Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing

Frequently Asked Questions for Anglers

These Frequently Asked Questions are intended for anglers who wish to buy a licence over the web using our Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System.  You can also visit the following web pages that contain information that is not specific to e-licensing, but may be helpful: 

What is the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System?

The Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System is an online system that allows anglers to obtain a Non-tidal Angling Licence, Classified Waters Licence, Conservation Surcharge Stamps and White Sturgeon Conservation Licences from any location with an Internet connection and printer. 

Those who are uncomfortable accessing the system on their own can obtain electronic licences from their local Service BC Centre or any licence vendor who may offer this service. For a listing of Service BC Centres and licence vendors, go to

What are the benefits of purchasing a licence online?

The Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System allows anglers to obtain licences 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any location with a computer, Internet and a printer.  Licence holders are also able to reprint a lost licence from home.  Note:  there is no additional cost to purchasing your licence online.

Who needs a Non-tidal Angling Licence?

If you are 16 years of age or older, you must have a valid Non-tidal Angling Licence to fish for any species of fish in non-tidal waters (including salmon). 

Does a Non-tidal Angling Licence allow me to fish in tidal waters (saltwater) for salmon or crab or any other saltwater species?

No.  The Non-tidal Angling Licence is for fishing in non-tidal (freshwater) lakes, streams and rivers for species of trout, char, and steelhead. 

To obtain a licence that is valid to fish in tidal waters (saltwater), you must go to the Government of Canada’s National Recreational Licensing System

What kinds of licences can I buy?

  1. Every angler who is 16 years of age or older will need to buy a Basic Licence which allows him or her to fish in the non-tidal waters of BC during a given time period.
  2. In addition, your basic angling licence can be validated with up to five annual Conservation Surcharge Stamps, Steelhead, Non-Tidal Salmon, Kootenay Lake Rainbow Trout, Shuswap Lake Trout and Shuswap Lake Char.     
  3. Anglers who wish to participate in the catch and release White Sturgeon fishery in the lower and middle freshwater portions of the Fraser River watershed must buy a White Sturgeon Conservation Licence in addition to the Basic Licence.  White Sturgeon Conservation Licences are available for 1-day, 8-day and Annual time frames.
  4. If you intend to fish on Classified Waters, you must buy a Classified Waters Licence in addition to the Basic Licence.  A Classified Waters Licence allows B.C. Residents to fish on any Class 1 or Class 11 water in the province during the year the licence is valid (April 1st to March 31st).  For Non-Residents, the Classified Waters Licence is sold on a per diem basis, and is date and water specific.
  5. If you are an Indian as defined in the Indian Act (Canada) AND a resident of BC, you are not required to obtain any type of fishing licence or stamp to sport fish in BC’s non-tidal waters.

What are the fees?

See the Angling Licences and Fees web page at   which lists the licence fees for all residency categories, as noted below

Where and when can I fish?

Summary and detailed information, including a map of all provincial regions, is found on the Freshwater Fishing Regulations web page at

You can also check for in-season regulation changes at

On that web page you will see links to the following summary documents which describe where and when you can fish in each region:

  • Region 1        Vancouver Island
  • Region 2        Lower Mainland
  • Region 3        Thompson-Nicola
  • Region 4        Kootenay
  • Region 5        Cariboo
  • Region 6        Skeena
  • Region 7A     Omineca
  • Region 7B     Peace
  • Region 8        Okanagan.

When are licences for the new season available?

New season licences will be available for pre-purchase during the month of March. 

Note:  Both the current year and the new season licence products will be available during the month of March.  You must select “the current season or the following” season button in order to purchase licences for the corresponding season.  Please review to confirm the accuracy of your selections prior to completing your purchase(s).

What other options are available to purchase a licence?

You can visit any licence vendor or Service BC Centre.  To find one closest to you go to You can also use a Community Access Terminal (CAT) at no charge at any Service BC Centre, or ask the Service BC agent to reprint the licence for you.  Service BC locations are listed at

Note: you will need your Angler Number, Phone Number provided at the time of registration and Date of Birth to log back into the E-Licensing System and reprint your licence. 

Can I buy a fishing licence by telephone?

No.  Telephone sales are not available.

Can I buy a licence for someone else?

Non-tidal Angling Licences can be purchased for others (e.g. as a gift) provided you have permission from the licence holder-to-be, a valid payment method and all mandatory information for registration (full name, date of birth, address, phone number). 

How do I access the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System?

Go to the main page at to view information, contacts, links to regulations and other sites you may find useful.  For new anglers obtaining their first licence as well as for returning angler log on, click the yellow “Buy a Freshwater Licence” button in the column on the right hand side of the screen.

Can I go fishing immediately after I buy my e-licence?

Yes.  You must carry your Non-tidal Angling licence with you when you are fishing.  Note:  The licence must be printed on the standard size paper 8.5 x 11 and not modified in any way.  Although you can use a mobile device to purchase a licence, you will still need a printed copy in order to complete the catch record.  Note:  the receipt or payment confirmation is your financial record of purchase, it is not the licence. 

What do I need to buy an e-licence for the first time?

