Looks like spring may not be that far off.
Time to string up that new five-weight fly rod that I bought myself for Christmas, and, while I think about it, get my new fishing licence.
As most anglers know, fishing licences are now purchased online. The e-Licensing system allows anglers to obtain an angler number and purchase their basic non-tidal (freshwater) angling licence, classified waters licences, white sturgeon conservation licences and conservation surcharge stamps, at any time.
One really nice feature added to this year’s e-licensing service is that if you have lost or misplaced your e-licence, you can go online and reprint a copy.
If you do not have your angler number handy or do not remember it, there is a Forgot Your Angler Number bar you can hit to retrieve that information. Most tackle store/e-licence vendors give you a card with your angler number to keep in your wallet or a safe place – you know, the kind of safe place where you put things so they won’t get damaged and then you can’t remember where where the heck you put them.
I never used to mind shelling out $36 plus tax ($40.32) for my annual non-tidal licence, but now that I have reached that certain age it only costs me five bucks. Either way, the cost is well worth the price. As of last year, 100 per cent of the estimated $10 million raised through licence sales goes to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia (FFSBC) to operate its fish stocking programs and the province’s five fish hatcheries, as well as the promoting and marketing of sport fishing in the province.
Since its creation in 2003, the mandate of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia has been to “to conserve and enhance the freshwater fish resources of British Columbia for the benefit of the public, to deliver fish-stocking programs, to maintain and enhance the freshwater sport fishery, to provide conservation fish culture services, to support the recovery of endangered fish populations and to promote, market, and develop recreational fishing.”
FFSBC funds are spent primarily on services such as lake and stream stocking, licensing, permitting, the fishing synopsis and the management, promotion and marketing of sport fishing.
The society also undertakes post-stocking scientific evaluations in order to determine where the program is working, conduct research of non-reproductive strain technology and carry out a variety of species enhancement programs for species such as steelhead and anadromous cutthroat trout.
Under the FFSBC mandate, hatcheries will produce some eight million rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout annually, and stock more than 800 lakes throughout the province.
Somewhere along the line, I read that each year in B.C. an estimated $500 million goes into local economies from expenditures by anglers, and some $32 million in sales tax revenue is generated on angling related expenditures. It would seem a properly managed freshwater fishery in this province is proving to be a pretty lucrative money-making proposition.
I know that over the years I have contributed a fair amount of money to both the provincial economy and a fair number of local economies where there happened to be some pretty good fishing.
So I think I’m going to head on down to the local tackle store here in town and get them to renew my fishing licence. After that, it’s just a mater of waiting until the ice is off the lakes and then I can sit out in my boat, relax, watch the mayflies light on the gunnel of the boat and not worry about anything except when I’m going to have my lunch… all that for just five bucks.