Schools of Salmon in Lake Ontario, prize walleye, pike and perch swimming around Lake in the Woods, trout and whitefish just underneath the ice in Lake Simcoe. There’s no shortage of tranquil and lucrative locations for fishing in Ontario. Fishing enthusiast relocating to the province will soon find that weekend getaways, or an early morning trip to the lake before work can easily become one of the most enjoyable parts of their Ontario experience.
Ontario has some of the best fishing in the world, but before you load your line and tackle bad into the car, you should know that Ontario takes great pride in its natural resources, and makes an effort to protect the environment and all of its inhabitants. Ontario offers different fishing licenses to fit the needs of the serious sport angler to the casual enthusiast. The province also upholds certain rules and regulations. Before you venture out to find the perfect catch, it’s important to understand this information.
Licenses for fishing in Ontario:
The first step for anyone who loves fishing and is planning to do it regularly is obtaining an Outdoors Card. The Outdoors Card is a plastic, wallet-sized card valid for three years. They are available at any license issuer in Canada, through the automated telephone licensing line, 1-800-288-1155, at a ServiceOntario Centre or by going online. Resident Temporary Outdoors Cards are also available, valid until the end of the year in which you purchase it. Additionally, one-day fishing licenses are available, and for these you don’t need to be an Outdoors Card holder. They cost $9.68 for Ontario residents.
Next, you’ll need to acquire a fishing license, available where Outdoors Cards are available (except online). The two most common types for anglers in Ontario are:
- Sport Fishing License Tag: this grants full catch and possession privileges. It upholds the license holder to specific catch and possession limits. A three-year sport fishing license tag costs $88.38 for Ontario residents.
- Conservation Fishing License Tag: this is perfect for the angler who prefers to catch-and-release most of the fish he/she hooks. Under this license tag, muskellunge, Atlantic salmon and aurora trout must be immediately released, and there are reduced catch and possession limits. A three-year Conservation Fishing License Tag costs $50.24 for Ontario residents.
For a full guide to regulations for fishing in Ontario, visit the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary for 2015. But here’s a few important rules to understand.
- There are 20 fisheries management zones across Canada, and each has its own regulations for open season, catch limits and size limits.
- Open seasons and closing dates are dependent upon the species of fish in each zone. It is illegal to fish when a season is closed, even if you intend to release the fish.
- Size Limits protect fish until they reach spawning age, protect prime spawning size fish, and improve the size of fish in a population. They are measured by the total length of the fish, from the tip of the mouth to the tip of the tail. Any fish that you catch, which is under the restricted size limit, must be released.
- Anglers are permitted to use only one line, unless otherwise stated, and two lines from a boat.
- Lead sinkers and jigs are illegal in all Canadian National Parks and National Wildlife Areas.
- It’s illegal to transport life fish other than bait or stock any fish into Ontario water without a special permit.
- You can have artificial lights attached to your lure, but they aren’t allowed in the boat, or anywhere else in the water.
- Using explosives, spear guns, snaggers, and spring gaffs is prohibited.
- It’s illegal to empty your bait bucket into the lake.
Finally, I’ll leave you with some fun facts about fishing in Ontario:
- Ontario has 400,000 lakes, rivers and streams, accounting for 15 percent of the word’s freshwater!
- There are 145 species of fish in Ontario.
- Each year, 1.2 million license anglers in the province get out on the waters to enjoy the sport.
- ALL of the fishing and license fees go to the Fish and Wildlife Special Purposes Account, which is used to fund fish and wildlife management in Ontario.
- For more information about where to fish, visit Ontarioparks.com.
- For information on fishing in the City of Toronto, click here.
From all of us at Settle-in.com, happy fishing in Ontario. And remember, a reel expert can tackle anything!
Are you an outdoors sports buff? Sign up for Settle-in.com and read the “Leisure and Culture” chapter of ‘The Guide” to learn about all of the province’s outdoor activities!
(Photo: Oakley Originals via Flickr)