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The GOAL of the QWS is "to maintain or improve the quality of angling opportunities on classified and other quality waters in British Columbia".

QWS process has started in the Skeena Region.  Updates will be posted here: 

Cast here for a "direct" link to the Skeena QWS website


Cast here to read update dated March 10, 2011


Cast here to read update #15 dated April 23, 2010  Apr 23/10

Cast here to read update #14 dated October 21, 2009 

Cast here to read update #13 dated September 30, 2009 

Cast here to read update #12 dated July 18, 2009  

Cast here to read update #11 dated June 12, 2009   

Cast here to read update #10 dated April 9, 2009   

Cast here to read update #9 dated March 6, 2009  

Cast here to read update #8 dated March 6, 2009 


Cast here to read fall update #7 dated January 30, 2009 

Cast here to read fall update #6 dated December 15, 2008 

Cast here to read fall update #5 dated November 19, 2008

Cast here to read fall update #4 dated November 14, 2008 

Cast here to read fall update #3 dated November 6, 2008 

Cast here to read fall update #2 dated October 24, 2008 

Cast here to read fall update #1 dated October 18, 2008 


Cast here to read Skeena QWS Working Groups update #2 dated June 20, 2008

Cast here to read Skeena QWS Working Groups update #1 dated May 2, 2008

Cast here to read update #4 dated March 27, 2008

Cast here to read update #3 dated March 8, 2008

Cast here to read update #2 dated February 18, 2008

Cast here to read update #1 dated January 31, 2008


"The quality of the product is directly proportional to the quality of the process by which it was created."  Dick McMaster, Angling Guide Representative 


"This initiative will alter steelhead fishing in this province profoundly and for a long time." Rob Brown, Skeena Resident Angler 


Quality Waters Strategy (QWS) has been developed by consensus over the last five years by a dedicated group of resident anglers and guides in partnership with government.

Photo of the May 29-30, 2004 Provincial Classified Waters Review working group.

Clockwise in photo: Bob Taylor, Independent Angler, Bob Hooton, MWLAP Nanaimo, Robby Steward, BC Federation of Fly Fishers, Tom Protheroe, Independent Angler, Miles Stratholt MWLAP Victoria, Al Martin MWLAP Victoria, director of fish & wildlife, Julie Paul, Facilitator, Bob Williams MWLAP Victoria, Pierce Clegg, Northern Steelhead Guides Association, Dick McMaster, Guide Outfitters Association of BC, Noel Gyger, Terrace and District Angling Guides Association, Doug Peck, East Kootenay Wildlife Association.

Missing from the Photo but these people also contributed greatly: Dave Narver, BC Wildlife Federation, Paul Bech, Steelhead Society, Craig Murray, Nimmo Bay Resort, Barry Rogers, Kootenay Angling Guides Association, Dana Atagi, MWALP Smithers, Mike Ramsay, MWALP Williams Lake, Gerry Walsh, MWALP Victoria, Jeff Burrows MWLAP Kootenay, Keith Douglas and Dave Evans (alternates for Northern Steelhead Guides Assoc.)

The group signed off on the final document on May 10, 2005 and two thank you letter's went out from the government.
(1) Thank you letter from Barisoff.JPG and (2) Thank you letter from Penner.PDF

Cast here to read the full Quality Waters Strategy Resource Document [PDF 391KB] 

The inaugural (first) Region 6 Quality Waters Management Committee (R6QWMC) was formed on Friday, January 13, 2006 via a conference call between Dana Atagi (QWS regional coordinator), Tom Protheroe (QWS resident angler) and Noel Gyger (QWS angling guide rep)

Members chosen:

Angling Guides:
1. Noel Gyger angling guide rep
2. Fred Seiler independent angling guide
3. Tom Lee AAG from Hazelton

Resident Anglers:

1. Tom Protheroe independent resident angler
2. Sharon Robertson past chairman NSCA, Hazelton
3. Don Intermela member SFAB and past member SH Society, Hazelton
4. Mike Wallden BCFFF, Prince Rupert

Photo of Skeena Regional Quality Waters Management Committee meeting Nov 23, 2006

Clockwise in photo:

Gordon Erlandson, from Victoria BC (consultant to Dana Atagi)
Don Intermela, Resident angler from Hazelton BC
Dana Atagi, Skeena Regional QWS Management Committee coordinator
Sharon Robertson, Resident Angler from Smithers BC (Chair)
Brian Fuhr, BC Govt, Skeena Region: Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB)
Tom Protheroe, Resident angler from Terrace BC
Tom Lee, Assistant Angling Guide (AAG) from the Kispiox River
Noel Gyger, Angling guide rep from Terrace BC

Missing from the photo (not at the meeting):
Mike Wallden, resident angler from Prince Rupert BC
Fred Seiler, independent guide from Terrace BC



Good News for Resident Anglers, Resident Guides and Non-resident Anglers!

A New Strategy to Manage Premier Waters

British Columbia’s freshwater sport fishing is managed by the provincial government to maintain healthy fish populations and return social and economic benefits to the Province. Over the past decade, the policies for regulating angler demand on Classified Waters and other quality waters have declined in effectiveness as angler use has continued to increase. Accordingly, resource managers, anglers, guides and other members of the public have come together to design a new strategy to manage the designated Quality Waters in the Province. Fundamentally, the Quality Waters Strategy (QWS) is a collaborative management process designed to preserve and/or enhance the unique angling experiences on many of the Province’s highest quality and popular rivers.

