Fishing Licences

B.C. Provincial Fresh Water Angling Licences:

Now available on-line. Information and their purchase can be found on the web site www.fishing.gov.bc.ca . Below is some extra information that may help.

If you are planning to fish in B.C. you can go on-line and register to get a B.C. Angler #. This will be a permanent # that you will need to make your on-line licence purchase. It is best to save this Angler # in your smart phone as we cannot find you in the system unless you know this number. It is a good idea to take a picture of your angler number or your fishing licence so you have it as a reference in future years or if you lose your fishing licence. 

If you know how long you will be in B.C., you can determine if you need to buy a one day, 8-day, or annual licence.  Once this is done, many waters require a  Classified waters day permit and these can also be purchased on-line.

If you are a visiting un-guided angler, we suggest that you register to get your angler number before you come as the new system is known for outages. There is no cost to get an angler number and it will make it faster for the license vendors to issue you a fishing license. YOU MUST REMEMBER WHAT YOUR ANGLER NUMBER IS WHEN YOU GO TO PURCHASE YOUR LICENCE.  In order to look up an angler, vendors require the following:

  • Your BC Angler #
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your Phone #

This said, if you know your angling plans in advance then it is advised to purchase all licences and classified waters permits in advance to prevent dissapintment should the system be down or if a vender has technical difficulties.  

If you are a client of Elk River Guiding and have guided trips booked, please check with the fly shop so that we may insure you purchase the correct Classified Waters Licence for your guided trip. It is important that guided clients check the guided fishing box and indicate "Paul Samycia" as the guide as he is the outfitter with the rod day allocation.

Fishing Regulations:

When in the Fernie area, you will be fishing in Region 4 as found in the BC Freshwater Fishing Regulations.   

Be sure to know the rules before you fish. If you practice catch and release, use of only a single barbless hook (NO DROPPERS or flies with more than 1 hook) and do not use any form of bait, then you will be fine 98% of the time. There are some stream closures and other water specific regulations to be aware of.  Ignorance of the law is not an excuse and fines can be hefty.

Important Notice:

Changes to Kootenay Classified Waters

Make sure you are aware of the regulatory changes to the Kootenay Angling Management Plan announced September 3rd, 2015 by the BC Government.  We found that the changes to the regulations for the Wigwam River, Michel Creek, and Skookumchuck Creek were a bit of an adjustment for some anglers who had to plan further in advance, but overall, anglers were impressed by each of the fisheries and the overall experience as a result of these changes.  The reduced  pressure on these fisheries resulted in a noticeable difference to the quality of fishing.  We strongly recommend that if planning to fish on any of these three rivers that you purchase your classified waters permit prior to your arrival in Fernie at, http://www.fishing.gov.bc.ca/.  As far as we know the earliest you can purchase these licenses online is March 1st, 2017.  Most anglers who are not fishing with a guide on these rivers are purchasing their dates as soon as possible to ensure a license as the numbers are limited. 

The Changes to the EKAMP is as follows:

The main change is implementation of a booking system for non-resident anglers on three “classified waters” in the Kootenays: the Wigwam River, Skookumchuck Creek and Michel Creek. All three of these fisheries have seen non-resident, non-guided angler use exceed targets, creating overcrowding on the river as well as pressure on fish populations.

Under the new system, a set amount of non-resident, non-guided angler days will be made available through the existing online angling licensing system. Selections will be made on a first-come, first-serve system, ensuring all non-resident anglers have an equal opportunity.

Once these days are sold, non-resident anglers will have to book through a licensed angling guide to fish on these waters.Keep in mind Guide days are also limited and sell out fast.  Angler days have been increased on the Wigwam and Skookumchuck in anticipation of additional interest from non-residents seeking access to these waters. These additional days will become available later in the season.

The new system will ensure resident anglers maintain priority access on streams that have been over-subscribed in recent years, while still allowing non-residents ample opportunity to access these high-demand systems.

B.C.’s classified waters are productive wild trout streams in wilderness and semi-wilderness settings, which provide unique and high quality fishing opportunities that are in high demand but limited supply. The classified waters system was created to help protect the quality of fishing opportunities these waters provide. The system includes limits to guided and non-guided angling, reflects resident priority, and requires special classified water licences. Together these measures support stock assessment, habitat protection and enhancement, as well as compliance and enforcement.

For more information feel free to look at the following link, https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2015FLNR0268-001443

Please remember that the Kootenays have some very special waters that are desireable to many different anglers. That said, there are specific regulations that the province of British Columbia has put in to place to respect the residents and the visitors so that all may enjoy this amazing resource. Please consult the Freshwater Fishing Regulations and follow them accordingly . Also please understand that the staff at Elk River Guiding are more than happy to help you on your angling vacation but can only opperate within the rules set out buy the Province of B.C.   Please be respectful of our staff who are here to assist you. We have the right to refuse service to those who abuse our staff for issues and regulations beyond our control.