity of the E&N trestle.
• Gordon River, Nahmint River, Heber River – Extended the No Fishing time from December 1 to April 30 to November 1 to April 30.
• Rogers Creek – Fishing is not allowed from December 1 to April 30.

Vancouver Island Fishing Regulations

Fishing regulations or laws protect natural resources while also assisting anglers in having more success.
Anglers would be able to fish for all species, at all times, and in any quantity, if these regulations did not exist, which could deplete a fish population and cause a species to become extinct.

 Valid licences are required for fishing in all BC regions, and plus that, you should always check the rules before a fishing trip; they may change by season or month.
All fishing regulations are intended to improve and conserve fish populations. Size limits are meant to protect fish of spawning size before they are caught and, fishing seasons protect fish during spawning and limit the catch on heavily fished waters.

The British Columbia General Fishing Regulations Synopsis

The British Columbia Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis is only provided to notify general information. Where there is a difference between this Synopsis and the Regulations, the Regulations must be considered as the final authority. Regulations might change for many reasons, such as in-season regulation changes, and it is the responsibility of every angler to be informed of the current rules.

All anglers interested in salmon should check the Management of Salmon Fisheries in B.C for bait selection, gear selection, required licences and any other regulations for salmon fishing.
You must check the updated information and knows the limited fishing areas before planning your fishing trip.

Daily Quotas on Vancouver Island

4, but not more than
• 1 over 50 cm (2 hatchery steelhead over 50 cm allowed)
• 2 from streams (must be hatchery)
And you must release:
• All wild steelhead
• All wild trout from streams
• All char (includes Dolly Varden)

NOTE: There is no general minimum size limit for trout in lakes or hatchery origin trout in streams.

unlimited (see water specific regulations table for exceptions and mercury advisory below)

White Sturgeon:
catch and release only

Yellow perch:

Crayfish: 25

Kokanee: 5 (none from streams)

An Annual Celebration of Fishing

Throughout the third weekend in June and the preceding Friday, the provincial government waives the necessity for Canadian citizens to purchase or carry a non-tidal (freshwater) basic licence.
There are excellent free opportunities to get together with family and friends and try your hand at fishing!
This is an excellent opportunity to get together with family and friends and try your hand at fishing!
Anglers must still follow quotas and other fishing regulations. Furthermore, if you intend to fish for species that require a conservation surcharge stamp (steelhead, Char and Shuswap Lake rainbow trout, Kootenay Lake rainbow trout, salmon and white sturgeon in both tidal and non-tidal waters); or angle Classified Waters (highly productive trout streams; listed as Class I or Class II waters in the water-specific regulations), you must still purchase the appropriate licence(s) and conservation surcharge stamps.


• Freshwater angling regulations and fisheries management for Haida Gwaii (Management Units 6-12 and 6-13) are now same with Vancouver Island.
• No freshwater fishing is permitted within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve (on Haida Gwaii) and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Annual Quotas on Vancouver Island

Annual catch quota for all B.C.: 10 steelhead per licence year (only hatchery steelhead may be retained in B.C.)

Possession Quotas on Vancouver Island

Possession quotas = 2 daily quotas

Summer Closure

Fishing is not allowed in any stream in Management Units 1-1 to 1-6 from July 15 - Aug 31.

Illegal Fishing Activities

• Using a fishing line to which more than one artificial fly is attached (i.e., to use “dropper flies”) is forbbiden.

• Using light in any way to attract fish except the light is submerged and attached to the fishing line within 1 m of the hook is unlawful.

• It is forbidden to fish with nets, including minnow nets, dip nets, cast nets, or gill nets.

• Using barbed hooks or any hook with more than one point in all rivers, streams, creeks, or sloughs in B.C is prohibited. (Although the use of barbed hooks in lakes is allowed except the one noted in the Regional Water-Specific Tables).

Allowable Fishing Methods

Your basic fishing licence allows you to:
• fish with a fishing line that is attached to a single hook, an artificial lure or an artificial fly.

• angle with a downrigger provided that the fishing rod is attached to the downrigger by a quick-release mechanism.

• ice fish with a single line and one lure, artificial fly or other terminal attractors.

• It is your legal responsibility to warn others of the existence of your ice hole and to remove the ice lodge prior to the breakup.

• Fishing with a set line. In lakes in Regions 6 and 7A, you may only fish with a set line (an unattended line). You are only permitted to use one line with one hook (no smaller than 3 cm from point to shank). Other than burbot, any game fish caught must be released. Lines must be labelled with the angler's name, address, and phone number.

• Set Line Hook (shown in 1/2 size)

• Only non-game fish (such as carp) are permitted to be speared, with the exception of burbot, which is permitted in Regions 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. No other game fish, pacific salmon, or protected species may be speared anywhere in British Columbia. In Regions 1, 2, and 4, no spearfishing of any kind is permitted.

