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What Are the 6 Essential Ontario Fishing Regulations?

slave lake

Ontario is an English-speaking place in Canada. Ontario has many natural and scenic locations. It houses Niagara Falls and Algonquin Park in addition to the beautiful Thousand Islands. 

Ontario is the best place to have fun fishing. It has both freshwater fishes in freshwater Lakes and saltwater fishes. But beware of the fishing regulations in Ontario before you sail away in a boat for fishing. Read on to understand the Ontario fishing regulations.

1. Fishes Found in Ontario

Canada is called the land of thousand of lakes and Ontario is home to many of these lakes. It also proudly hosts some of the largest freshwater lakes. Few beautiful lakes but not limited to Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Superior, Lake Nipigon and Lake Muskoka. Let us now discover the species of fish found in these lakes.

1.1 Freshwater Fishes

The most common species of freshwater fish found in Ontario include Walleye, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown trout and Steelhead.

Ontario Fishing Regulations
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1.2 Saltwater Fishes

Saltwater fish are found in the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast which is very close to Ontario. The popular fishing spots in Ontario which are known for their saltwater fish are the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Quinte. 

Ontario Fishing Regulations
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2. Ontario Fishing Regulations

These regulations are brought into force by the Ministry of natural resources. It is necessary to understand these regulations before you fly on a fishing trip.

2.1 Fishing License

A fishing license is required for fishing in Ontario if you are over 18 and desire to fish in the waters of Ontario. Fishing licenses can be bought either from an agent, online or in person at authorized dealers. 

So, what license do you need to fish a northern pike? Let us find out the types of licenses available.

2.1.1 Outdoors Card and Fishing License Bundle

The Outdoors Card and Fishing License Bundles are recreational fishing licences. It has a validity of only three years. This license allows the holder to undertake recreational fishing in Ontario’s waters. But fishes caught through this licence however cannot be used for commercial purposes. So do not get greedy if you only have an outdoor card.

2.1.2 Sport License

A Sport License allows tourists and local residents to fish as part of the sport. This license is applicable to those who are above 18 years of age.  Always check that the broker is an authorized person to avoid fraud. The license is a must when you are fishing in Ontario’s beautiful lakes.

ontario Fishing regulation
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2.1.3 Conservation License

If you wish to turn your catch into a delicious dish, you will require a Conservation License. It is an electronic license that permits catch for personal consumption. You will require both a Conservation License and a Sport Fishing License to keep fish.

2.1.4 Tourist License

If you are not a Canadian resident then it is the tourist license that you will need. It is a license for non-resident visitors to Ontario. It can be used for fishing for sport and recreation only. 

2.1.5 Family License

A family fishing day will require you to get a Family License which will permit the entire family to fish. It is a must for both residents and visitors. The License allows for sport and recreational fishing only. It however cannot allow the person to consume the catch.

2.2 Restrictions 

A license will let you fish Ontario but you may end up behind bars if you do not follow these rules. There are various limits in fishing to conserve fish populations and thereby preserve natural resources. 

2.2.1 Size Limits

It refers to limits on possession of the size of catch that can be caught and kept by anglers. Some species of fish may have a minimum size limit wherein a smaller catch will be required to be released back into the lake unharmed whereas maximum limits prohibit the retention of catches above a certain size.

Ontario Fishing regulations
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2.2.2 Bag Limits or Possession Limits

It refers to the limits on possession in the number of catches in a single day by an angler. It may be species-specific wherein an angler is permitted to keep only a limited number of fish of a specific species in a single day, such as five walleye or two northern pikes or lake trout. 

2.2.3 Seasonal Closures

It is aimed to protect fish during spawning and breeding.  This season caters to the breeding and repopulation of the species of fish. These restrictions are mostly in June – July.

2.2.4 Species Restrictions

It refers to the prohibition of catching certain species of fish in order to conserve their populations. These prohibitions are mostly for walleye and northern pike.

2.2.5 Sale Regulations

It refers to the prohibition of the sale of fish that have been caught by anglers who do not possess conservation licenses but by sport or recreational fishing. The sale of sport-caught fish is prohibited. These are not species-specific.

2.2.6 Bait Regulations

It refers to restrictions on the use of certain types of bait that can be used for fishing. Some common bait regulations are restrictions on the use of certain dead bait to prevent the spread of diseases, restrictions on bringing live baitfish to prevent the spread of invasive species and the prohibition on the use of artificial lures. It also speaks about restrictions on the disposal of used bait to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens.

Ontario Fishing Regulations
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3. Summary

  • Licensing: A fishing license is required to fish in Ontario. It can either be a sport license or conservation license based on the activity you want and a tourist license or family license or Outdoors Card depending on whether it’s a family fishing trip or a backpacking trip.
  • Size Limits:  Defines the size of the catch that you may take with you. It is specific to species and therefore has a thorough knowledge of types of fishes to prevent jail time.
  • Possession limits: Enjoy fishing and if you are lucky you may catch a school of fish but know the amount that is permitted to possess.
  • Sale regulations: There are limitations on the sale of the catch and knowing the regulation. License is a must if you want to sell your catch
  • Bait regulations: You may bait a fish with illegal bait but let it not be a bait to get you into jail. Know what kind of bait is permitted before you go fishing.

Final Thoughts

Follow these Ontario fishing regulations and enjoy your fishing trip to Canada in the serenity that Ontario has to offer. For further information, read about the fishing regulations on the website of the Ministry of natural resources and Forestry.

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