You need:

  1. A computer connected to the Internet and a printer that is loaded with letter-sized paper as you must print and sign your licence and carry it with you when fishing.  If your printer doesn’t work or you lose your licence, the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System allows you to log back in and reprint your licence at any time. Please ensure you transfer any catch information to the reprinted licence. 
  2. One of the following compatible web browsers:
    • Internet Explorer version 6 or higher
    • Firefox version 2 or higher
    • Safari 3.1 or higher.
  3. The Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System uses pop-up windows; therefore you must have pop-up blocking software turned off.

    If you are using the Internet Explorer browser, you can turn off pop-up blocking by going to the Tools menu, selecting “Pop-up Blocker”, and then selecting “Turn Off Pop-up Blocker”.  You should then be able to view your licence on the screen, and print it.

  4. Adobe Reader version 6 or higher is needed to print your licence which will be a PDF document.  If you do not already have Adobe Reader, or you need to upgrade to a later version, you can download a free copy of Adobe Reader at
  5. A valid credit card number to pay for your e-licence on the BC Government’s secured credit card payment web site.  VISA, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. 

What do I do if I get a browser incompatible message?

The web browsers that are compatible are Internet Explorer version 6 or higher, Firefox version 2 or higher, Safari version 3.1 or higher, or Google Chrome.  If you are not able to access the online system from your own computer you can try again using a computer that has compatible software or obtain a licence from a Licence Vendor or Service BC Centre

How do I return and log back into the e-licensing system in order to reprint or buy another licence?

You need three pieces of information in order to log back into the system, your Angler Number, Phone Number provided when you registered, and Date of Birth. 

When you registered in the system you were provided with an Angler Number.  It is vital you remember this number in order to return to the system and purchase future licences or to provide it to a licence vendor so they can issue your licences.  If you have already registered and don’t remember this information do not register again.  There are a few ways you can retrieve the information yourself.

Your Angler number would have been automatically emailed to you if you provided an email address so check your email account.  It will also be displayed on the licence you previously purchased.  Also, you can find your number if you selected a secret question and answer option when you registered.

If you do not have an email or a copy of your previous licence and you did not select the option of a secret question and answer, you can either contact the Call Centre staff Monday to Friday during business hours at 1-877-855-3222 and they can retrieve it for you, or you can visit any Service BC Centre during business hours Monday to Friday and they will retrieve it, and issue you a licence.

The phone number must be the same as what you entered when you registered.  If you have a new number, you can still log back into the system using the old number.  Once you are logged in, use the update function to amend the old number to the most current one, and then save the change.

Your date of birth should not be a problem unless there was an error upon entry.  If this is the case, you can contact the Call Centre during business hours or visit any Service BC Centre Monday to Friday during business hours and they will assist you in correcting the information.

What does it mean if my licence is in ‘Pending’?

If the payment process was interrupted for any reason such as loss of internet connectivity or you hit the back button to go to a previous screen to check information or to add an additional licence to your shopping cart, the licence you were attempting to purchase will be placed in a holding pattern while the system waits for the payment to complete.  If that does not happen and you have a pending licence, you will have to wait for up to one hour until the original purchase attempt clears and you can begin again. 

Information for disabled BC residents

  1. A disabled BC resident who has an approved Application for an Angling Licence Fee Reduction can buy a basic annual freshwater fishing licence for a reduced fee.    There is no reduced fee for Conservation Surcharges, Classified Waters Licences or White Sturgeon Licences.
  2. You can obtain an Application for an Angling Licence Fee Reduction from any Service BC Centre, or online at:

    or by writing to:

    Fish and Wildlife Branch
    PO Box 9363 STN PROV GOVT
    Victoria, B.C. V8W 9M2
  3. Once your Application for an Angling Licence Fee Reduction has been approved, you can buy a reduced fee licence at any Service BC Centre, or online through this web site.  Note:  Licence Vendors do not provide or review and approve applications.

Information for BC Seniors

  1. A BC resident who is 65 years of age or older at the time of licence purchase can buy a basic annual Non-tidal Angling licence for a reduced fee.    There is no reduced fee for Conservation Surcharges, Classified Waters Licences, or White Sturgeon Conservation Licences.
  2. The option to buy a BC Senior’s licence will only appear in the online system if your Profile indicates that you are a BC resident, and your birth date indicates that you are 65 years of age or older.

Am I entitled to a refund? 

It is important to review the licences you have selected to ensure they are correct prior to completing your purchase.  If in doubt do not complete the purchase until you have consulted the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis or confirmed with a Licence Vendor or Service BC Centre you are purchasing the correct licences for the type of fishing you intend to do.  Licences are non-refundable and non-transferable with few exceptions. 

  1. Refunds may be provided under the authority of the Ministry’s Refund Policy.  

    Refund requests must be received in writing and forwarded to the Fish & Wildlife Branch, 4th Floor, 2975 Jutland Road, Victoria BC  V8T 5J9 for review.

  2. Refunds will not be issued if:
    • You bought a licence and didn’t use it
    • You bought a Freshwater Fishing Licence instead of a Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence
    • You bought a licence for someone else and found out after the purchase they already had one.
    • You are a resident of BC and Disabled and purchased a licence at the full price prior to qualifying for the reduced fee licence.