BC License Fees increase [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: BC License Fees increase

Scott K
03-10-2003, 01:07 PM
I opened my copy of the new BC regulations synopsis for the coming year of April 2003 to March 2004 and we have increased our license fees somewhat significantly. It's not going to hit the residents of BC as hard, but you guys south of the border just be forewarned if you wish to embark on that Steelhead trip of a lifetime on our northern, interior, or coastal drainages that have classified waters on them and you're on a slight budget.

For example, (CDN funds of course) "Non-resident Alien"
Annual Angling license - $80
8 day angling license - $50

You also must have a Steelhead stamp - $60 (you can only puchase one stamp regardless of the type of license you purchase.)

Also, on top of the stamp and the basic license, you must also pay a classified waters fee which has been essentially doubled per day.

Class 1 Waters $40/day (examples: Upper Dean, Babine, Sustut, Gitnadoix, Upper Copper (Zymoetz) )

Class 2 Waters $20/day (examples: Lower Dean, Bulkley, Morice, Skeena proper, Suskwa (Bear), Kalum, Lakelse, Lower Copper (Zymoetz), Kispiox, A variety of other Skeena, Nass, and other tributaries, Thompson)

So pretending I wanted to do a week trip on the Bulkley
8 day license - $50
Steelhead stamp $60
7 x $20/day - $140

Total - $250 in licenses, CDN funds.

When you factor in the quality of fishing and compare it to other destination accross the world, in my opinion it works out to d*ck all! but it is more than last year. When you factor in exchange rate with our weak CDN dollar, it works out to about $10 total.

A comparable trip for a resident of BC
8 day license - $20
Steelhead stamp $25
Classified waters license, purchased on annual basis - $15

Total - $60

You still can do a trip up north for dirt cheap if you know what you're doing, where to stay, or if you have a 5th wheel or RV. We sure are lucky to live where we live.

03-10-2003, 10:26 PM
Thanks for the info! Now I can get a head start on my investment up north, but I'm always happy to pay, because the returns on this investment are Guaranteed!

03-11-2003, 08:43 PM
based on my one trip the the Babine it's still a bargain...

03-11-2003, 11:54 PM
Since we are feeling bad here about being priced out of B.C. fishing, let me just point up a few experience on my last trip to the Kamloops area.
Horrible campsite--no water, no electricity, no sewer and this was billed as an RV site.
Arrived in the dark and could not park my trailer in this little wretched hole assigned to me. Camped in the road.
Could not sleep because of the biting cold in early June.
Forgot meds, so I aborted my trip and rushed for home--I can't be long without my meds.
I nearly killed two signalmen on the summit in a blinding snow storm. The Canadians have a crane out and have blocked all but one of three lanes. All traffic must converge to one and there is no warning except the flagmen. To be completely accurate, there were a few, very small signs that said something I couldn't read. The signs were about a foot high.
I merged left to avoid killing the two flagmen and I just had to hope that my trailer and I could fit in. We did and all went well but I was terrified by it.
But the best was saved for last. At Abbotsford, I make my turn left to head to the US. About half way to the border the traffic comes to dead halt. Solid trucks in front of me for as far as I can see. One truck length every 5 to 10 minutes.
Finally, observing others, I pull out into the oncoming lane and hope for the best.
I make it to the border and there is no one there! I mean no cars- just one Gestapo man.
Seems the Americans were going through every Canadian truck bound for the U.S.(read 9/11 here) and that was what was taking so long.
The customs agent said it was the fault of the Canadians for not informing Americans, who had no truck and were just simple tourists, to go on ahead. I told him that since we were both from the same sod, why didn't he do something. "No," he says," that's their business because it's Canadian soil.
Damn but I love Canada, even the people! I wanted to retire in Nanaimo but was refused because I did not have a net worth of one million dollars (US) (read fear that you have cancer and are coming up to die at the expense of the Canadians and their health program).
Plus, and while this is a bummer and not really Canada"s fault, I have been skunked the last three times in a row at Roche Lake which I thought I had dialed in.
So like a dumb dolly that has been hooked to death, I'm a bit sore about my friends to the north of me and I think I'll just fish in E. WA. and avoid all this crap.
So all the gold that I have dumped in Canada, and it is more than I care to think, will come to an abrupt halt.
Canada, B.C.particularly, lives and dies by tourism, but some people up your way are doing their damnedest to discourage it. Why is this so? Why not hike the fees up to four or five times more next year?

