You've got questions. We've got answers.

General

Q:  Why do I need to create an account to use the app?

If you add a BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence to the FishingBC App, the app will necessarily contain your personal information: a password protected account ensures that your personal information is kept private and accessible only to you. (You must add your licence to the app in order to record your fishing activity using the Catch Log feature.)

Separate accounts also allow multiple anglers to use a single device to record their fishing activity.

Q:  I am having difficulty logging in to the app, what should I do?

If you have forgotten your password, use the app's own password recovery feature to retrieve it. From the app's login screen choose Forgot your credentials?. From there provide either your username or email address, and click the Recover password button.

You will be sent an email with a link that will allow you to create a new password. Please note that for security reasons, the password reset link will expire after 30 minutes. (If you do not receive the message, try looking for it in the spam / junk folder in your email software.)

Important note: The account you created for using the FishingBC App is different and completely separate from your DFO licensing system account, so please ensure that you are using the correct username / email address and password when trying to log into the app.

If you need further assistance, please contact us.

Q:  Does the FishingBC App work “offline”?

Many aspects of the FishingBC App continue to work without a network connection, but there are some features and functionality that are limited or unavailable while you are offline. Without data you are still able to:

  • Login
  • Make Catch Log entries; any entries you make while offline will be uploaded the next time you use the app with a network connection
  • View Regulations; note that you will be limited to the most recent regulations data downloaded to your device
  • View and use the Map
  • View and use the Species Identification section; you will not, however, be able to submit a photo of your catch if you use the Enhanced Species Identification feature

There are a few things you will not be able to do in the app without the Internet:

  • Create a new Account
  • Make changes to your existing Account Profile
  • Add a new User to your device
  • Update the app with the latest content and Regulations
  • Access any of the External Resources

Q:  Is the FishingBC App available in other languages?

There is just one version of the FishingBC App, but within the app you can switch between English, French, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. Look for the Change Language option in the main menu.

Note that while regulations are provided in a translated form, the English and French language versions of the regulations should be considered the official versions.

Q:  Does the app work on tablets?

Yes, the FishingBC App works on tablets, and has been updated to include additional support for devices with larger screens: the app can now be used in both portrait and landscape orientations on tablets.

Q:  What should I do if I find an error or problem in the app?

If you encounter a problem of any kind in the FishingBC App, please let us know by using the app's built-in Report a Problem feature! We take these reports seriously, and the extra information the app provides helps us track down and address the issues reported.

You will find links to the problem report form at the bottom of the main menu, and at the bottom of the main regulations screen.

Profile / Account

Licences

Q:  Do I have to have a licence?

Tidal (salt) water recreational fishers of all ages are legally required to obtain and have in their possession a valid BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence prior to angling in tidal waters. Anglers intending to retain salmon caught in tidal waters must also purchase a salmon conservation stamp and have it affixed to their licence. This stamp is not required if anglers intend to release all salmon caught.

For more information, please refer to the DFO website.

Q:  What are some things I should know about my fishing licence?

  • A BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence is required to fish for or harvest any species of finfish or shellfish in BC tidal waters. Types of licences, fees, and a link to purchase a fishing licence can be found on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

  • Licence holders are required to immediately and permanently record all retained Chinook and Halibut caught in any Pacific Fishery Management Area (PFMA), and any Lingcod caught in PFMA 12 to 19 (excluding sub-area 12–14), sub-areas 20-5 to 20-7 and 29-5 when there are time and species openings for retention.
  • The licence holder's current licence and all catch records must be in possession and available for inspection upon request by DFO a fishery officer or authorized fisheries guardian. Acceptable catch records are currently a paper licence or use of the NRLS (National Recreational Licensing System) account. (Note that the NRLS system can be accessed only where there is data connectivity.)
  • Children under 16 years old require a licence and a conservation stamp to retain salmon, however there is no fee for their licence, only the stamp.
  • Annual licences are valid from date shown on the licence to the following March 31. Licences of a shorter duration expire at midnight on the final day of validity.
  • It is illegal to hold more than one date valid licence. It is permissible to have a combination of 1-day, 3-day, or 5-day licences provided dates do not overlap. Annual limits for Chinook, Lingcod and Halibut are counted in aggregate for each species across all licences.

