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Tips from Officers

Quick Tips

When cleaning fish before transporting them, remember that they must be kept identifiable so that species, numbers, or size limits (where applicable) can readily be determined. More information on MNR's Fishing site.

Walleye fillets properly packaged. Patch of skin attached. Can be counted and identified.

It is an offence to even attempt to catch any fish species during the closed season for that

species - even if you are planning on releasing the fish immediately.

All persons who wish to fish in Ontario must have an angling licence, exceptions apply for

the disabled, those under 18 or over 65 years of age and aboriginal persons.

Know your "daily" fishing limit for the waters you intend to fish. You may only catch your own limit - there are no provisions for "party" fishing or excluding fish that you may have

consumed or plan to consume that day.

Be sure that you know the angling equipment restrictions for the body of water you are fishing e.g. permitted number of lines and comply with these rules. Equipment limits may vary i.e. angling in open water, through ice, from a boat or from shore.

Always check to ensure you have your fishing licence with you before you hit the waters!

There are over 800 sanctuaries in the province where fishing is prohibited, either on a

seasonal or year round basis. You must ensure that your angling does not take place in any

of these areas during the closed time.

Slot size limits ensure that the primary breeding size fish are returned to the waters to maximize reproductive capacity. If you keep illegal size fish, you are harming the very fishery you hope to enjoy in the future.

Anglers Will Be Checked for Illegal Bait


Every year Conservation Officers check anglers that are in possession of illegal bait. In Ontario, it is illegal to possess or use invasive species such as goby, ruffe and rusty crayfish as bait.


The increasing spread of invasive species presents a serious threat to all aspects of our sport fishery including the economy, local ecology and the spread of disease to wildlife which may impact on human health.


It is the angler's responsibility to know what species may be used as legal bait. A list of legal bait can be found on MNR's Fishing website.


This year Ontario's Conservation Officers will be actively checking angler's bait for illegal species that threaten our natural fisheries resource.


For more information on invasive species please refer to www.invadingspecies.com.


How to gain access to and use of private property:


  • Always ask for permission before entering private land
  • Plan ahead and get permission from the landowner well in advance of your trip
  • Don't assume you have permission this year just because you had permission last year
  • Ask the landowner what activities are permitted on their property
  • Do not use off-road vehicles, camp, damage vegetation, construct a permanent structure (tree stands, blinds or platforms) or store personal property on their land without permission
  • Ask the landowner where certain activities are allowed to avoid disturbing the landowner's neighbours, pets or other animals such as livestock
  • Ask about any other special concerns – if the landowner's family is likely to be in the woods or fields and where the property boundaries are located
  • Be sure to thank the landowner



Anglers Need to Respect Fish Sanctuaries


In Ontario, fishing is prohibited in fish sanctuaries. In order to ensure an enjoyable, trouble-free fishing experience, anglers should know and respect the fish sanctuary rules.


Different bodies of water, or parts of them, are declared fish sanctuaries at various times of the year. Others are year-round sanctuaries. These sanctuaries allow us to protect certain fish species at their most vulnerable time - when spawning or protecting their nests.


To find out where sanctuaries are located across the province, please review the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary. Fish sanctuaries are noted in the section titled 'Exceptions to the General Regulations' that follows each fishing division's general catch, possession and open season regulations.


The summary is available from the Ministry of Natural Resources district offices, licence issuers and on the Ministry's Publications website.


What To Do With Road Kill
If You Accidentally Hit Wildlife on the Road


Every person who acquires the carcass of a black bear, woodland caribou, white-tailed deer, American elk, moose, specially protected raptor or furbearing mammal SHALL register the acquisition with the MNR. For more information on how to register your acquisition, please visit: Keep a dead wild animal


Reference: Section 2 of O.Reg 666/98 under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.


Anglers are reminded to:


  • Carry a valid fishing licence
  • Know and obey open seasons, catch and possession limits and size limits for various species of fish
  • Immediately return to the water fish that is a prohibited size or any fish caught during a closed season for that species
  • Measure fish carefully when size limits are in effect;
  • Package fish that are being transported for easy identification and count;
  • Respect a fishing ban in fish sanctuaries;
  • Remember that resident anglers who catch their own baitfish or leeches cannot possess more than 120 of each at a time.

Before heading out, anglers should check the current Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary for complete information on rules, regulations and fishing sanctuaries in their area. The summary is available at your MNR District Office, Service Ontario Government Information Centres, licence issuers and on the Ministry's Publications website.


To ensure a safe and lawful hunt, hunters are reminded that:


  • All hunters must wear solid hunter orange clothing (minimum of 400 sq. inches) and a hunter orange cap, except during a “bows-only” season. Mesh type construction vests are not acceptable.
  • All persons in possession of a firearm for the purpose of hunting shall not handle or discharge it or cause it to be handled or discharged without due care for persons or property.
  • Any hunting injury caused by the discharge of a firearm resulting in medical treatment by a physician must be reported to a conservation officer.
  • If you are in an area inhabited by wildlife or on the way to or from an area inhabited by wildlife, you cannot have a loaded firearm in a vehicle, motorboat, or aircraft. It is illegal to discharge a firearm from any of these modes of transportation.
  • You cannot shoot from, down or across a public road.
  • You may not have in your possession, in an area usually inhabited by wildlife ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset, a firearm unless it is encased and unloaded.

Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, a firearm includes air guns, bows and crossbows, along with traditional rifles and shotguns. A firearm is considered loaded if there is a cartridge in the chamber or a magazine that is attached to the firearm. Bows, crossbows, and muzzleloaders have various definitions of ‘loaded’.


For more information on hunting, please consult the current Hunting Regulations Summary, available at Service Ontario Government Information Centres, licence issuers and ministry district offices, or on the Ministry's Publications website.

It's a good idea to advise someone of your travel plans and estimated date of return.