British Columbia has changed the status of S.E. Interior rivers-The Elk &tribs-St.Marys-White-Skook-Bull &Upper Kootenay-to classified waters.What that means to me as a B.C. Resident is a $15 'Classified Waters' licence. What it means for non B.C.Residents is a money grab that is so short sighted ,I am stunned as to its stupidity.
I fish on the great rivers of Alberta every fall. In Alberta, all residents of Canada are treated equally -Canadians pay $21 for a yearly fishing licence. Non Canadians pay $60 per year. Ice fishing is a seperate licence but for us flyfishers that,s not relavent. A five day non- Canadian pays $40 - The time period I have chosen for my study.
In B.C. a resident pays $36 for a year. A Canadian Non B.C.Resident pays $55. An alien non Canadian pays $80.
I,m not totally opposed to charging more for fishers from outside of my Province, I am surprised that Alberta does not charge Canadians not living in Alberta more. (More on this later.)
As a B.C. Resident to as I said before I pay a fifteen dollar a year to fish in these 'classified waters' Here comes the kicker-any non B.C.resident has to buy their regular licence PLUS pay twenty dollars a day per rod licence! Twenty dollars a day!
Lets do some math. Say a family of four from outside of B.C- but Canadian want to fish these waters (age sixteen and up you need a licence.) You want to spend a week fly fishing these 'classified waters.A family of four pay' $55 each for licence-and
$140 each for your "classified waters licence"(you need both)-total-$780 !!!!Just for your licences!!!!!!! Individually--$195! If you come from the States or elsewhere a family of four pay--$80-per licence plus $140= $880!!!!! or $220-individually!
If you go to Alberta-and come from Canada a family of four pay $21 each or $84 PER YEAR. If you come from outside of Canada-$60 each or $240 PER YEAR.
Albertans are understandably very ****** of!!!
There are lots of reasons to "classify" waters-such as the Dean River and its wonderful summer run of giant steelhead that will take a dryfly,but in this case, in my mind it is nothing but a giant money grab. Because of the relatively small population in S.E. B.C. most fishers on these waters come from out of Province, and because they do-most of what they catch is C&R. Locals are the ones that keep what they catch. So to argue(as fisheries does that they are protecting fish stocks-does not hold water.) When I fish there with my friends Fred and Nancy(both from Alberta) we stay in hotels-we eat out-we consume.With the added financial burden I don,t think we will be fishing there next year. Financially well of people will still come,but not out of Province families. Regular folks will have to fish elsewhere. An analysis of the 'Big Picture' of what this means for our sport is not good. There are many wonderful rivers in Alberta but there are a lot of Albertans who flyfish and they will be staying on their local waters to fish,putting increasing pressure on habitat and fish stocks there. Out of province anglers will also go to Alberta as it costs a fraction of what it costs to fish in S.E. B.C.,putting more pressures on their waters. Angling pressure will result in more and more crowded waters there, and stressed fish stocks. Financially this short sighted money grab by the B.C.Government will cost them more money than they will make from this stupid surcharge, as the motels-hotels-the fly fishing stores-the entire tourist industry will suffer. The only people that will benefit from this are those that can afford to pay, making S.E. B.C. a place for the elite. The rest of us lose.