Q:  Where can I buy a licence?

Licences are delivered electronically through the National Recreational Licensing System (NRLS). Once you register, you will also be able to replace a lost licence or renew future licences through NRLS.

You may be able to purchase pre-printed licences in-person at various locations like tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and fishing lodges. But remember that BC is a big place, and not every region will have a convenient location to buy a pre-printed licence when you need it. Vendors may also charge an additional fee.

It is best to purchase your licence online before you head out, as many fishing locations do not have an Independent Access Provider who sells fishing licences.

Q:  Do I need a Salmon Conservation Stamp?

A Salmon Conservation Stamp must be affixed to the BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence of each individual (whether adult, senior or juvenile) who wishes to catch and retain any species of salmon. The stamp must be purchased annually, and is valid from April 1st to March 31st of each fishing season; one stamp is applicable to multiple copies of any combination of 1-day, 3-day and 5-day licences. Please retain all copies.

For more information, please refer to the DFO website.

Q:  If I have the FishingBC App do I need to carry my licence with me?

Efforts towards having the FishingBC App's Licence and Catch Log features become a legal substitute for your paper licence are ongoing, but we are not there yet. In the meantime, you will need to keep a printed paper copy of your licence with you when you are fishing or transporting a catch.

Q:  Do I have to record my catches on my paper licence AND in the FishingBC app?

Efforts towards having the FishingBC App's Licence and Catch Log features become a legal substitute for your paper licence are ongoing, but we are not there yet. In the meantime, if you catch and retain any of the species that you are required to mark on your licence (i.e. Chinook Salmon, Lingcod, or Pacific Halibut) you will need a paper copy of your licence in order to record those catches.

You should record your catches in ink in the proper location on your paper licence — failing to immediately record a catch that you are required to document is a violation — and, if possible, in the app's Catch Log. (A Fishery Officer may be satisfied merely seeing the catches you have recorded in the app, or they may prefer to see your paper licence instead. Remember, failing to show your licence to a Fishery Officer when requested is also a violation.)

If you do use the Catch Log, one advantage is you will eventually be able to use the app to submit reports for mandatory catch report programs including the Internet Recreational Effort and Catch (iREC) and Internet Annual Recreational Catch (iARC), and to participate in voluntary programs such as the Coded Wire Tag Program and the Salmon Head Recovery Program.

For more information about the Coded Wire Tag Program, please refer to the DFO website.

Q:  Why can't I add my freshwater licence to the app?

The FishingBC App is focused on tidal (salt) water recreational fishing within British Columbia, which is managed by the federal government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Non-tidal (freshwater) recreational fishing and licensing is managed separately by the Province of British Columbia, and as such is not something we are able to include in the FishingBC App.

Q:  How can I add another licence to the app?

You may add new licences to your account on the FishingBC App as you acquire them, and there is no need to remove past licences before adding a new one. Note that it is illegal to hold more than one active licence at a time.

To add your licence to the app, simply go to Profile > Add a Licence and input the necessary information.

Q:  Does each person using the app need their own device?

You can use a single device to record fishing activity for multiple users. Add more than one user to the FishingBC App and switch between users when recording catches. Note that you must be online (i.e. have a data connection) to add a user.

Q:  How can I add another user to the app?

You can add more than one user to the FishingBC App, and switch between users when recording catches. This will allow a family to record all of their fishing activity using a single device, for example.

To switch between users, go to the app's main menu, choose Logout / Switch Users, confirm that you want to Switch Users, and choose from the list of users.

You may also Add an Existing User (someone that already has a FishingBC App account set up) using the form provided in the app, you will just need their account username or email address, and their password.

In order to add a brand new user (someone who doesn't already have a FishingBC App account set up), you must first logout and use the app's register form to create a new account.

Please note that you must be online (i.e. have a data connection) in order to add a user to the FishingBC App.

