Ontario Fishing Regulations aim at putting checks and balances on fishing in Ontario. Fishing is a great form of quality time to be spent with family and friends,, and it serves as the perfect medium for reconnecting with Mother Nature. Fishing cannot go unchecked, or else it may harm natural resources. So, the government has introduced several regulations.
In such a scenario, fishing presents itself as a perfect form of liberation and relaxation. There is an abundance of fish in Ontario waters,, and it is the perfect site for fishing.
Ontario Fishing regulations are drafted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Based on natural resources, the fishing region is divided into 20 zones. Each zone has its threshold on the maximum number of fishes you can catch. Also, some water bodies within a zone have regulations unique to them. They are differently managed and are distinct from the zone they are placed in. On the other hand, fishing in fish sanctuaries is completely prohibited.
1. License Eligibility
Anyone between 18 to 65 years of age needs an outdoors card and a fishing license. These documents would legally allow the person to fish. But, under the following cases, a fishing license is not needed:
1. If you are below 18 or above 65, you do not require these documents. You would only need a government-issued ID card. It is necessary to ascertain your name and date of birth. This government certificate acts as your license.
2. If you are/were a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, you do not need any license or card. Instead, you can carry Canadian forces identification card, a Record of service card, or a Canadian Armed Forces Veterans’ Service Card. These documents will suffice the need for the license.
3. If you are a part of the Indigenous community, you don’t need to purchase a license. But, you are only allowed to fish in your traditional or treaty area or when you are taking food for food or rituals. If you want to fish outside your traditional or treaty area, you still need an outdoors card or fishing license.
4. There are certain days in the summer months that exempt everyone from having an outdoors card and a fishing license. There is no need for these documents and one can go fishing freely. These days are:
- Ontario Mother’s Day Weekend spans from May 8 to May 9.
- Ontario Father’s Day Weekend spans from June 19 to June 20.
- Ontario Family Fishing Week spans from July 3 to July 11.
- February Fishing Weekend falls between February 13 to February 15.
2. Ontario Fishing License
You require a fishing license in Ontario to legally fish in the lakes and rivers of Ontario. You can renew and apply for your fishing license from here.
The Administration of Ontario mandates the requirement of two distinct documents. These documents are an outdoors card and a fishing license. An outdoors card is generally valid for 1-3 calendar years. The Ontario Fishing Regulations state that you do not need an Outdoors card for one-day fishing. A fishing license is sufficient for a single day.
A fishing license is issued in two types. To name, a sport fishing license and a conservative fishing license. A sport fishing license authorizes you to catch more fish in Ontario than a conservative one does. A Conservative license has half the limit of a fishing license. The number of fish you can catch and possess are the same. But, the sportfishing license is more expensive than a conservative one.
3. Rules Regarding Baits
Ontario fishing regulations regarding baits aim at safeguarding the interests of rare and endangered species. They intend to support the marine life of Ontario. They are instrumental in preventing the dispersion of invasive species. We also must preserve and protect natural resources.
Ontario Fishing Regulations make it unlawful for you to bring any of the prohibited species as bait. These species are crayfish, salamanders, live fish, and leeches. They also make it illegal to discharge the contents of the bait bucket into the waters. Similarly, it is unlawful to release any live baitfish in natural resources. If you are found with any illegal baitfish, you will be held responsible for that.
If you intend to use baits, the forms of fish in Ontario allowed as baitfish are Sculpins, Sticklebacks, Darters, Suckers, Minnows, and Logperch. Be mindful of the rules that the Ontario Fishing Regulations have for you, If you are found with any illegal baitfish, you will be held responsible for that.
What If You Caught A Tagged Fish?
Natural Resources are a popular subject to study. Certain varieties of fish in Ontario are tagged to enable their study. It helps gather data about their age, origin, growth, and other related features. If you ever happen to catch tagged fish in Ontario, you are required to report.
Ontario Fishing regulations ask you to record and report the details of the creature. The details you need to know are species, tag no., color, and size of the fish. You may also be asked the date, place, and the current location of the fish.
4. Provincial Possession Limits
The government must see that natural resources are not depleted. Thus, the provincial government sets limits restricting the number of fish a person can possess. This limit includes the number of fish of a species in storage. Apart from this, all the 20 zones in Ontario have their own fishing limits. Thus, the fishing limit for each species of fish is different in different zones of Ontario. You should ensure that your catch of fish in Ontario is as per the limits set. The possession limits for some of the prominent fishes are:
- Crappie – 30
- Yellow perch – 100
- Lake Whitefish – 25
- Channel Catfish – 12
- Northern Pike – 6
Ontario Fishing Regulations are developed for a safe and long-term fishing environment for Anglers. The conservation of natural resources is an important part of fishing regulations. So, have no qualms, grab a fishing rod and get on the water.