03-12-2003, 07:21 AM
After reading your post the Canadians will probably be happy that you aren't coming back.
As to your problems while in transit how can you blame Canada for the fact that by your own admission you are inattentive while behind the wheel and don't know how to drive your own rig.
How much does it cost for a nonresident to go salmon or steelhead fishing in your state?:(

03-12-2003, 10:05 AM
remember that B.C. stands for "bring cash". I kive here and get taxed and "user fee'd" to death. On the plus side the license increases are supposed to go back to the goverment agency looking after the freshwater fisheries.

03-12-2003, 10:47 AM
When I was there in 1986 I think I paid about $ 70-80 CDN for a one week license and steelhead stamp. I have the 1986 BC regulation book at home in FF historical library. Will check it out to see what the fees were then for us RICH americans.

BTW, I felt like I needed an on river lawyer to help me interpret where to fish and with what legally, wow those were some complicated fishing regulations compared to here in GL country where it is fairly simple for andramous and trout fishing regulations. 95% of andramous waters are open 24/7 here.

Like that BC = Bring Cash

Pm Out

03-12-2003, 11:41 AM
let's see, purchase freshwater license,steelhead stamp,salmon stamp, clasified waters license for both class one and class two, fly fish w/floating line,barbless single hook, never keep what you catch and yes you should be legal most of the time. The only problem now will be if the river is really open to fishing or not. There you have it, B.C. (bring cash) simplified freshwater regulations.

Scott K
03-12-2003, 12:29 PM
I don't think it would take a brain surgeon to figure out that if you are in an area where you are "going blind," with no previous expierience and little knowledge that you would consult a tackle store or hire a guide for a day, or both, for some information on the river you intend to fish and the specific regulations and how they apply. You have to buy a license somewhere right?

I agree that in general regulations are confusing, but when faced with the task my question is could you make them less confusing in all honesty? I can tell you that I could probably make most regulations less confusing but the regulations would turn from an 80 page synopsis to a 200 plus page manual because I would list each specific stream, what you can, can not keep, and the specific regulations, instead of the generalisations and each region and then the specific stream regulations which seems to confuse people. This would make each seperate streams regulations less confusing but add to the bulk of the regulations.

03-12-2003, 01:35 PM
Oh I forget and then there was the BC fisheries officer who checked me twice the same day on the Vedder to see if I was fishing legally. Probably the first time he noticed my 7 day license and said, aaah a newbie american fly fisher, perhaps I can catch him doing something illegal at the end of the day. So there he was checking me again. Actually I was impressed since I have probably got checked by a fisheries officer maybe 2-3 other times in 43 years of FF in the US.

No one was hitting steelies it was very wintry weather, got out of Vancouver earlier than planned, headed to LA next day on Santa Monica beaches, 80 degrees etc.. quite a dicohtomy in a 24 our time period.

PM Out

03-12-2003, 01:51 PM
One year, I fished the Gold River on Vancouver Island at Christmas. Paid $100.00 for Special Rivers permit , plus a non-resident license about $25.
Got one 15 lbs buck and an 8 pound hen on gear. There are no stocked fish in the Gold, thank God.
I hadn't been there 15 minutes before a constable pulled up and checked all my paperwork. I think he was sort of pissed that I was so immaculate and he left with a snarl.
My guide did show me a hole that I did'nt know about but he casted right on the bingo spot before I could locate it-he got an 11 lbs. hen. I should have asked him to at least give me first water or maybe even to not fish at all.
But I pulled it all off and other than the usual annoyances(could'nt take off from Campbell River because the ceiling was too low and had to be bused to Comax), but I had a ball and I had fished a Sacred River. Thank you to my maple leaf friends.

03-12-2003, 02:53 PM

I was dying to take the ferry from BC out to the island to fish the Gold or Campbell, but did not have the proper window of time to pull it off with my business schedule.

Got to get back up there even if with the increased license fees for us Yanks.

PM Out

03-12-2003, 06:21 PM
You get what you pay for, in the case of fishing BC the cost is well worth it.

Always wanted to do the heli fishing assault, one day perhaps.....

03-12-2003, 08:41 PM
Wow, my memory must be shot.

I am looking at the 1985/1986 British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations for non tidal waters, 40 pages of it !

annual - $ 13
6 day - 7

Non resident
annual - $ 23
6 day - 12

resident $ 6
non resident 15

Special Waters -
non resident $ 25

So I paid only $ 27 CDN not $ 70 for a 6 day + steelhead license

The present cost of a 8 day and steelhead license is $ 110 CDN

Only a 400% increase since 1986 !