Historical Catch Data

Q:  What is Historical Catch Data in the app?

Historical Catch Data is a quick high level summary of your Chinook Salmon, Lingcod, Pacific Halibut, and other catches for the current fishing season, and can be a useful resource if you are questioned by a Fishery Officer.

iREC / iARC Surveys

Q:  Why do I have to participate in the iREC or iARC reporting program?

To monitor the sport fishery, the DFO conducts various surveys in person and online. As of April 2013, a condition of possessing a BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence requires that licence holders provide information on their recreational fishing activity and catches to DFO representatives when requested. Responding to these surveys is mandatory.

Internet Recreational Effort and Catch (iREC) Reporting Program

The iREC reporting program is an ongoing program which collects information every month on fishing effort and catch. Randomly selected participants provide information about fishing activity including kept and released catch of over 80 species of finfish and shellfish, as well as effort information by date, area and fishing method.

Internet Annual Recreational Catch (iARC) Reporting Program

The iARC reporting program is an annual program which collects catch records written on the BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence of randomly selected fishers. The department uses responses to the program to estimate recreational catches of Halibut, Lingcod and Chinook Salmon, and average weights of Halibut, by month and management area. Comparisons of these catch estimates with those from the iREC program and creel surveys allow the development of improved finalized catch estimates.

Q:  How will I know if I've been selected for the iREC or iARC reporting programs?

If you are selected for either of these reporting programs, selection and access information will be provided in two ways:

  • This information will be printed near the bottom of your licence.
  • You will receive reminder email messages near the beginning of your reporting period. These email messages will be sent to the address included in your DFO licensing system account so please ensure that account has your current email address. Please note this is not necessarily the same email address you used when creating your FishingBC App account, which is a different and completely separate account.

Catch Log

Q:  Why do I have to add so much information when recording a catch?

Many of the fields you'll see when recording a new Catch Log entry are optional, and you are only required to capture species, location, date / time, mark type (applies only to certain species), and whether you kept or released your catch.

In addition to the personal information collected when you purchased your BC Tidal Waters Sport Fishing Licence, the DFO requires additional information to determine recreational catch and effort statistics. This additional information includes the following elements: date(s) fished, management unit(s) fished in, method(s) of fishing used, number of juvenile licence holders fishing with you (if any), days originated from a sport fishing lodge (if any), days fished with a paid fishing guide (if any), the number, by species, of finfish and shellfish kept and released, and length of halibut kept.

The information that you provide may be used to evaluate fish management and stock assessment programs.

Q:  I made a mistake on a Catch Log entry and can't make a change! What should I do?

Because Catch Log entries are intended to be legal records of your fishing activity, it's not possible to go back and make changes to an entry once it has been saved.

If you notice an error with one of your Catch Log entries in the FishingBC App (or a catch entered in NRLS), you can make a request to have it corrected by either calling 1-877-535-7307 weekdays 8:00am–4:00pm, or by email.

Q:  What should I do if I catch an Atlantic salmon?

If you believe you have caught an Atlantic salmon in tidal (salt) waters in BC, please keep the fish and report the capture by calling the Atlantic Salmon Watch Program (ASWP) toll-free reporting line at 1-800-811-6010. You will be asked where and when you caught the fish and if you wish to donate the fish or part of it for research purposes. Donation is not mandatory but it does provide valuable samples for the DFO's scientific study. For whole fish donation, the entire fish — including entrails — should be frozen or kept on ice. Alternatively, the head and a small portion of the back including scales can be preserved. ASWP staff will arrange for transport of the sample.

Note that the key distinguishing feature of Atlantic salmon is black spots on the gill cover.

For further information please contact aswp@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

Regulations

Q:  Who is responsible for managing recreational fishing licences and regulations?

