I confess to being a lowly, “non-resident alien” angler who comes to B.C. to fish for steelhead, spending thousands of dollars there annually. If I were a Syrian refugee, I’d be welcomed and steered toward equality, at considerable expense to Canadian taxpayers, but as an alien from Montana, I’m scorned and treated like an invasive species.
In many hours of listening to CBC and reading local papers, I’ve often noted how proud Canadians are of their core values such as fairness, equality and non-discrimination. When it comes to fishing regulations, however, those values seem hilarious and hypocritical.
Here in Montana, we welcome all anglers to enjoy our world-famous trout fishing. BC resident anglers pay only USD$70 per year, and can fish on our “classified” rivers (called “blue ribbon rivers”) 365 days per year with no extra fees or restrictions.
But when I, a despised “non-resident alien,” come to BC for steelhead, it costs me CAD$540 for 20 days on Class II rivers ($400 more for Class I rivers), and I can only fish weekdays.
As a B.C. resident 65 or older, I’d pay CAD$45 annually to fish steelhead on classified rivers 365 days per year.
Even considering the lopsided exchange rate, does that sound fair and equitable?
But the money isn’t the biggest problem. I’m okay paying a reasonable premium over resident fees.
Like most steelheaders, I fish all day and move from river to river based on conditions. Yet, I have to buy daily, river-specific, classified permits in advance and have a printed, signed copy with me. Try to get buy and print a classified license at 9 p.m. in Small Town, B.C. It’s almost impossible. This requirement is unreasonably cumbersome and inconsiderate.
And how unfair and discriminatory is it for me to drive 1,800 kilometers (one way) from Montana and be forced to sit around on weekends and watch the locals fish?
This can be easily fixed with these modifications: allow “non-resident aliens” the option of buying an annual classified river license for a reasonable cost (i.e. CAD$100) that applies to all classified rivers, stop requiring signed paper copies of the daily, river-specific classified license, and allow all anglers to fish on weekends.
I sure hope somebody who has the power to correct these unfair and discriminatory fishing regs is reading this and does something about it.