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Recreational fishing is popular with Canadians and tourists, and an estimated 3.2 million people participate in this leisure activity each year, generating approximately $7.5 billion for various local economies. Canadians also enjoy the social benefits of recreational fishing.

Recreational fisheries management promotes public awareness and community stewardship for the conservation and sustainable use of fisheries resources.

Fishing Rules

You must follow certain rules while fishing that determine:

  • when and where you can fish
  • the species, size and number of fish you can keep
  • what you can use for bait and tackle
  • what you can and cannot do in specific locations (Ontario is divided into 20 fisheries management zones)

As of November 26, 2018, the new fish and wildlife licensing service and regulations are in effect.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has introduced a new fishing and hunting online licensing service – .

There are new rules and regulations for Ontario anglers and hunters now. The pervious licensing service is no longer available.

Important extracts from the official sources:

A number of rules and regulations for fishing in Ontario have been changed.

You’ll get one version of the Outdoors Card

  • there won’t be three separate cards for fishing, hunting or apprentice hunters – but you’ll still need to carry your Outdoors Card
  • your Outdoors Cards issued before November 19 will be valid until their expiry date
  • we’ll track hunter accreditation in the new licensing website to determine what licence you can buy
  • if you’re hunting with a gun, you must carry your firearms licence – or proof that you completed the Canadian firearms safety course – and present it to a conservation officer upon request
  • small game and fishing licences can still be printed on the back of your Outdoors Card

You’ll get one licence summary that lists all your valid fishing and hunting products

There won’t be multiple formats of your licences. Instead you:

  • will get your licence summary as soon as you buy it, either online, at licence issuers or at ServiceOntario locations – you will not receive anything in the mail
  • will have the option to print your licence summary at home, have a licence issuer or ServiceOntario print it for you, or carry it in a digital format on your smartphone
  • must carry your licence summary when hunting or fishing, unless your licence is listed on the back of your Outdoors card (for example, small game or fishing)

As of January 1, 2019 – more hunting regulations come into effect

A number of rules and regulations for hunting will change in 2019.

There are different fishing licences for Canadian residents and non-residents of Canada

Canadian resident: a person whose primary residence is any part of Canada other than Ontario and has lived in Canada for a period of at least 6 consecutive months during the 12 months immediately before applying for a licence.

Non-Canadian resident: an individual who is neither an Ontario resident nor a Canadian resident.

Updated: November 26, 2018


  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Fish and Wildlife Service Branch
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