Save our Steelhead and Salmon

You can help improve the outcomes for fish in B.C. by getting involved. Your actions and your voice matter.

In British Columbia, there are 300,000 freshwater fishing license holders and 275,000 saltwater fishing license holders. Entire communities rely on fishing for sustenance. Fishing is a pastime that brings people together and unites generations.

Yet, a wave of threats to fish have emerged in B.C. and we need to take action.

Habitat degradation, invasive species, drought, rising water temperatures, the diseases spread by salmon farms, and waterways blocked by infrastructure all threaten at-risk steelhead and salmon populations.

B.C.’s Interior Fraser Steelhead are considered an Extreme Conservation Concern and as dire as that sounds, it doesn’t do justice to the crisis. Spawning populations have dropped from more than 3,000 fish in each of the Thompson and Chilcotin Rivers to just a few dozen today. At last count, many of the important tributaries see 20 or fewer fish return and that is truly the brink of extinction for these genetically unique populations. 

A debilitating parasite that causes fatal whirling disease in fish was confirmed in British Columbia for the first time, four months after a suspected case in the Rockies identified late last year caused Emerald Lake and several nearby lakes in B.C.’s Yoho National Park to be closed. Parks Canada also confirmed the disease had spread to bodies of water in the Kootenay River watershed. This parasite has been present in Alberta with variable impacts but this news is nonetheless alarming. It is not clear whether the parasite will negatively affect B.C. ecosystems the way it has in other jurisdictions. We would rather not find out. 

The threat posed by invasive quagga and zebra mussels is more clear cut. In states and provinces where these mussels are established, they cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and increased maintenance as they clog municipal water infrastructure and hydroelectric equipment. Beaches may be rendered unusable for recreation and the rotting mussels produce toxins that harm fish and birds. 

The BCWF is a catalyst for positive change. Our field crews and their partners conducted restoration, enhancement, maintenance and monitoring work for more than 50 wetlands across British Columbia in 2023. Invasive species were removed, and native species were planted. The first of 100 planned Beaver Dam Analogues was installed.  

The BCWF’s Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program (FHREP) has cleaned and restored hundreds of hectares of fish habitat, including the fantastically successful Fraser River Tidal Marsh Clean-up Project. Salmon rearing habitat was restored in the Juliet Creek Side Channel of Coldwater Creek, and a groundwater channel adjacent to the Bonaparte River was restored in collaboration with local First Nations. 

The B.C. Wildlife Federation is reaching across the province with boots-on-the-ground habitat restoration projects that strategically target areas critical to the health of fish and wildlife populations. We are in Ottawa and Victoria demanding better fisheries management and emphasizing vital areas in need of protection.

BCWF Speaking Up for Fish

Angling Advocacy and Initiatives

Click the ‘+’ to learn more about each initiative.

Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program

The Fish Habitat Restoration and Education workshops and initiatives aim to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving freshwater fish and riparian habitats across B.C., while building community capacity to care for these valued areas through restoration and community engagement.

Fishing Forever

Fishing Forever has been inspiring communities since 1989, when the idea was first put forward by broadcast journalist, Walt Liimatainen. Since then, the dedicated clubs of the B.C. Wildlife Federation, volunteers and sponsors spend many days outdoors helping those who may need a little extra help to learn how to fish and enjoy the natural world around them.

Family Fishing Weekend

Family Fishing Weekend is an opportunity to tackle fishing for the first time or indulge in a lifelong passion. B.C. Wildlife Federation member clubs host family-friendly events all over British Columbia in partnership with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. 

Learn to Hunt and Fish Series

Learn to Hunt and Fish Series online episodes cover everything from virtual sessions with the BC Conservation Officer Service that touch on common infractions in the backcountry, and how you can avoid them, to learning how to hunt turkey, how to fish for kokanee, and more!

A BCWF membership gets you free access to all episodes of the Learn to Hunt and Fish Series, plus our extensive catalogue of episode recordings.

Women Outdoors Weekends & Workshops

Unleash your inner adventurer! Join the B.C. Wildlife Federation’s Women Outdoors Weekends and Workshops to start your unforgettable journey into the wild. Discover the skills and confidence you need to navigate the wilderness, forage for mushrooms, shoot a rifle, go fishing, and even learn the art of hunting and game butchering. Gain the confidence to explore the great outdoors and enjoy all that British Columbia has to offer.

Support Our Advocacy Work

Please become a member or donate to support us. We are doing the work, raising our voices in Victoria and Ottawa, and we need your help. Donations of $10 and above are eligible for a tax deduction. Become a monthly donor, leave a legacy gift, start a fundraiser, or find other ways to support the BCWF.

Follow our Social Media Pages

To get involved, or to find out what you can do to help change the narrative, email our Conservation, Hunting, Angling and Firearms Policy & Engagement Coordinator Steve Hamilton, at

Stay up to date on current advocacy work and how you can get involved.

Facebook (@BCWildlifeFederation)

Instagram (@bcwildlifefederation)

Twitter (@BCWildlife)