The British Columbia Federation Of Drift Fishers was formed in March 1996 by a group of concerned anglers who felt that their chosen method of angling was in jeopardy. The Federation has grown to be recognized as the voice of British Columbia's river anglers. Protection of the resource is our primary concern. The Federation is committed to working with other similar minded organizations and government agencies, whose goals parallel our own. Concerned anglers who wish to preserve anadromous fish stocks for future generations should consider joining the Federation: your voice can make a difference! We sit on over 15 Provincial boards or committees including the main board of the sports fish advisory board. If you fish B.C. Rivers, please consider joining us, your voice alone is quiet, but collectively we are heard!
Protecting the rights and opportunities of river fishermen and the conservation of anadromous fish stocks and resources.
Promote ethical fishing practices
Develop our youth as the future stewards of the resource
Representation on all major provincial boards and committees, both government and stakeholder
Input on current and future regulation changes
Participant in Family Fishing Days
Affordable and growing membership
Protection and enhancement of steelhead and salmon stocks
United voice working in conjunction with other similar minded organizations
Preserving angling opportunities for our children and grand children
We represent you as the "Voice" of river anglers
To promote and protect the interests of drift fishers and other user groups.
To assist in the conservation, protection, and enhancement of all anadromous trout, salmonids, and other fresh water trout.
To support and collaborate with all appropriate government, environmental, and other agencies, who pursue similar goals and objectives.
To foster an appreciation of all fish stocks, and promote a responsible Code of Ethics through education and encouragement of all sportsman-like attitudes and conduct.
The operations of the society are to be carried out in the province of British Columbia.
The society shall operate without purpose of gain for its members, and any profits or accretions to it, shall be used in promoting its purpose.
In the event of dissolution of this society, any remaining assets remaining after payment of debts and obligations shall be distributed to other organizations fostering similar and parallel objectives as deemed acceptable to the majority of the former directors of the society.
There is a diverse range of freshwater sport fishing experiences and settings, from char, salmon and trout angling the Arctic drainage of the Peace region to bar fishing for white sturgeon on the Fraser River . . . from spectacular westslope cutthroat experiences in the Kootenays to world class rainbow on the fly on small interior lakes . . . from steelhead angling on world class rivers to the kids next door fishing in a local stream . . . fishing in British Columbia is part of our lifestyle and our culture.
The validity of “Non Retention” fisheries has been debated for some time with varied opinions on the social and economic value of the practice and concerns regarding the impact on threatened fish stocks. This conservation measure has been practiced, particularly in the Recreational steelhead fishery for many years, even prior to mandatory release of wild fish. Many anglers revere steelhead as the premier B.C. game fish deserving of special treatment including careful release to ensure survival.
Non retention is part of the Public Fishery culture as a vital tool in developing our children as the future stewards of the resource. Using selective fishing practices they can enjoy natures beauty while carefully releasing one of it’s treasures to complete the cycle of life and ensure fisheries for future generations.
Critics may suggest this practice puts additional stress on the fish despite documented studies demonstrating a mortality rate of less than 5% on carefully handled released fish. The critical factor is proper release technique, including keeping the fish in the water and minimizing handling. Be it tidal or non tidal. keeping the fish in the water, using knotless fine mesh nets and ensuring the correct leader strength is used to minimize landing time are all accepted methods of reducing any potential mortality.
With increasing concerns for conservation of many salmon and steelhead stocks, resulting in total Public fisheries closures, calls for selective fishing methods combined with careful release of any non-targeted species has been extensively promoted through various advisory processes including the Sports Fish Advisory Board. The BCFDF “Handle with Care” initiative is supportive and many other organizations actively promote education in correct non retention fishing methods.
Science based documented evidence has demonstrated that specific gear types combined with proper release has resulted in extremely low mortality compared to other fisheries while providing critical recreational opportunity.
Many groups are asking for increased enhancement and instituting “Marked Selective Fisheries” which is currently under review by DFO as an option providing opportunity for a severely depressed Public fishery. Obviously careful release of wild fish is a crucial part of this initiative, demonstrating the requirement of angler buy in toward acceptable non retention techniques which have been proven to provide the lowest mortality while providing much needed oppoprtunities.
The tremendous social and economic loss of Public fisheries demands that consideration of all options for retaining some opportunity must be a priority. We cannot accept total closures when other viable alternatives such as non retention are available. The documented closures of fishery dependent businesses is a sad reality. The Public Fishery generates 1.1 billion dollars a year in revenues & provides 9,000 jobs province wide.
The social value is priceless, highlighted this year by the recognition of the safe healthy benefit of fishing in these current Covid-19 restrictions.
The Public Fishery remains committed to Conservation as the #1 priority. We will continue to support all science based efforts to rebuild stocks but demand that total closures be a last resort after all other options such as non retention fisheries are carefully considered.
President, B.C. Federation of Drift Fishers