Managing Canada's recreational fisheries is a shared responsibility between federal, provincial, and territorial governments. While roles vary between different provinces and territories, generally:

  • In BC tidal waters, the federal government is responsible for managing recreational fisheries and licensing for all species; review licensing details and obtain a licence online from DFO at their BC tidal waters licence page
  • In BC freshwaters, the federal government also manages recreational fisheries for salmon species only (but not licensing); review details for freshwater regions in BC online from DFO at BC sport fishing guide
  • In BC freshwaters, the BC provincial government is responsible for managing recreational fisheries for non-salmon species, and licensing for all species found in BC freshwaters; review details at BC Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis

To fish tidal waters in BC you require a valid tidal waters fishing licence. Types of licences, fees and a link to purchase a fishing licence can be found on the DFO website.

Q:  How are regulations structured in the app?

Regulations are based on adherence to the Federal Fishery Act and are additionally determined on coastal, regional, Pacific Fishery Management Area (PFMA), PFMA sub-areas, special management zones, species specific restrictions, and prohibitions for fishing or harvest.

All species have specific regulations that can be determined by time and area or sub-area. It is important to be familiar with regulations based on time, area, and species you may encounter or intend to fish for or harvest.

Here's how the regulations appear on the FishingBC App's main regulations screen:

Screenshot of the FishingBC App showing the main Regulations screen

From this screen you can:

  • View regulations by area and species
  • See closures and contamination alerts (if any) by area
  • View conservation areas and boundary maps by area

Here is an example of how species regulations are shown:

Screenshot of the FishingBC App showing species regulations screen

Screenshot of the FishingBC App showing species regulations screen

Q:  How do catch limits work?

  • No person shall retain more than a daily limit of any species on one day.
  • Daily limits for individual species can be described by dates, region, PFMA or PFMA sub-area.
  • Aggregate daily limits of rockfish or salmon species can be described by date, region, PFMA or PFMA sub-area.
  • Annual limits are noted on the licence and can only be varied season to season.

Q:  What about coastwide measures?

  • Size restrictions and hatchery-marked salmon (fish with no adipose fin), retention limits may be imposed at certain times and in specific areas.
  • Check your species / area regulations every time you go fishing — in-season changes can occur. Method, gear, and bait restrictions may apply to specific species, times or areas to allow for retention or fishing.

Q:  What if I have questions about Regulations?

The Sport Fishing Regulations shown in the FishingBC App are updated directly from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. If your copy of the app has downloaded the latest content available, the Regulations displayed will be current and the most recent. (Force the app to check for / pull the latest content by chosing the More link in the footer menu, and then Check for Updates from the main menu.)

If you have any questions or concerns about the Regulations that appear in the app, please contact DFO.

Q:  Where can I go to find more information?

Species Identification

Q:  Why doesn't the app include photos of real fish?

The FishingBC App features basic illustrations of many of the species found in BC's tidal waters, and highlights their key characteristics to help identify and differentiate species in a simple and consistent way.

It would be impossible to accurately depict every species throughout their varied life cycles using illustrations alone. Likewise, it would require a large number of consistent, high quality photos to truly represent the variety found in these many animals, and including those photos would dramatically increase the size of the app.

If you would like some help identifying your catch, we recommend starting on the DFO website.

If you are hoping to identify a type of salmon or groundfish, you may also want to try the app's Enhanced Species ID feature, which will analyze a photo you take of your catch and attempt to identify it.

Q:  How can I tell if I caught an Atlantic salmon?

The key distinguishing feature of Atlantic salmon is black spots on the gill cover.

If you believe you have caught an Atlantic salmon in tidal (salt) waters in BC, please keep the fish and report the capture by calling the Atlantic Salmon Watch Program (ASWP) toll-free reporting line at 1-800-811-6010. You will be asked where and when you caught the fish and if you wish to donate the fish or part of it for research purposes. Donation is not mandatory but it does provide valuable samples for the DFO's scientific study. For whole fish donation, the entire fish — including entrails — should be frozen or kept on ice. Alternatively, the head and a small portion of the back including scales can be preserved. ASWP staff will arrange for transport of the sample.

For further information please contact aswp@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

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Still need help?

If you have a question about the FishingBC App email us using the “FishingBC Support” link below:

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If you have questions or concerns about Licensing or Regulations please email the DFO directly:

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