Public consultation around the new QWS strategy identified two major areas of management concern: a) growth of angler use in all categories and b) several weaknesses in the management of guided angling. Since 1999 a core working group comprised of several government officials; four angling guide representatives; and five resident anglers have struggled to design a strategy that addresses these two major concerns.

Guiding Principles

The following Principles have directed the development and implementation of the QWS. They are to be used to ensure that the intent of this strategy is applied throughout the Province in a consistent manner and that all interests are considered. The intent is to maintain quality angling experiences on selected waters for all anglers. These Principles are:

  • Maintain an effective and mutually respectful process that supports sound management of angler use,
  • Ensure that the priority and interests of B.C. resident anglers are maintained where decisions regarding angling opportunities are required as a result of angling opportunities that have become oversubscribed,
  • Foster a healthy business environment that is supportive of angling guides, tourism businesses and local economies,
  • Realize fair social and economic returns to the Province for the use of sport fish resources,
  • Provide efficient, cost-effective and transparent administrative processes,
  • Maintain an enforceable management system that ensures regulatory compliance and promotes ethical behavior,
  • Provide for timely acquisition and application of data for efficient and effective management,
  • Compliment provincial fisheries management goals for resource conservation and sustainable fisheries.
  • Funding

    The present dedicated funding source for the QWS process is comprised of quality water licenses and rod day fees from angling guides and those resident and non-resident anglers who fish the Quality Waters. The funding vehicle is the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund Board that will administer these funds consistent with the process currently being utilized for the administration of other dedicated funds under HCTF. The licensing process and fees for all Quality Waters are found in the current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis.

    Overview of the Management Process

    Five formal elements provide an inclusive and collaborative management process.

    There is a Regional Quality Waters Management Committee (RQWMC) in each region that contains a number of identified Quality Waters – 3 at present – in the Skeena, Cariboo and East Kootenay regions. The RQWMC is composed of 4 resident anglers; 3 angling guide representatives and a regional fisheries coordinator. Responsibilities of this committee are:

  • to hold public meetings in the region to determine issues relative to the QWS.
  • to identify rivers where some form of more intensive management initiative seems warranted e.g. river guardian, creel survey, new or revised Angling Management Plan (AMP), etc.
  • to identify funding requirements and make application to the Provincial Quality Waters Management Committee for funds from the HCTF.
  • Should it be determined that a new or revised AMP is required, the RQWMC will apply to the Provincial Quality Waters Management Committee for funding to establish an AMP Working Group (AMPWG). The AMPWG is composed of a regional fisheries person; a facilitator; some representation from the RQWMC and selected public volunteers who have knowledge of the river(s) in question.

    The Provincial Quality Waters Management Committee (PQWMC) is also composed of 4 resident anglers; 3 angling guide representatives and one government coordinator. It is desirable if one person from each of the two public groups initially also becomes a member of one of the RQWMCs. The PQWMC monitors the application of the QWS in each of the regions; reviews applications for funding; and makes recommendations to the HCTF for funding. They may also ask for additional information and/or clarification of the RQWMC’s requests.

    The Director of Fish and Wildlife oversees the processes and ultimately has the responsibility to endorse or seek further clarification of management decisions recommended by the RQWMCs and the PQWMC.

    The HCTF reviews requests and allocates funding to the level of its resources to ensure the viability of the QWS.

    Committee Membership

    During the implementation phase of the PQWMC membership will be composed of those resident anglers and guide representatives who participated in the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) during the development of the Strategy. It is proposed that there be 3 residents from the JSC and one new resident member serving terms of between 1 – 3 years. Three guide representatives will serve from 1 – 3 years. New members will be added as applications or nominations for membership are received. (See P. 44 of the QWS Resource Document.)

    The RQWMC will be composed of at least one resident and one guide representative who participated in the development of the Strategy. Members will serve from 1 – 3 years and new members will be added by nomination or application in ensuring years.

    AMPWGs will be created as required for a proposed term of 6 months. Membership will be the same as for other committees, i.e. 4 resident anglers and 3 guide representatives assisted by one government designate and a facilitator. It is likely that 1 or 2 of the members will be from the RQWMC and the others chosen by application or nomination from those who attended the community meetings and have demonstrated knowledge of the river(s) under examination.

    The AMP “Tool Box”

    The Tool Box provides the AMP Working Group with a range of measures to address and manage specific issues with respect to both angler use and guiding regulations such as:

    • fee increases,
    • angler use regulations e.g. – limit number of days per angler per river,
    • lottery,
    • area zoning,
    • license class restriction,
    • boat use restrictions,
    • limit number of guides and clients during specified time periods,
    • limit guide authorization and review guided allocation,
    • no guiding,
    • guided only for non-BC residents.

    Many of these tools are already in effect on one or more waters in the Province. Each tool is accompanied with associated information to assist the AMPWG in drafting the AMP including description, implications, cost of implementation, statutory authority, and measures of effectiveness. “Tackle Box” issues are not included in the Tool Box.

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