Ontario Fishing Regulations Tips And Guidelines

Due to potential regulation changes, do not rely on our opinions expressed on this website as they are for guideline purposes only and we are not responsible for anglers that do not know the actual laws. So by law anglers must follow the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources actual fishing regulations and know what the rules are for the waters they plan to fish.

Tips for reading and understanding the regulations: I’ve heard many times that our Ontario Fishing Regulations are confusing and there is just too much to read or to go through, and I agree. I’ve seen firsthand anglers breaking the law without even knowing it but that doesn’t have to be the way it is.

Here are some tips to our regulations but keep in mind things can change and you still need to be accountable for yourself so before you do anything look it up.

Ontario Fishing Licenses. First, you need an outdoors card, then you need a second card for your actual license renewal and both must accompany one another to be legal and both can have different expiry dates, and then you get charged a service fee if you do it online, confusing right? I agree.

This was thought up and designed by some “smart guy” in the government who probably decided this was the best way to make even more money and more work for themselves while confusing the crap out of the average angler and tourist coming to our province (my opinion).

So, as a tip, if you are a resident, I recommend you buy a 3-year license when your card expires, it will save you money in the long run and will make your chances of being caught with an invalid license less likely.

Yes, the 3-year license is the same price as 3 individual-year licenses if you look at the prices as they are right now, but considering that every year the licenses go up in price, if you buy your 3-year license upfront now you save the increase in price over the next 2 years and you will save a few bucks. Regardless, check the card and the yellow license to make sure it’s not expired before you fish.

Open Seasons: Here is another confusing topic. Instead of having the entire province open and closed at the same time for trout, steelhead, and salmon we have multiple zones that can open at different times, we have extended open and closed seasons for different rivers or even different sections of rivers, we have fishing sanctuaries, we have extended fall seasons and we have year-round open seasons.

Yep, our wise government is hard at work trying to confuse the crap out of the average angler again. So to simplify these are my tips.

  • Check the main open season listing for the area of the river you want to fish ( we are in zone 16 as of 2017).
  • Then check the sections of “extended fall fishing” and “year-round fishing opportunities” and look for your river to see if  it is listed there and if there are any special regulations
  • Then look through the “exceptions to the rules” section for the name of your river and confirm there are no exceptions that will get you in trouble like a fish sanctuary or a section that opens later or closes sooner.
  • And be sure to know how many fish you are legally allowed to have in your possession since some rivers have different limits, or we suggest you just release everything.
  • Also check your river in the exceptions to the rules for special regulation areas which could include, no organic bait, catch and release only or single barbless hooks, or late opening seasons..

Yep, all that work for one river but if you don’t know and don’t check you run the risk of a large fine or worse, Jail.

You can view the online fishing regulations through the Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources website.. Good luck

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