PM Out

03-13-2003, 05:18 AM
Stiil worth its weight in gold, everything has gone up since the 80's. No big suprise there.

03-14-2003, 03:32 AM
Personally I think any non residents should be paying more like $50 a day to fish,especially on what would be considered high quality waters.The systems of the Skeena,Thompson,Dean,and the streams in the southeast corner of the province see extreme amounts of non resident angling pressure and thus extra fees should be charged for fishing them.While no one likes paying more,our fisheries need the money desperately and these fisheries are world class and with few equals.

Considering that all our current funds from liscences and such go into general revenue instead of our fisheries the way it should,our fisheries needs all the help it can get and non residents should be paying CONSIDERABLY more than residents.Compare the costs of fishing here to other places in the world and non residents are getting a bargain,especially with the strength of their dollar compared to ours.Even with increased liscence fees,everything else(like gas,lodgings,food,etc) is still cheaper for them because of the dollar difference.

Considering the amount of pressure many of the better waters now receive from non resident anglers,I doubt very much if BC anglers would mind if less people started coming here to fish.Except for the guides of course. ;)

03-14-2003, 10:22 AM

I thought that was what the classified waters permits were for. Actually, I have no problem paying more when I come north because it is worth it. I do disagree with your statement that gas is cheaper because of the exchange rate. Cheaper then if there was no exchange rate but certainly not cheaper then stateside. However with the US rush to war, maybe our fuel prices will even out with yours.


03-14-2003, 10:39 AM
Tonyd.... first of all, gas prices are not cheaper in b.c. even with exchange, A liter of gas in washington state would be about $.70 cdn. Second of all, I think a lot of narrow minded B.C. residents would like it if everybody stayed home including their follow resident anglers.Fishing rivers by yourself is a nice feeling but not a reality in todays world. Third, just because another country charges a certain price to go fishing does not mean that we in B.C. should charge more or less. Our costs should be charged according to what our goverment agencies need to operate and practice good fisheries managment. There is something about moving non-resident anglers around so that nobody is staying in one place for a great lenght of time. Non residents should pay more , just a fair amount more and defining what is fair is most likely the hardest part to seettle. We , here in B.C. need tourism for the jobs and taxes that it creates and telling people to come see but not fish in B.C. is not a reality.

03-14-2003, 11:35 AM
I totally agree, the money brought in by non-resident fisherman can only bolster the economy. I hazard to guess, but a good number of these guys probably C&R all Steel the catch.

It is far better for a local economy to bring in outside $$$ which should decrease the local jobless rate. Seen many local yokel GL towns benefit from the onslaught of salmon and steelhead anglers.

What needs to be done is educate the visitor in proper fishing tactics/ethics. Reward them for C&R fishing via a lower license fee.

03-14-2003, 11:46 AM
I hazard to guess, but a good number of these guys probably C&R all Steel the catch.

100% C & R or wild fish, it is the law in BC. (Actually I believe there are two minor exceptions on the West coast of the Island but these have little fishing pressure.)

03-14-2003, 05:17 PM
Sorry everyone,you are correct about the gas.I was typing faster than I was thinking when I printed that.Still,almost every other aspect is cheaper.

As for how much we should charge non residents,our fisheries NEEDS money now.That's not even debatable.I for one would not only like to see non residents paying more,but see current residents also paying considerably more.BUT,and this is a BIG BUT,we would have to have it in writing from our gov that these extra funds would go directly to our fisheries resource AND NOT into general revenue.We have had massive cutbacks over the last few years in this area.We have no money to maintain what we have,because much of the liscence fee money goes to general revenue.There's no way we will ever be able to convince the gov to stop taking that money so the only way I can see for our fisheries to get the money it needs is to charge much more for liscences but ensure this extra money goes where it should.

Yes,there are small extra fees called "Classified Waters tags/liscence" on some of the systems I mentioned,but realisticly these fees are tiny and don't do much to help our fisheries because they probably don't even go into the resource(see general revenue)."If" we could convince the gov that they could continue to take what they already do from the current liscence fees,while at the same time convincing them to add a significant extra charge(in both the liscence fees and Classified Waters fees) to both resident and non residents that was meant solely for the fisheries,we would have a MUCH BETTER chance of having the amount of needed funds go into our fisheries."If" it was in writing that the extra fees would go straight to the fisheries then I certainly wouldn't complain and neither would most other people.