• use any number or size of traps to catch crayfish for personal consumption. All finfish caught in your trap must be released. Crayfish with less than 9 cm in total length, as well as those bearing eggs or young, should be released to help sustain crayfish populations. All other methods of catching finfish and crayfish are prohibited.

Rules on Bait Usage

"Bait" is any nutrition or natural substance used to entice fish, other than wood, cotton, wool, hair, fur, or feathers. It does now not encompass finfish, other than the roe. It includes roe, worms, and different safe-to-eat substances, as properly as scents and flavourings containing natural elements or nutrients.

Roe, you are not allowed to have more than 1 kg of roe (fish eggs) in your possession for use as bait until the roe used to be bought from an industrial supply that lawfully obtained that roe or you have in your possession the freshly dressed fish from which the roe in extra of 1 kg used to be taken. If you bought roe from a commercial source, you must carry a receipt with you.

Aquatic invertebrates
Aquatic invertebrates, you might also use freshwater invertebrates (e.g., aquatic insects and crayfish) in streams as bait until a bait ban applies. No one shall use as bait or possess for that motive any freshwater invertebrate (this involves the aquatic stage of any insect, such as caddisfly larvae or dragonfly nymphs) at a lake.

Chumming, trying to attract fish by using depositing any substance in the water is prohibited.

Finfish involved all fish other than crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, shellfish, and marine mammals. The use of finfish (dead or alive) or parts of finfish different than roe is prohibited everywhere in the province, with the following exception: You can also use the head of a finfish or the headless body of finfish as bait on Vancouver Island.

Fish Tagging in British Columbia Provincial

Some fish are marked with a "spaghetti" tag in the back near the dorsal fin base. You may recognize them from radiotagged, a small wire protruding from the mouth or from a healed scar on the fish's stomach.
If you catch a tagged fish, please record the following information to help and cooperating with fish-tagging studies in British Columbia:
1. tag color and number
2. date and location where caught or found
3. species
4. fish length (estimated length in centimeters or inches)
5. method of capture (for example, angling, found, etc.)
If you catch a fish that has a tag, don't let the tag influence whether you retain or release the fish. In most B.C., if you release the fish, do not remove the tag or transmitter so the fish can continue its journey and contribute information to the study. Fishing is not allowed in any stream in Management Units 1-1 to 1-6 from July 15 - Aug 31.

Keeping and Transporting Your Catch

These below simple guidelines should observe in non-tidal waters on BC when clean or transport your catch (except for Salmon). Generally, officers must be able to identify your catch, counting and measuring that.
• Do not use a bottle, can or fillet fish caught by sport fishing in non-tidal waters except at your permanent residence (commercial canning of these fish is prohibited).

• Leave all fins, head and tail on your fish until you get them to your permanent residence. We recommend you immediately remove internal organs and also the gills of any fish you keep to reduce spoilage.

• Do not freeze fish beside each other in an unrecognizable block.

Boating Regulations

Boating regulations are enacted for fisheries management and public safety.
The regulations include:
• You may use a boat or any floating device for transportation in these waters, but you may not angle from that boat.
• You are not allowed to angle from a boat equipped with a motor on these waters.
• All types of boat motors contain steam; internal combustion and electricity are forbidden on these waters; you may use only battery-powered electric motors. In addition, wind or human propelled craft may be used.
• The boat motors cannot exceed the engine power (given in kilowatts) listed in the “Exceptions” column (Water Specific Regulations).
• Boats equipped with motors cannot exceed the speed limit listed in the “Exceptions” column (Water Specific Regulations).
• Do not tow a person on water skis, a surfboard, or another water toy.
• All types of boats and rafts are prohibited. Please note: most boating regulations are the responsibility of the Government of Canada, Marine Transportation.

Angling Safely in Bear Country

Bears are found throughout Vancouver Island., especially near streams. Black bears and grizzlies have a keen sense of smell, which may attract them to bait, freshly-caught fish, fish guts and spawning grounds. Here are some simple precautions to help you keep away from bear encounters and conflicts, Of course, if you are not interested to attract and hunting them.
  • Dispose of fish guts at the exact location to catch the fish. Puncture the bladder and drop the guts into the deep or speeding water, well away from heavily used shoreline areas. Avoid disposal in shallow water or where the guts are probably to wash up on a beach or boat launch. Burial or burning the guts is not recommended; also, please do not place guts in garbage receptacles.
• Do not wipe your hands on your clothing after handling fish or bait such as fish eggs or after cleaning fish.

• Bears can be drawn to many types of food –fish and bait and groceries or garbage. Take precautions while fishing and always keep fish eggs in well-sealed and protected containers.

