Breaking News About Retaining Canadian Caught Salmon

My letter to Director Unsworth and the WDFW Commission  members worked. Today an Emergency WAC regulations was passed,  WAC 220-56–156 allowing anglers to retain British Columbia salmon without going to one of five B.C. Government docks to get a clearance number. New WAC listed below.

This means anglers can now fish Canadian waters for salmon just like they do for halibut and bring their fish back to the U.S. as long as they have a Canadian Customs number, obtained by calling 1-866-CAN-PASS upon entering Canadian waters. Anglers also need an I-68 or Nexus Pass to re-enter U.S. waters.

Salmon & Halibut Fishing in Canadian Waters — What You Need To Know

  1. Purchase your B.C. Tidal Waters Fishing License. You can purchase it in B.C. at a dealer or go online and purchase your single day, multiple day or annual license. However, if you purchase an online license you can not fish in some Areas for halibut
  2. Cost for 1 day, $7.35 CND, 3 day, $19.95 CND, 5 day, $32.55 CND, Annual, $106.05 CND All above prices are for ages 16 and up. Also, this online license prohibits non-Canadian license holders from fishing for halibut in Areas 23, 121 & 123. This would apply to halibut anglers departing from Neah Bay either by charter boat or private boat. Halibut anglers who plan to fish these areas MUST purchase their license in person from a dealer in British Columbia.
  1. Everyone aboard your vessel MUST have a passport or enhanced driver’s license, I-68 or Nexus Pass.

Upon entering Canadian waters, the captain of the vessel MUST call 1-800-CAN-PASS. The Canadian Custom’s agent will ask a series of questions including, boat registration info, names and passport numbers for everyone aboard, their birth dates, where you are located now, where you departed from, how long you will be in Canadian waters, if you have guns, tobacco or firearms aboard.

  1. When re-entering U.S. waters you MUST call U.S. Customs at 1-800-562-5943  If you have either a Nexus Pass or an I-68 on file you will be able to clear customs via telephone. Also note, everyone MUST have one of these documents in order to avoid docking and waiting for a U.S. Custom’s official to inspect your vessel and I.D. of everyone aboard. An I-68 costs $16 per person or $32 for the entire family at the same address and is good for one year and enables boaters entering the U.S. from Canada to clear customs via telephone. The Nexus Pass is good for five years and costs $50. A Nexus Pass requires both countries to approve the applicant and make take several weeks. Both will require an in person interview. The I-68 can be purchased and obtained that day in most cases. To obtain an I-68 call your local U.S. Customs office and schedule a time to fill out the paperwork and be interviewed. You will need your U.S. Passport, or Enhanced Driver’s License.

Also note: It is now legal to bring salmon &  halibut back to your home port, even if salmon & halibut are closed in Washington waters.

And please note, B.C. has several Rockfish Conservation Areas that prohibit any kind of hook and line fishing. Anglers fishing near Middlebank need to know where they can and can’t fish. Please look at the maps below and note the coordinates of the no fishing zone.

WAC 220-56-156  Possession and delivery of Canadian-origin food fish and shellfish.

(1) Canadian license required. It is unlawful to possess in marine waters or deliver into Washington shellfish or food fish taken for personal use from Canadian waters unless the person who possesses or delivers the shellfish or food fish possesses a valid Canadian sport fishing license and catch record card, if one is required, for the shellfish and food fish taken.

(2) Canadian-origin rockfish restrictions: It is unlawful to possess yelloweye or canary rockfish taken for personal use from Canadian waters.

(3) Canadian-origin halibut restrictions:

(a) The daily limit of halibut is one daily limit, regardless of the origin of the halibut.

(b) The possession limit is two halibut if at least one halibut was taken from Washington waters. It is unlawful to possess in excess of the Canadian possession limit of halibut for the time and area fished if all halibut were taken from Canadian waters.

(c) It is unlawful to possess more than one daily limit of halibut aboard the fishing vessel.

(4) Canadian-origin salmon restrictions:

(a) It is unlawful to possess in marine waters or deliver into Washington any fresh salmon taken for personal use from Canadian waters unless such salmon meet current salmon regulations for the waters of the applicable department of fish and wildlife catch record card area. However, if the vessel operator has a valid Canadian customs clearance number obtained once they are in Canadian waters while the vessel was moored at a Canadian government dock in Ucluelet, Victoria, Sydney, White Rock, or Bedwell Harbour, British Columbia, fishers aboard the vessel may deliver Canadian-origin salmon into Washington that are lawfully taken in Canada, regardless of whether the salmon meet the current salmon regulations for the area where delivered.

(b) It is unlawful to fish for any species in state or offshore waters from a vessel having Canadian-origin salmon aboard that do not meet the current salmon regulations for the waters being fished.

(c) It is unlawful for a fisher to fish for any species in state or offshore waters if the fisher possesses in the field any salmon that do not meet the current salmon regulations for the waters being fished.

(5) “Delivery” of Canadian-origin fish into Washington defined. For the purposes of this section, “delivery” means transportation by a private or commercial recreational fishing vessel. Delivery in Washington is complete when, within the state, the vessel anchors, moors, ties to a float or pier, or is placed or attempted to be placed on a boat trailer. “Delivery” is also complete if the fish or shellfish are offloaded from the vessel within state waters.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047 and 77.04.020. WSR 08-15-090 (Order 08-172), § 220-56-156, filed 7/17/08, effective 8/17/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 77.12.047. WSR 06-05-085 (Order 06-23), § 220-56-156, filed 2/14/06, effective 5/1/06; WSR 05-05-046 (Order 05-22), § 220-56-156, filed 2/14/05, effective 3/17/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 75.08.080. WSR 92-11-012 (Order 92-19), § 220-56-156, filed 5/12/92, effective 6/12/92; WSR 90-08-001 (Order 90-22), § 220-56-156, filed 3/22/90, effective 4/22/90; WSR 85-09-017 (Order 85-20), § 220-56-156, filed 4/9/85.]N

About John L. Beath

John Beath is a writer, photographer, videographer, blogger, tackle manufacturer & Captain at Whaler's Cove Lodge in Southeast Alaska. He is also owner of and host at Lets Talk Outdoors @
This entry was posted in 2015 Washington Salmon Seasons, Salmon Fishing in Canada Rules, Salmon Fishing Superstitions. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s