Fishing in Ontario

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.

Fishing Regulations

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
  • For information on fishing in the City of Toronto, click here

From all of us at, happy fishing in Ontario.  And remember, a reel expert can tackle anything! 

Are you an outdoors sports buff? Sign up for 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)

À propos de Dobromir

Relocating to Canada was a difficult decision that turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. It’s important for me to find a work-life balance that satisfies my professional ambitions, my family life and my personal interests. Here in the cities of Canada, we work hard, but a trip to the ski slope with the kids, or a night of excellent dining and a theater production is never out of reach. At, we can help all your moving formalities (like planning your finances and finding the perfect home) run smoother, so you can begin to enjoy your new city even faster. // Se relocaliser au Canada a été une décision difficile mais qui s’est avérée être exactement ce que je recherchais. C’est important pour moi de trouver un équilibre entre travail/ vie personnelle qui puisse satisfaire mes ambitions professionnelles, ma vie familiale et mes intérêts personnels. Ici, dans les villes du Canada, nous travaillons dur mais un petit tour sur les pistes de ski avec les enfants ou une soirée avec un bon repas puis une pièce de théâtre ne sont jamais hors de portée. A, nous pouvons vous aider à faire toutes vos formalités de déménagement ( comme la planification de vos finances et trouver la maison idéale ) tout en douceur afin que vous puissiez commencer à profiter de votre nouvelle ville encore plus rapidement.