Don't go fishing without first reading these important documents.

Rules and regulations are important to know

Last weekend I renewed my annual freshwater and saltwater fishing licences. Not being very proficient in using the remote system on the email, I went to Gone Fishin’ sporting goods store and asked them  – “Can you sell me my license requirements?” It was no problem for them and I left with both of my licences bought and paid while dealing with real people instead of a cloud.

A couple of days later I returned and picked up hard copy booklets of the 2015-2017 Freshwater Fishing Regulations and the 2015-2016 Limited Entry Hunting Regulations Synopsis. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans no longer issues a printed version of a complex set of tidal waters fishing regulations for people who buy licences to angle in the marine environment. I respectfully suggest this is a sad case of abdicating their responsibility for the complex challenges of managing the recreational fishery.

The booklets in the photograph are the essential guides to helping outdoor people follow the complex sets of rules that guide us in our fishing and hunting adventures.

Please note that the  2013-2015 British Columbia Tidal Guide Sport Fishing Guide on the left hand side of the photograph is the last one issued by DFO and must not be considered anything more than a reference guide of the rules that were in place before DFO went into cloud communication to let us know what the current rules are for our fishery.

The booklet of immediate concern to all hunters interested in the Limited Entry Hunting Regulations is at the bottom of the picture. The most critical date for participants is at 4:30 p.m. May 22, 2015 when your entry must be in Victoria to qualify for the draw. The only highlighted colour change I saw in the regulations on hunts was in Region 5. The following quote would be important if you were applying for LEH: “A portion of these hunts are within Aboriginal Title Lands where access is restricted. See Map 5F.”

The Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis for 2014-2016 are the current regulations for this year. For any in-season regulation changes check the government website on the cover.

Featured in the centre of the photograph is the 2015-2017 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis. The delightful picture of two children netting a fish is excellent and sets a positive tone for the regulations. One change of note is that as of this year Haida Gwaii is now in Region 1.

You should mark on your calendar the Family Fishing Weekend and Father’s Day Weekend of June 19-21. That weekend the provincial and federal governments offer B.C. residents a three-day complimentary fishing license.

I cannot stress too strongly the importance of reading the regulations before you fish, not after. For example, Martha and Reginald lakes have trout release, bait bans, and single barb-less hooks as special regulations.

Many lakes and rivers have special regulations on how we fish and they are in place for conservation reasons. I am quite sensitive to how easy it is to make an honest mistake when you are trying to follow specific fishing rules that apply to one section of a body of water, but can change for other parts of the same body of water.

At the bottom of the picture is Tide and Bite Guide for 2015. This handy little booklet has nothing to do with regulations. It is, however, a gold mine of information of times to fish and special hints on how to be a more successful angler. It is free and available from the advertisers and the front desk of the Record.

Time to go fishing!

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.

 

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