Ontario Fishing License – 7 Important things to know

Ontario fishing license

Ontario is popularly recognized as an angler’s paradise and rightly so. Known for housing the highest number of lodges and lakeside resorts, it would be an easy task to find one that suits all your needs! Ontario holds a great reputation and attracts fishing lovers from all across the globe.

Being a favorite destination of fishing enthusiasts, Ontario boasts a vast variety of fish running in its waters. To go fishing in Ontario, you’ll need an Ontario fishing license or a license summary for fishing in Ontario. This article provides all basic information related to the Ontario fishing license along with useful links.

Important terminologies:

A license summary is a document listing all valid fishing and hunting licenses. It can be a digital version, a printed version, or a printed box behind your Outdoors Card, indicating whether the validity is one year or three years. 

 An Ontario resident – an individual whose primary residence has been in Ontario for at least six successive months during the twelve months immediately before applying for a license. Member or civilian employee of the RCMP or Canadian Armed Forces, their immediate family which is stationed in Ontario and resided there for a minimum of a month, also come under this category. 

A Canadian resident – an individual who is not an Ontario resident in addition to a primary residence in any part of Canada. They should’ve been living in Canada for a minimum of six successive months during the twelve months right before applying for a license.

An Outdoors Card is a wallet-sized, plastic card. Its validity is up to 3 years.

There are different sets of rules and guidelines related to the Ontario fishing license for Canadian residents (which implies both Ontario residents and Canadian residents) and non-Canadian residents.


Ontario fishing license – For Canadian residents

  • You require an Outdoors card along with a fishing license tag. 
  • For a situation where you plan to go fishing only for a day, an Outdoors card is not required.

       In its stead, you will require a One-day sport fishing license.

  • If you fall in the age group of less than 18 years old or 65 and older, you are exempt from needing an Outdoors card or fishing license.

       Instead, you are required to carry with you identification proof issued by the government at all times.

  • If you belong to the age group of either 18 years and above or less than 65yeas, you will need an Outdoors Card and a fishing license for fishing. 
  • Apart from this, if you wish to go fishing only for a day you can get a one-day sport fishing license.

        An Outdoors card is not needed in this scenario.

        Else, you need to buy an Outdoors card prior to getting a fishing license or together with it.


Ontario fishing license – For non-Canadian residents

(someone who is neither an Ontario resident nor a Canadian resident will need a non-resident fishing license to fish in Ontario)

  • If you belong to the age category of 18 and above, you will need an Outdoors Card and a fishing license. 
  • If you belong to the age category of less than 18, you will require identity proof issued by the government.
  • Similarly, if you wish to go fishing for a single day, you will need a one-day sport fishing license.
  • It is also possible to get an eight-day fishing license online.
  • Non-Canadian residents over the age of 65 years are not exempt from carrying their Outdoors card and fishing license.


2. Ontario residents who are either veterans or active members of the Canadian Armed Forces are exempt from carrying Outdoors cards and fishing licenses in the honor of their service provided. However, they are required to carry one of the following documents instead:

  • Canadian Forces Identification Card (NDI 20)
  • Record of Service Card (NDI 75)
  • Canadian Armed Forces Veteran’s Service Card (NDI 75)

Keep in mind that you are required to carry both your Outdoors card and Ontario fishing license while going fishing.

3. First Nations or indigenous people fishing within their traditional territory, or disabled Canadian residents do not require a fishing license for fishing in Ontario.

4. An Outdoors card is valid for up to one or three calendar years and an Ontario fishing license is valid for either one calendar year or three calendar years.

After applying for an Outdoors card, it is usually delivered within a time frame of 20 days. In case of any issues related to it, you can call one of the following: 1-800-387-7011 or 1-800-667-1940.

5. The Ontario fishing license is available to all in two types:

  1.  Sport license – This license permits full catch and possession fishing privileges.
  2.  Conservation license – This license permits limited to catch and possession fishing privileges.
  • For convenience, it is possible to acquire your Outdoors card and Ontario fishing license online.
  • If you wish to get your license physically, make sure to inquire your lodge or outfitters if they sell fishing licenses or not.
  • You can also find various bait and tackle shops around the region that sell fishing licenses, make sure to ask around. 

6. In case you wish to update the details on your Outdoors card or renew your outdoors card, you can do one of the following:

  1. call the toll free number 1-800-387-7011
  2. renew your Outdoors card at a license issuer
  3. through any of the participating ServiceOntario locations

The Outdoors card fee and license fee vary depending on the zone you will be fishing in and the duration you will require. The fee differs for Ontario residents and Canadian residents not belonging to Ontario as well.

One must be prepared to present any of the documents from a Recreational fishing license, deemed license, Outdoors card, or a license summary to a conservation officer anytime if requested.

7.  It is crucial to note that any individual, who has been issued one of the following documents, may use it as an alternative to a Recreational fishing license:

i) A national identity card – issued by the Canadian National Institute for Blind (CNIB).

ii) Issued under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act – an accessible parking permit.

Read more: Top 12 Ontario snowmobile trails

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