• Make your presence known by talking loudly or making noise, particularly along streams and in areas with signs of bear activity like tracks, droppings, or claw or bite marks on trees).

• If a bear nears within 50 metres (or 100 metres for a female with cubs) while you’re fishing, reel in or cut your line and leave the area quickly.

Limited Fishing Areas on Vancouver Island

• Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
• Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve
• Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
• Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve
• Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve
• Robson Bight Ecological Reserve
• Bowser Ecological Reserve
 • Cleland Island Ecological Reserve
• Clanninick Creek Ecological Reserve
 • Claud Elliott Creek Ecological Reserve
 • Hənʎəmdᶻi Məkola/Yorke Island Conservancy
• Baikie Island Nature Preserve
 • Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve
• Baeria Rocks Ecological Reserve
 • Honeymoon Bay Ecological Reserve
• Yellow Point Bog Ecological Reserve
• Canoe Islets Ecological Reserve
• Ballingall Islets Ecological Reserve
 • Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve
 • Trial Islands Ecological Reserve
 • Race Rocks Ecological Reserve
• Zeballos Lake
• Macktush Creek
 • Craigflower Creek
• Tsolum River
• Hemmingsen Creek
 • Consort Creek
• Thelwood Creek
• Healy Lake
• Colquitz River
• Tlools Lake
• Hawarth Lake
• Claud Elliott Creek
• Nola Lake
• Haslam Creek
• Catherine Creek
• Myra Lake
• Goldstream River
• Carnation Creek
• Miller Creek
• Cruickshank River
• Browns River

Mercury Levels

As the risk of mercury poisoning is generally low, mercury levels in fish are not routinely monitored across B.C. lakes and streams. Mercury can accumulate in fish muscle tissue, with larger-sized predatory species like lake trout, bass, and walleye tending to accumulate the highest amounts. Currently, only four areas in B.C. have consumption advisories because of higher mercury levels.
Some areas notice the high amounts above national guidelines; these advisories are for Small bass on Vancouver Island and also the Gulf Islands (Region 1).
In addition to the general public, children, pregnant and also women of childbearing age and breastfeeding must be careful about the consumption of Smallmouth Bass.
More information on mercury in fish and fish consumption can be found in the HealthLinkBC Food Safety.

Fishing Dictionary and Sources


Annual: the licence year, beginning April 1 and ending on March 31.

Barbless Hook: a hook without a barb on
any part of the hook, including both the point and shank. Existing tackle may be modified by completely removing the barb or by crimping the barb down so that its point is flush against the shaft.

Daily Quota: the maximum number of fish of a given species, group of species, or size class that you may keep in one calendar day.

Fly Fishing: angling with a line to which only an artificial fly is attached (floats, sinkers, or attracting devices may not be attached to the line when fishing is restricted to "fly fishing only").

Hatchery Trout: in some waters, hatchery trout may be harvested, but wild trout must be released. In these waters, hatchery trout are marked before stocking by removal of their adipose fin. Therefore, these hatchery trout must have a healed scar in place of the missing fin.

Licence Year: the period beginning April 1 and ending March 31.

Management Unit: a Management Unit is a subdivision of a region. For detailed maps of Management Units, the British Columbia Recreational Atlas is available at many bookstores.

Non-Resident: means you are not a "resident", but (a) you are a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, OR (b) your primary residence is in Canada, AND you have resided in Canada for the immediately preceding 12 months.

Non-Resident Alien: means you are neither a "resident" nor a "non-resident".

Ordinary Residence: a residential dwelling where a person normally lives, with all associated connotations including a permanent mailing address, telephone number, furnishings and storage of automobile; the address on one's driver's licence and automobile registration, where one is registered to vote. A motor home or vessel at a campsite or marina is not considered to be an ordinary residence.

Possession Quota: the number of fish of any species that an angler may have in their possession at any given time, EXCEPT at place of ordinary residence (see above). In most instances, the possession quota is two times the daily quota. See Tables for exceptions.

Set Line: a fishing line that is left unattended in the water.

Single Hook: a hook having only one point. (In contrast, a treble hook is a hook having three points on a common shaft.) Note: Use of a treble hook is permitted unless "single hook" is specified.

Snagging (Foul Hooking): hooking a fish in any other part of its body other than the mouth. Attempting to snag fish of any species is prohibited. Any fish willfully or accidentally snagged must be released immediately.

Stream Mouth: the point at which the surface elevation of a stream and the water body into which it flows are the same, except as posted by signs or markers or otherwise defined.

Tributaries: all streams that contribute to a larger stream or to a lake.

Fishing on Vancouver Island Common Question

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Yes, you are allowed to use as many rods as you want.
Share your angling experience or fishing journey on Vancouver Island with us!