Take a trip to the Skeena during steelhead or salmon season and you can see how many non residents are taking advantage of these low fees.Non residents(not just Americans),freely keep salmon and from what I saw they take as many as the locals.I'm not complaining about this(although alot of people do),just pointing out the fact that there are ALOT of non residents who think they are getting a steal when it comes to the cost of fishing these world class waters.Increasing the costs isn't going to deter these people from fishing these areas one bit.There is only one Skeena or Dean so it's not like people will take their fishing elsewhere as everywhere else would cost just as much or more than fishing in BC,even with increased fees.If you want a chance at a world record summer steelhead,your going to be going to BC.

I think it's important that people know that I'm not anti-American or anti-anyone.I simply think that the fees that non residents have been paying in the past,are not enough.I think they should be considerably more than they are now.I also think that resident fees should be considerably more than they are now and would like to see our current fees doubled for residents and AT LEAST doubled(but probably alot more) for non residens as well.

Lastly,I would like to see the "Classified Waters" expanded significantly to include more rivers,including some of the ones in the southeast corner of the province.These rivers are getting ALOT of pressure from non residents and because of the fact that they are so close to the boarder,alot of people are coming up in fully equipt motor homes and campers,spending VERY little money here,thus their contribution towards "tourism" is little at best.I'm not complaining about it,nor would I say it should stop.I'm simply saying that the tourism industry isn't benefiting as much as some people might think,especially when it comes to these areas.

I live in the South Okanagan and while we get alot of summer tourists,things have changed over the years.I see ALOT of people coming north of the boarder,but they are bringing everything with them so they are benefiting our economy very little,while using our resources for next to nothing.Some of the lakes I fish use to be pretty quite,with only a few non residents each year.Last year I happen to be at one during the first week in July.I was SHOCKED at how many motorhomes and campers showed up(even mid week) all of a sudden and 90% of them had US plates.I had no idea that so many people were coming up on the July 4th long weekend.Not complaining,just pointing out the facts that right now,people from the US and other coutries can come to BC and use our resources for VERY LITTLE,while most BC(and other Canadian) residents can't afford to go south.BC residents have always felt like we were giving our resources away.

I certainly don't mind sharing waters with non residents,that's a part of life these days.I do however,want to know that for the privilage of using our resources,these people are financially helping our economy and especially our fisheries.The way things are right now and the way things are headed,I just don't see that happening much at all.

03-14-2003, 08:16 PM
I refuse to get drawn into "peeing" contests. If you feel the fishing is worth it, go. If you want to complain about it, don't go.

I remember the story of the rich old reprobate that passed on. As his anticipating relatives were gathered to hear his will, the attorney read this:

"Being of sound mind and body, I wasted all my money on booze, chorus girls and gambling."

Now THAT'S the way to go!


03-14-2003, 08:32 PM
I think you summed it up perfectly BobK.

It all depends on what it's worth to you.If you don't like it then no ones forcing you to fish there.At the same time,if you are willing to spend the money to go,then you should have every right to enjoy your trip and not feel "unwelcomed".

I know if I ever take a trip south for bones or tarpon,it's going to cost me big time,but that's okay because I'm prepeared ahead of time for that.I would never expect to be able to fish anywhere else in the world for even close to the same costs as I pay in my own country.

03-14-2003, 10:54 PM
I have always been impressed by the fairness and hospitality of the Canadian people. They go well out of their way to please us Yanks and I want to thank them for it in any way I can.

I am very ashamed for a practise that Americans were employing on some of your most famous streams and rivers. Here's how it went: a fishing club would hog a good hole all season. Those at the hole (tents and gear spread everywhere) would make it so others could not fish it. The club scheduled enough members to hold the hole and the club members, when finished and ready to head home, would only cede the hole to the next scheduled group from the club. This irritates the hell out of me and were I a Canadian, I might just blow it all away.:tsk_tsk:

03-15-2003, 08:42 AM
Bob, They might have learned that from the Totem's on the Dean. Which is as about as Canadian as you can get.

03-15-2003, 09:11 AM
I love the canadians and their country, heck I will go back and not even fly fish, but I am going to bring my down hill skis for sure and get back to Alberta.

Done lots of business and vacation trips to canada and have friends there through business.

PM Out

03-15-2003, 03:13 PM
My experience with Canadians has been nothing short of great.

Country, people, and fishing all top notch. I'll be back chasing the St. Marys Atlantics and Lake Superior Brookies this summer.

