Few retailers sell fishing licences in Yellowknife

There are fewer and fewer places to get a sport fishing licence in Yellowknife, as business owners say it's not worth their time or the money to sell them.

Visitors centre says government should set up online system

CBC's Alyssa Mosher reports 2:02

The N.W.T. may bill itself as a fisherman’s paradise, but there are fewer and fewer places to get a sport fishing licence in Yellowknife as business owners say it's not worth their time or the money to sell them.

Business owners who choose to sell the licences on behalf of the N.W.T. government get $1 for each one they sell.

Yellowknife locations selling N.W.T. sport fishing licences

  • Downtown Reddi Mart
  • Environment and Natural Resources office
  • Northern Frontier Visitors Centre
  • Services TNO (Laing building)

"Either we need more return for doing it, or a simpler process," said Colin Dempsey with the Northern Frontier Visitors’ Centre, one of four remaining locations in the city which sells fishing licences.

After the Yellowknife Co-op stopped selling them on April 1, he said staff at the visitors’ centre started getting swamped with people looking to buy licences.

"We were just having trouble keeping up," he said.

The government agreed to hire a part-time summer employee at the vistors’ centre devoted specifically to selling fishing licences, but Dempsey said the whole system is outdated.

Colin Dempsey, who works with the Northern Frontier Visitors' Centre in Yellowknife, said the whole system is outdated and ridiculous. (CBC)

"It's ridiculous," he said. "The whole system should just be online. People should be able to go directly to ENR online, put in their credit card, get their licence and have it emailed to them."

He said that would make it cheaper and easier for everyone.

Yvonne Quick, who used to own a fishing lodge, said efficiency has been a problem for years.

"The fishing licence application is a real pain," she said.

"You know, you have to get ID from the people, and you have to make sure it goes through four carbon and really, they should simplify it."

Qui Pham, owner of the Reddi Mart in downtown Yellowknife, said the profit made from selling fishing licences isn't enough to pay for two hours' work by one of her employees. She said they even have to deliver the licences to the government office themselves.

However, she said she has been selling fishing licences for more than 10 years and will continue to sell them.

"I may not make any money, but maybe they will pick up a can of pop or a bag of chips or a bottle of water for their fishing trip," she said.

The government department which provides the fishing licences was not available to comment, but it says licences continue to be available at five locations in Yellowknife, as well as at many of the territory's fishing lodges.

The fifth location the government has listed for Yellowknife is a fishing lodge located on Great Bear Lake.