Halibut Fishing In Canadian Waters

What to do when fishing halibut in British Columbia Waters

Fishing in Canadian waters you will need a B.C. Saltwater Fishing License. These licenses can be purchased online, and are good for these waters. https://www-ops2.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/nrls-sndpp/index-eng.cfm

If you purchase an online license you are prohibited from fishing Areas 23, 121 & 123. Your online license will enable you to fish the inside waters of Vancouver Island all the way to the other side of Neah Bay.


If you do fish Canadian waters, BEWARE! You MUST call 1-888-CAN-Pass (226-7277) at least two hours prior to entering Canadian waters if you are a NEXUS card holder. Non NEXUS card holders, in other words, most of us, MUST call upon entering Canadian waters. After several phone calls today to Canadian Customs, they did confirm that ANCHORING in Canada while halibut fishing is fine. That’s great news for all halibut anglers. FYI, you can purchase a 1 day, 3 day, 5 day or annual B.C. Saltwater fishing license.

Also note, it is illegal to have firearms or mace aboard while in Canadian waters, so be sure to leave your weapons at home. And gangion rigs with two hooks are not legal. You may have two hooks on the same bait or lure though.  Walt, a blog reader and PSA member also points out, “Old misdemeanor incidents that will prevent you from entering Canada when they check the system in Washington,DC. include Pot possession and DUI.” If you aren’t sure if you are welcome and legal to enter Canada just call them. Also note, in some instances they could require you to report to either Victoria or Ucluelet to clear customs. However, my conversations with Canadian Customs officials indicated they rarely would require this. And remember, if you call just before entering Canadian waters, i.e. on the border but still within U.S. waters you should be safe. If they instruct you that you MUST go to either Victoria or Ucluelet, to clear customs simply let them know you will not be entering Canadian waters. Walt says refusing to clear customs when requested will prevent you from entering Canada in the future, and says, “The potential problems far exceed any gain from fishing in Canadian waters.”

Halibut Gangion Rig

Gangion rigs with two baits or lures are not legal in British Columbia Waters

Effective Apr. 1, 2014 until further notice:

  • The maximum length is 133 cm. (52.3622 inches)
  • The daily limit is 1.
  • The possession limit is 2, only one of which may be greater than 90cm in length.
  • Annual limit of 6 halibut per license holder as authorized under the 2014/2015 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License.
  • For each halibut retained by the license holder, the date of capture, the Fisheries Management Area from which it was caught and its length shall be immediately recorded in ink on the 2014-2015 Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License.