Scott K
03-16-2003, 04:27 AM
I hear a lot of complaining from some locals as well as residents about crowding on some of our (BC's) prized trophy classified Steelhead rivers from people "south of the border." One of the remedies often said is to jack up license fees for non residents and non resident aliens. I feel there is a fine line there. How much is too much to disuade people from coming up, but still benefit the revenue from some license sales?

I personally feel that if I liked fishing somewhere enough that I would make job/personal/logistical changes to make accessing that fishery or various fisheries easier. I would of course have to feel very strongly about a general area's fishery, and the non-resident or non-resident license fees and other associated out of town/province/state/country fees and logistics would have to be substantial enough that the advantages by becoming a resident would far outweigh the disadvantages. And well, having a job is on the list too! I don't think I have to deal with this though. BC has so many and such a diverse wealth of fisheries and fishing oppurtunities for so many different species that I don't anticipate this in my lifetime. Well, unless of course I started to like fishing for marlin. Wait a second, we have marlin too. Freshwater marlin: The White Sturgeon of the Fraser River!

My question to you guys south of the border is now that the license fees have gone up a bit, as per my example, has this influenced AT ALLl any consideration you give to future trips up north? Has anyone here ever moved somewhere because the fishing was that good? (Say from somewhere to the PNW?)

03-16-2003, 09:13 AM
For the few trips I may make therer, the cost increase would not deter me.

PM Out

03-16-2003, 09:26 AM
You may say that, but you can't even buy a new rod without approval from the "war department"!:hehe:


03-16-2003, 09:41 AM
That is a big 10-4, the airfare, loding, license, etc will have his stomach in knots.

Champagne dreams and an Old Milwaukee budget....

03-16-2003, 04:38 PM
Scott,the only differences you might see(if any at all) with an increase in liscence fees,will be on the lower mainland rivers.Guys who come up to the Vedder to fish each weekend "might" not come up as often if it is costing them more to do it.There could also be a drop in pressure on the Kootenay streams close to the boarder that now see alot of non resident pressure,but this would be a welcomed drop IMHO.

There is NO WAY that ANY increase in liscence fee,even an EXTREMELY HIGH increase,would EVER discourage the number of non resident anglers from heading to the Skeena or Dean.Even if it cost 10 times what it does now,there would still be loads of people headed there because it is a one of a kind fishery.There is nowhere else in the world like it and even if the only people who could afford to fish there were the rich,you would still see the same number of people booked into the lodges and hiring guides.

Personally,I think a few less people on the Vedder or south east Kootenay streams would be a good thing,not bad.These places are already overcrowded and definately don't need any more pressure than they already get.

Promoting tourism is great,but eventually you need to draw a line in order to limit the amount of pressure a place gets.Increased fees would sort out the serious fishermen from the people who go out on the odd long weekend and are more interested in drinking beer while they try to fill thier freezer with meat.

Those of us who value our fisheries,both resident and non resident,won't mind paying more as long as the money is going where it should.

03-16-2003, 06:23 PM
My god, MJYP, your right if I ever leave the GLs to chase PNW steelhead I will have to bring at least a case of Old Milwaukee beer me since I am sure I will not be able to find outside the GLs.

Thats my lucky steelheading beer, can't leave home without it.

Thanks for reminding me of that key fact.


PM Out

03-16-2003, 06:45 PM
Boy, MJYP, you sure called THAT one right! And what a phony excuse - that is my lucky steelheading beer. How corny (and thrifty) can you get? I'll bet he even carries in the winter in his "anti-chill flask"!


03-16-2003, 07:44 PM

No, I also always have my 17 year old Courvesier in my steelhead flask. I am saving it for the day I land a big (15-20 LB) steelhead.

It would take quite a hardy steelheader to drink from this flask, don't know if I have the guts myself to do it, since I have not drank from it in around 10 years now.

Should I throw it out and get some new spirits ? It may change my luck. For sure it could not be my steelheading skills !!

Actually, I don't want to catch a big one, I always want to pursue steelhead and catching a big one may cause me to slow down fishing for them, you know what I mean.

PM Out

03-16-2003, 08:51 PM
Brandy if not properly kept does not age well. May as well pour it down the drain and start new. Would rate that stuff equal to Old Milwaukee. The only difference is the $$$$$$.

03-16-2003, 09:27 PM
I knew it! That is why my excuse to the wife is,"Of course I drank it up. I was afraid it would spoil."

See, Hal - serves you right! You've got to loosen up and celebrate a little during your piscaorial pursuits. Not doing so just wastes good booze!:hehe: