Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 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 download and print a copy of these FAQs. You can also visit the following web pages that contain more general information that is not specific to e-licensing:

For information about ...
See the web page ...
Freshwater fishing generally
Rules and regulations about freshwater fishing
Where to buy a fishing licence
Where to find an angling guide
How to become an angling guide


1 - Who can buy a licence on the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing web site?

Anyone from anywhere in the world can buy a fishing licence on our web site.


2 - Are paper fishing licences still available?

Although paper licences will eventually be phased out, anglers can still buy paper licences for the 2008/2009 licensing season (April 1, 2008 through March 31, 2009) from vendors and Service BC Centres. See the table above for links to these sellers.


3 - Can I buy a fishing licence by telephone?

No. Telephone sales are not available.


4 - How do I go to the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System?

Go to the Home page of this web site and click the yellow "Buy a Licence" button in the right column.


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

Yes. Note that you must carry your printed and signed copy of your licence (not your receipt) with you when you are fishing.


6 - Can I see an overview of how to use the E-Licensing System before I use it?

See the Tutorial for Anglers which provides an overview including pictures of the screens.


7 - What kinds of licences can I buy?
  • 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 BC during a given time period.

  • If you intend to fish for certain special species or sizes of fish, you must buy a Conservation Surcharge (also called a Conservation Species Licence) for each species in addition to the Basic Licence. The special species are Steelhead Trout, Non-Tidal Salmon, Kootenay Lake Rainbow Trout, Shuswap Lake Char, or Shuswap Lake Rainbow Trout. The Conservation Surcharge is valid for the licensing year (April 1st to March 31st).

  • 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

  • If you intend to fish in one of BC's specially designated trout streams, 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 classified water in the province during the licensing year (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.
  • 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.


8 - If I already have a paper Basic Licence which I did not buy online, can I buy a Conservation Surcharge or a Classified Waters Licence online?

No. You cannot add a Conservation Surcharge or a Classified Waters Licence online if your Basic Licence was not bought online. You can purchase these additional licences on paper from a fishing licence vendor or a Service BC Centre.

9 - When are licences for the new season available?

Toward the end of the licensing year (March 31st), visit the Freshwater FIshing E-Licensing home page to see when new season licences are available for pre-purchase.


10 - What do I need to buy an e-licence?

You need:

  • An Angler Number. You will already have one if you have registered yourself online or purchased an e-licence before. If not, the System will give you an Angler Number when you buy or register for an e-licence for the first time.

    It is important to record your Angler Number so that you can return to the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing web site to update your profile information or purchase more licences.

    If you forget your Angler Number, contact the Help Desk by phone at 1-877-855-3222 Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

  • A computer connected to the Internet.

  • A printer to print your licence. The printer must be switched on and loaded with letter-sized paper. You will need to carry your printed licence with you when you go fishing. If your printer doesn't work or you lose your licence, the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System allows you to reprint your licence at no charge.

  • One of the following compatible web browsers:
    • Internet Explorer version 6 or higher,
    • Firefox version 2 or higher, or
    • Safari version 3.1 or higher.

    If the Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System detects that you have an incompatible browser, it will display a "Browser Not Compatible" error message and you will not be allowed to use the System.

  • 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", then selecting "Turn Off Pop-up Blocker". You should then be able to view your licence on the screen, and print it.

  • Adobe Reader version 6 or higher is needed to print your fishing 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.

  • A valid credit card number to pay for your e-lilcence on the BC Government's secure credit card payment web site. VISA, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.

11 - How can I obtain a licence if I don't have a printer or my printer doesn't work?

The Freshwater Fishing E-Licensing System allows you to reprint your e-licence yourself at no charge.  If you don’t have a printer, or if your printer doesn’t work, you won’t be able to print the licence on your own computer but you can reprint it later on any other computer that is connected to a printer.  Most public libraries have computers with printers. 

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 for a fee. 

Note that you will need your Angler Number to reprint your licence.

12 - If my licence does not print, can I print the receipt and carry that with me while fishing?

The receipt that is generated after you have completed the purchase is NOT your licence. You must print your licence and have it in your possession while fishing in order to be in compliance with the regulations


13 - What are the fees?

See the Angling Licences and Fees web page which lists the fees for a Basic Licence for:

  • BC Residents
  • BC Residents who are disabled
  • BC Residents who are 65 years of age or older
  • Residents of other Canadian provinces and territories
  • Residents of other countries (called "Non Resident Aliens").

In the table of contents at the top of that web page there are links to additional fees for Conservation Surcharges and Classified Waters Licences.


14 - Does it cost more to buy a fishing licence online?

No.  The fees to buy a licence over the web are the same as the fees to buy a paper licence through a vendor or a Service BC Centre. 

You can reprint your e-licence yourself over the web at no charge.  If you ask a vendor or a Service BC agent to reprint your licence for you, a fee will be charged.


15 - Information for disabled BC residents

  • A disabled BC resident who has an approved Application for an Angling Fee Reduction can buy an annual freshwater fishing licence for $1.00. There is no reduced fee for Conservation Surcharges and Classified Waters Licences.

  • You can obtain an Application for an Angling Fee Reduction form from any Service BC Centre, online or by writing to:

    Fish and Wildlife Branch
    PO Box 9363 STN PROV GOVT
    Victoria, BC V8W 9M2

  • Once your Application for an Angling Fee Reduction has been approved, you can buy a licence for disabled BC residents through a vendor, a Service BC Centre, or online through this web site.


16 - Information for BC Seniors

  • A BC resident who is 65 years of age or older can buy an annual freshwater fishing licence for $5.00. There is no reduced fee for conservation Surcharges and Classified Waters Licences.

  • 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.


17 - 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. On that web page you will see links to the following summary documents that 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.


18 - What should I do if I bought the wrong kind of licence? Can I request a refund?

Refunds may be provided under the authority of the Ministry of Environment's Refund Policy.

If you bought the wrong kind of annual licence, this licence must be cancelled before you will be able to purchase another annual licence. Licence cancellation can be requested:

  • by phone: 1-877-855-3222
    Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time
  • by e-mail: FrontCounterBC@gov.bc.ca

If you bought your licence at a Service BC Centre, you can also request a licence cancellation from Service BC on the same day. Later cancellation requests must go to the phone number or e-mail address provided above.

A refund will not be issued if you bought a licence and didn't use it, i.e. you didn't go fishing.

If you are a resident of BC and Disabled, you may qualify for a reduced licence fee. However, refunds will not be issued for licences already purchased at the full price.