The Sunshine Coast is full of great fishing spots. The Salish Sea is a major salmon migration route and is accessible from all of the communities along the Sunshine Coast, from Gibsons to Lund. The deep waters of Pender Harbour are famous for giant lingcod, and shellfish such as prawns and crabs are abundant along the coast. And when it comes to freshwater fishing, you’ll find mountain-fed streams and lakes full of steelhead, cutthroat, and rainbow trout.
Fishing charters are available and local guides can help ensure your experience is as fruitful as possible. If you are coming to the Sunshine Coast by boat, there are many moorage opportunities all along our coastline.
Keep in mind that it is always important to check the area you intend to fish in for regulations and restrictions because they can change each season, and sometimes even during the season. If you are unsure of where to check, feel free to contact any one of our Visitors Centre for some help. You should be able to answer these 5 questions before you set out:
There are restrictions that are particularly relevant to the Sunshine Coast. Make yourself aware of the Glass Sponge Reef Marine Refuges and the various Rockfish Conservation Areas, and be on the lookout for signage at local marinas.
Please remember to be safe, responsible, and respectful while you’re fishing the waters of the Sunshine Coast.
All anglers must have a license to fish both tidal and non-tidal waters in British Columbia. You must carry your license on you and, if asked, produce it for inspection by a Conservation Officer, Fishery Officer, RCMP constable, Park Ranger in a park, or an Officer under the Wildlife Act.
Tidal waters licenses are managed by the Federal Government, while non-tidal licenses are managed by the Provincial Government. Both are available online, but licenses can also be obtained in-person from specific vendors. Your licensing fees will vary depending on your age and residency, as well as the term of the license which can range from one day to one year.
Video: Winter Chinook on BC’s Sunshine Coast with Powell River Sportfishing
Dean McLaren of Powell River Sportfishing has been a saltwater fishing enthusiast from a young age. Powell River’s local waters are the epitome of a thriving year-round fishery, supporting a healthy population of these wintertime immature Chinooks, joined by their migratory counterparts later in the spring. Press the “play” button below to learn more.
Video: Sunshine Coast Chinook Salmon Fishing with OTB Charters
Dotted with islands and small inlets, the Sunshine Coast is a productive fishery for all five species of Pacific salmon as well as halibut, ling cod and a multitude of bottom-dwelling species. OTB, or “over the beach”, is a military term that translates to “will still work when wet”
Tidal Waters (Saltwater) Fishing
You will need a tidal waters license to fish for any species of saltwater finfish or shellfish. Fishing licenses for tidal waters can be purchased online via Fisheries and Oceans Canada or in-person from specific vendors in Gibsons and Powell River.
Note that an annually-purchased Salmon Conservation Stamp must be affixed to licences held by anglers wishing to retain any species of Pacific salmon.
Visit the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website for information on things such as:
- Licensing requirements
- Maps and charts (including Fisheries Management Areas 15, 16, 17, 28, and 29)
- Catch limits
- Fishery openings and closures
- Crab harvesting
- Shellfish harvesting
For those eager to explore the many lakes of the Sunshine Coast, freshwater fishing licenses can be conveniently obtained either online from the BC Government or in-person from specific vendors in Gibsons and Powell River.
Information about freshwater fishing licenses and regulations can be found on BC Government’s Freshwater Fishing page. Even if you already have your licence, it is important to stay up-to-date on regional information and in-season changes that may be new. You can also download a digital copy of the Freshwater Regulations Synopsis to refer to while you’re out in the field.
The BC Government’s Freshwater Fishing page includes information on things such as:
- Licensing requirements
- Basic licence options and pricing
- Definitions of BC Resident and Non-Resident
- Lost licences
- Conservation Surcharges
Tips & Useful Resources
Check out this handy list of 5 questions you should be able to answer before you set out for a day of fishing:
- What You Need to Know – 5 Questions
Looking for more information on fishing in BC? Check out the following resources:
- Fishing BC – Discover fishing trip ideas, videos, and more.
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Information on tidal waters fishing in the Pacific Region
- Identifying Your Catch – Salmon, trout, groundfish, shellfish, and more
- Freshwater Fishing in BC – Information from the Province of British Columbia
- Quick Start Guide for Freshwater Fishing – Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC