Welcome to the Ask the CO FAQ.

Please note that the comments posted here are an opinion based on the Conservation Officer's interpretation of the question posed. Under varying circumstances outcomes may be different, and the contents of this page should not be seen as definitive.


FISH


Question 200:

I have an island cottage on the Georgian Bay. It is located in Bayfield Inlet, north of Point of Baril. I believe that this is zone 16?

I just bought a decent size boat and will start to try to use downriggers in the Georgian Bay. I have no experience with Salmon fishing (or trying) as I have always fished for walleye and pike in the inlet.

Could you please clarify the season for trying to catch salmon with downriggers in the Georgian Bay? I know the walleye season doesn't open until May 1st, but it appears to me that I could fish for salmon in April?

I would appreciate clarification.

Asked March 22, 2005

Answer from the MNR

Actually the pacific salmon season closes at the same time as trout season (September 30).

The waters of Bayfield Inlet and Georgian Bay where the cottage is located are included in division 16 for the purposes of seasons, etc. for fishing.

With regards to salmon (Chinook, Coho and Pink) the season is open all year and the limit for a full seasonal licence is 5 and for a conservation licence is 2.

The open season for Atlantic salmon in that area is Jan 1 – Sept 30. A person with a full seasonal licence may catch and keep 1(one) fish and with a conservation licence a person may not keep any. Atlantic salmon are rare or non-existent in this area.

Downriggers may be used at any time during the open season for the species you are after.

Fish for which the season is not open such as walleye may not be targeted during the closed season and must be immediately released if caught accidentally.


Question 199:

Ganaraska: downstream from the CNR bridge, trout are in season all year. Upstream from the CNR bridge, they are in season until Sept 30 but the river is still fishable for salmon (any trout that get caught would have to be released). I have heard over the past 3 years the MNR has posted and closed the river to all fishing at midnight on Sept 30. The regulations mention nothing of this, could you please enlighten me?

Asked January 4, 2005

Answer from the MNR

Actually the pacific salmon season closes at the same time as trout season (September 30).

There is an all year open season for rainbow trout, brown trout and pacific salmon downstream from the southerly limit of the CNR right of way. There is also an extended fall season for rainbows, browns, and pacific salmon between the south edge of the CPR bridge and the southerly limit of the CNR right of way.

There are sanctuaries that are upstream from the CPR bridge and these are the only areas that would be posted.

Pacific salmon season is closed above the CPR bridge (which is slightly above Hwy. 2) from September 30 until the last Saturday in April in the following year. You can't fish salmon all year above Hwy. 2.


Question 198:

I used to be fishing Niagara River 2 years ago from November till February just 0,5- 1 km downstream from Butterfly museum. Rainbow and starting from January lake trout mainly.

But now I'm confused about divisions Niagara belong to.

Would you like to explain to me whether path of Niagara I mentioned above belong to division 2 or 3 or 8?

My questions are:

  1. Is it illegal to fish rainbow trout right now (December 2004) or not?
  2. Should I keep a fish thrown to me by somebody from the boat? Is this fish included to MY possession/catch limits automatically?
  3. What should I do if someone from the boat is throwing already dead lake trout to me?
(Note: I'd never asked about that but it happened that some guys with US flag did it...)

Asked January 4, 2005

Answer from the MNR

The Upper Niagara, (Lake Erie to the Falls) is Division 2, the Lower Niagara (Falls to Lake Ontario) is Division 8. In both Divisions Rainbow Trout is open all year. The Lake trout season in both divisions is Dec. 1 to Sept 30.

If some one gives you a fish, it would be considered a part of your possession limit.


Question 197:

I often see fishermen catching and releasing fall run Rainbow Trout in a river that has an extended season. If the limit is two trout, can these fishermen catch and release as many fish as they want? And for me (who is there to put food on the table once or twice a season) can I continue to catch and release trout after I have killed my two fish limit?

Asked November 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Once you have caught your limit of a species you may continue to attempt to catch more – all fish caught must re immediately released. You cannot ‘cull’ or trade any fish which you have already kept – either on your stringer or live well. In some parts of Ontario it is an offence to possess live fish or stringers, simply to stop this high grading from occurring.

See also fish questions 44, 46 & 126.


Question 196:

If a person was fishing for walleye and caught a muskie on it, that would be a fish caught on a game fish and would have to be released. There is an article in a local papper of a person getting a Muskie this way and he kept the fish and bragged that he caught the fish on a 21" walleye. Can this person be charged?

Asked November 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The intent of the regulation is for anglers not to purposely bait their tackle with any bait other than baitfish. Yes, this person could be charged.


Question 195:

How would I know if a fish is safe to eat if it's not mentioned in the Guide?

(I've been at scanlon creek north of bradford, and I've heard people fish in the Black River near Aurora, both of which aren't mentioned in the Guide).

Asked November 20, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The Ministry of the Environment test fish for contaminants and put out the guide. They do not test every species in every lake and that is likely what happened in the Black River. You can contact the Ministry of the Environment at http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/.


Question 194:

Since I live in the Ottawa region and that I fish both in Ontario and Quebec, I was wondering if the catch and possession limits in Ontario apply to fishes caught in Quebec with a valid Quebec fishing license. For example... suppose I caught my limit of walleye in Ontario, can I simply move to the Quebec side, fish my limit over there and bring them back home? If this is legal, can I do it in a single day? Can I carry my Ontario and Quebec catches together in my car? And if this is legal, how would a CO know where I got my fish?

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

I would strongly suggest that when you are finished fishing Ontario waters that you return your fish to your residence before venturing out to fish in Quebec. If a Conservation Officer (Quebec or Ontario) encountered you with the two limits, he would question you to determine where the fish originated. You would be required to provide proof that the two limits did, in fact, come from two provinces and were not all from one


Question 193:

What's behind it that a new limit is set for Catfish in the Ottawa River? There are too many of them.

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (English) or 1-800-667-1840 (French). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.

You may also want to send your question to the Ask the Biologist site.


Question 192:

I live in Ottawa but work across the Ottawa River in Gatineau Quebec. We want to have a small company fishing derby. Our plan is to launch from a location on the Ontario side and fish in the Ottawa River.

My understanding is that the Ottawa River (region 12) is neutral waters between Ontario and Quebec, and any Quebec angler who holds a valid Quebec fishing license should not need an Ontario permit to fish. I have been told, however, by the launch owner in Ontario that all Quebec residents will need to purchase an Ontario fishing permit for that day.

Could you please confirm if the guest from Quebec truly need an Ontario fishing permit for the day even if they own a Quebec license. Is it the launch location which determines whether you are fishing in Ontario of Quebec?

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

You may fish throughout the Ottawa River (Division 12) and Lake Temiskaming (Division 18) and Lake St. Francis (Division 12A) with either an Ontario Resident or a Quebec Resident fishing licence. Fishing in all other Divisions (other than 12A - Lake St Francis) would require a Quebec resident to purchase an Ontario licence.

Notwithstanding the reciprocity of the licence, all of the other rules of the province in which you are fishing apply. I.e., season, limits, gear restriction, etc. depend upon which province you are actually angling in, not the province for which you have a licence. In other words if you are angling in Quebec waters, Quebec rules apply – even if you only have an Ontario licence. Conversely, if an angler from Quebec is angling in Ontario waters, the Ontario seasons, limits etc. all apply.

The location from which an angler launches their boat has no bearing upon what waters the angler is angling in. The border between Quebec waters and Ontario waters is defined by law and is well marked on any official map (such as a topographical map).


Question 191:

Hello, Could you please explain why the Bass season in most of Ontario is closed from mid-October thru mid-April (understand May and June)? But why can't angler fish for prespawning fish? Also could not having a "no harvest" approach work during this period?

On another note, can "stunting" of fish occur from fish not being properly harvested (over population)? Wouldn't slot limits have a more positive affect on producing quality fish rather than the broad "no targeting" enforcement approach?

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, but you are asking the wrong person. The "Ask the Conservation Officer" site can deal only with questions about natural resources law, interpretation of legislation, and the MNR enforcement program. I can suggest that you may want to forward your question to the MNR's general information centre, known as the Natural Resources Information Centre. They can be reached at 1-800-667-1940 (English) or 1-800-667-1840 (French). You may also e-mail this site at mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca.

You may also want to send your question to the Ask the Biologist site.


Question 190:

Can an angler in Ontario use a black light to help illuminate his line at night?

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

What you are describing would be OK. The intention of that law is to prevent people from using spotlights, flashlights and even lanterns over the edge of their boat in an attempt to attract fish.


Question 189:

I have a conservation fishing licence that expires in 2005. Is it possible to upgrade to the full sport fishing licence?

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Yes it is possible for a fee.


Question 188:

The description in the fishing regs of the fish sanctuary on the Mississippi River at Innisville, on Highway #7, is vague and out of date, i.e. a new bridge has been built which may/may not be included in the description.

Please tell me the boundaries of this sanctuary. I live on the edge of this sanctuary and remember that there were, at one time, signs deliniating the boarders of the "No Fishing" zone. I attempt to inform people wanting to fish this area of the restrictions but don't have a definitive, easily understood set of guidelines to follow.

Please help by sending me an accurate, up-to-dade description of this Fish Sanctuary.

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

There is a fish sanctuary meaning you cannot fish at any time on the Mississippi River in Drummond Township, from 79.2m (260’) east to 248.0m (790’) west of Main Street.

There is a fish sanctuary which means fishing is closed from March 1 to the 1st Monday in June on the Mississippi River in Drummond Township, from 79.2m east of Main Street to Mississippi Lake.

If you have any further questions regarding this area feel free to contact the MNR district office in Kemptville.


Question 187:

I was at the Eglinton Avenue bridge (East of Mississauga Rd) and noticed a "No Fishing" sign posted by the river (with no mention of any exceptions). According to the current regulations, that particular section of river is open from April 26 to August 14 (page 20, 4th entry from the bottom). I don't want to get in trouble if I fish there so can you provide clarification as to which is law (the posted sign or the published regulations).

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

You can’t go wrong by following the regulations. However, per the question above, there are two parts to the equation. Part one is: is it open season for fishing for the species that you are targeting? Part two is: do you have access, pursuant to the Tresspass to Property Act to go onto property to fish.


Question 186:

Hi, if an angler has incidental catches of any species (out of season) & has a posed picture taken with the fish out of the water prior to being released, is it unethical, against the regulations etc, or perfectly fine, providing care was given to the fish?

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

This is very technically a violation because the fish is not immediately released to the water. Of course, the actions of the angler in their handling of the fish will determine whether a charge is warranted and would be laid by a Conservation Officer. Think of it this way. The speed limit on the 401 is 100km/hr. Very few drivers will be charged with driving 101km/hr, but given the right set of circumstances, there may be perfectly legitimate reasons why an officer might write a ticket for doing 101km/hr in a 100km/hr zone. The only way to be 100% sure that you will not be charged is to immediately return any incidentally caught fish to the water and to release it in a manner that causes the least harm to the fish.


Question 185:

I'm fairly new to fly fishing, and I know that the Credit River is one of Canada's best for Trout and Salmon. I fish it (responsibally) quite often through the open season, ALWAYS using the "Catch And Release" technique. Last summer (2002) I found an area that was posted with a sign "No Hunting No Fishing", just north of the Hwy# 24 bridge, and west of Hurontario St. (Hwy# 10) which lead me to believe that it is private property.

I have heard that a CO would, if they decided to do so, look into this for me... i.e. the property owner, and contact them to find out if it would be fine for me to fish this area. Maybe he\she would conditionally agree, but with certain rules and regulations of their own to be enforced. It looks like a beautiful piece of the Credit River, and deserves to be looked after.

So if it wouldn't be to much of a problem, I would greatly appreciate it if a CO could look into this for me please.

Asked August 25, 2003

Answer from the MNR

South of Highway 24 is open to the public. If you saw these signs this location is likely private property. It would be the angler’s responsibility to approach the landowner and seek permission. CO’s do not seek permission for the public.


Question 184:

On page 31 of the 2003 fish reg. sum. it states- Fishing prohibited for all fish species (except bait-fish) from Nov. 16- Apr.25 (Fri. before last Sat.) This is an exception to the regulations for division 6 (Kawarthas).

This could be interpreted to mean that ice fishing for bait-fish (Cisco) is allowed. Balsam lake is listed as having cisco. Could you elaborate about this exception, and it's proper Interpretation

Asked April 28, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Angling for cisco between Nov. 16 and the last Sat in April is illegal. This might take a little explaining and get a little technical but here goes.

Sections 25 and 26 of the Ontario Fisheries Regulations both deal with "close times". Section 25 deals with angling close times, and references Part 1 of Schedule 3. When you go through this schedule, all of the closures prohibit winter angling in the Kawartha Lakes (Lake Scugog is the only exception). Although cisco is not specifically mentioned in the headings, it falls under the last one on the list, "all other species". This closure is for the period mentioned. Section 26 deals with sportfishing by means other than angling close times. Harvesting of baitfish by traps and nets fall under this section. Schedule XI, Part 1, items 1 & 2 list the permissible means of harvesting bait fish in Division 6. This is by a bait fish trap or a bait fish dipnet. This is the only allowable method of fishing in the Kawarthas in the winter.


Question 183:

On page 72 of 2003 fish reg. sum. it states that non-residents camping on crown land must observe Conservation licence limits. Does this apply across Ontario, Provincial Parks, and staying in a ice hut hotel(there are big ice huts that one can rent and occupy for days at a time)?

Asked April 28, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The print on page 72 refers only to northwestern Ontario areas on page 73. If you are fishing in this area please refer to page 78 which describes limits for those lakes and border waters. So if a non-resident is camped on Crown Land in these areas special limits do apply. Northwestern Ontario encompasses units 20-24, 30, 31-34. This would not apply if you were in northwestern Ontario camping in a Provincial Park or renting accomodation of any sort from an outfitter. In all other areas this regulation does not apply.


Question 182:

I know there are two kinds of licences, sport and conservation. My question is: can one "target" muskie and/or sturgeon with a conservation licence?

Asked April 28, 2003

Answer from the MNR

You are correct. There are two types of licences, commonly referred to as “sport” and “conservation” licences. Generally, all of the sport fishing regulations apply equally to both licences except the catch and retain or possession limits. (see Q’s 44,46, & 126).

There is no limit, under either licence on the number of fish that an angler may catch and immediately release in one day provided that the season is open for that species. For example, many avid bass anglers will catch and release dozens of fish in one day and never retain or take a fish into their possession. Fish caught and immediately released are not considered part of one’s catch limit.

Therefore, as long as you immediately return any muskellunge, Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, or any other species for which you have reached a limit (even if the limit is zero) then you have not gone over your retain or possession limits. Note that the section which speaks to this situation in the regulation also indicates that you will return the fish to the water in the manner which causes the least amount of harm and that the fish must be returned even if it is dead or is very likely to die. Specifically, S. 13 of the Ontario Fishery regulations reads:

“…, every person who catches a fish of a species

  1. at a time or place at which fishing for that species is prohibited,
  2. by a method or with fishing gear the use of which is prohibited in respect of that species, or
  3. the possession or retention of which is prohibited,

shall return the fish forthwith to the waters in which it was caught and, where the fish is alive, release it in a manner that causes the least harm to that fish.”

You should also note that this is not the same as ‘closed season fishing’. You cannot catch and release during the closed season as it is an offence to even “attempt” to catch a fish during the closed season for that species. Charges are and have been successfully laid for a person who targets a species during the closed season, even if they are catch and release fishing or have not even caught a fish!


Question 181:

The regulations state-NOTE: Non-resident anglers cannot take bait-fish for peronal use by any means. Does this apply to angling for lake herring (cisco)? Cisco are targeted by ice fishers to be used for human consumption.

Asked April 28, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Cisco are also known as lake herring which are listed as a baitfish in Ontario. Yes this does apply for angling for lake herring. A non resident could not angle for cisco for personal consumption.


Question 180:

The following question was posted on the Ontario Fishing Net board during a conversation about the number of holes allowed while ice fishing: "If you can use two lines per angler....why can't you just put one hook on each end of a line and fish 4 holes? You are still under the limit for the number of hooks you can use on a line."

This got me thinking: Can I do as the above poster said, and drop each end of the line down a separate hole, and still have it considered to be a single line?

If I attached the middle of a length of fishing line to a reel and left the two ends dangling from the rod, would it still be considered a single line?

Can I attached three dropper lines to the main line and place each dropper line down a separate hole and sill be considered to be fishing a single line? If so, would the method that I used to attach the dropper lines to the main line make any difference?

If the dropper lines are considered separate lines, would I be able to get around this by running a single line down one hole and back up the same hole (with a lure attached to the bottom of the loop) and then on to another hole?

Asked April 28, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The intent of this forum is not to validate possible loopholes in the Ontario Fisheries Regulations. You are allowed 2 holes per licenced angler in Ontario with up to four hooks per line.


Question 179:

On a brief hike through the Credit Valley, I came across a couple of youths that were toting fishing gear on Mullet Creek just below where it intersects with Burnhamthorpe Rd. in Mississauga. I also noticed that they were intending to target the visible migratory Rainbow Trout, so I plainly asked them if Mullet Creek was indeed a year-round sanctuary or not. They told me it was OK because Mullet was a tributary to the Credit, and the Credit was open year-round from Dundas to 403, which I am familiar with.

I tried to locate any mention of Mullet Creek in the Recreational Fishing Regs for 2003 in the online PDF format, and could not see any mention of this Credit River tributary whatsoever, whether in the Extended Season section or the section outlining Sanctuaries.

Could you please clear this up for me as I would like to know whether these local kids are indeed fishing illegally or not.

Asked April 23, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The rainbow season where Mullet Creek meets Burnhamthorpe Road in Mississauga is only open April 26-September 30. The Credit River from Dundas to the south side of the 403 is open year round. The anglers you described should not be fishing there until the opener. We would like to get reports of such activity by giving the best description possible. Of course a licence plate number is the best information to pass along. You can either report it to the MNR in Aurora or call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Question 178:

I've checked the Regs but cannot locate Etobicoke Creek in the appropriate division (Map A). It is not even listed as a body of water in Map A.

Etobicoke Creek is found in Long Branch just west of Brown's Line. The park at Lake Ontario where the river runs through is named Mary Curtis.

Am I to assume if it is not listed in the Regs, any stretch of the creek is not open to fishing (for rainbow trout) until the opener (26th of April) or is it possible Etobicoke Creek is an alias for another name?

I've witnessed a few fishermen fishing just below the "falls" area of Etobicoke Creek with rainbows being taken. Would like to fish it but unclear if it's open.

Asked April 23, 2003

Answer from the MNR

The rainbow season in Etobicoke Creek is only open from April 26-September 30. It is in Division 4. The anglers you described should not have been fishing there until the opener. We would like to get reports of such activity by giving the best description possible. Of course a licence plate number is the best information to pass along. You can either report it to the MNR in Aurora or call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Question 177:

Is it legal to use cast nets to collect baitfish? If so, is there a size restriction? Are alewives considered baitfish and, if so, is there anywhere I can not use them (dead) for bait.

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

Cast nets aren't mentioned by name in the Ontario Fisheries Regulations. They are seines that are manipulated in a slightly different way (i.e. once thrown, they become a seine more or less). At present, they are legal for residents (one only) to collect baitfish as long as they fit the size restriction of no larger than 10m x 2m.

There are some areas where seines are illegal. Please check the 2003 Summary of Recreational Fishing for details on location. It is available online at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/fishing/gen.html

Alwife is not listed as baitfish, so it can only be used (as with yellow perch) in the Great Lakes, the St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara, St. Lawrence and St. Mary's rivers, Lake George, Lake St. Francis and Munuscong Lake.


Question 176:

I was out ice fishing on Simcoe this past Sunday.A conservation officer came by my sled and took note of the amount of fishing rods that I had in my possession (5).He seemed quite upset asking why I had so many.He told me to be careful and try not to bring so many because I may thing of using more than 2 at a time.WHY??? I explained to him that two were set up for minnow lines if I was going that route. One is a rigid tip, one was for deeper water and one was for lighter fishing. Why would it matter anyways. What difference would it make if I had 3 rods or 10 rods with me?

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

You are only allowed to actively angle with two rods on Lake Simcoe while ice fishing. This forum is not to comment on the comments made by Conservation Officers.


Question 175:

Where, on Adolphustown Reach, does the Bay of Quinte (one rod per angler) end and Lake Ontario (two rods per angler) begin??

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

If you are west of the Glenora Ferry, you can only use one line. If you are east of the Glenora Ferry you could use two lines. If you drew a straight line from one dock to the other, it should be quite clear.


Question 174:

I would like to know where the international boundary at the mouth of the river lies. I've been told that a line from the center of the mouth to the GREEN CAN (in L. Ontario) demarks this border. Others have said that the can is approx 200 yds inside the USA border. Quite important since I plan to fish the Niagara Bar extensively this season. I guess, to be on the safe side, a US fishing license would be the ticket.

Asked February 9, 2003

Answer from the MNR

My recommendation would be to use a navigational chart and to take the best bearing possible. The US coast Guard and the navigation light on the Canadian side are all good markers. The best however is your GPS and sea map. The can you describe is on the US side. If you are still unsure I would suggest you have both Canadian and US angling licences.


Question 173:

I was curious at the regulations for the end of a Lake, is the end of a lake at the first bridge? This makes it easier for anglers looking to fish a lake without a boat.

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Please refer to Questions 112 and 158 below.


Question 172:

There was a little discussion on the CRAA board with regard to possession limits. Let say an angler with a Seasonal License bought 4 walleye from the store. He then went fishing a day later and caught 3 fish. Now by the Possession Limits, the max number of fish he can legally keep is 2. But how can CO's tell which fish is store bought and which is a recreational catch? Receipts are usually tossed out very quickly. And if a family buys fish and they already has a limit of fish at home (let say walleye), are they not allow to fish for walleye at all because their possession limit is filled?

Asked November 28, 2002

Answer from the MNR

You can purchase all the fish you want as long as it was caught and sold legally. If you were concerned I would keep the receipts from the store. CO's generally can't tell which fish are angler caught or store bought. I would question an angler returning from fishing transporting store bought fish without a receipt.


Question 171:

I am located in Sudbury, I keep on seeing this individual using 2 downrigger at the same time. Is this legal?

Asked July 23, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Generally in Ontario, anglers are only allowed one line while fishing in open water. There are come exceptions though in some parts of the Great Lakes. For example anglers are allowed two lines while fishing from a boat in the main basin of lake Huron. This does not include Georgian Bay or the North Channel. This was put in place earlier this year and the MNR is in the process of communicating this to the public.

I'm not sure what part of Sudbury you are referring to but likely he's angling with one extra line if alone. We would like to hear about it with specifics. We like to get descriptions of boats, registration numbers and exact locations and times of this activity. You can either report it to a Conservation Officer in Sudbury or Manitoulin Island or call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


Question 170:

On a navigable river, i.e. Nottawasaga or such like, is it permmisable to walk on the river bank up to the high water mark, even though it is posted as No Trespassing?

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

This is a little tricky. If the river is navigable and the bed of the river or stream is Crown land, then you are not tresspassing if you are in the water. But there are some landowners that legally own the river bottom. If the river is non-navigable then the river bottom is private land and you would be tresspassing if there was appropriate signage as set out in the Tresspass to Property Act posted along the river.

I would stongly suggest you contact the landowner in question in order to avoid any problems.


Question 169:

The question was posed me about the legality of using a lantern for fishing for bullhead after sunset. After reading page 10 of the 2002 fishing regulations; it is illegal to use artificial lights to attract fish.... It is my understanding of this regulation, that you are not using the light to attract fish, just to sit on shore or in boat to manage your fishing rod. Can you please verify this for me and also give me the MNR's definition of artificial light

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

What you are describing would be OK. The intention of that law is to prevent people from using spotlights, flashlights and even lanterns over the edge of their boat in an attempt to attract fish. If you are simply using light to manage your rod that is fine.


Question 168:

I have a question about the sturgeon river regarding the open season for rainbow trout I have read the regulations and cannot decipher if the river is open from the lamprey barrier down to Georgian Bay at this time of year, if it is not, is this a new regulation this year?

Asked May 13, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Yes, the river is open to rainbow and browns from the lamprey barrier down to Georgian Bay at this time of the year. Of course you cannot fish within 25m of the barrier. There is an extended fall season for rainbow and browns. The normal open season is usually from the last Saturday in April until September 30. This has been extended to December 31 in the Sturgeon River and tributaries in Tay and Oro-Medonte Townships of Simcoe County including the mouth of the Sturgeon River at Georgian Bay.


Question 167:

Can you take roe from a dead fish in a sanctuary? I have seen loads of dead carcasses below the Streetsvile dam and they are loaded with eggs; they are dead: missing eyeballs and all. To me it would seem better to take from a dead one that did not make it as to go and kill a live one that might have an opportunity to actually spawn. If it is illegal please tell me what the offence would be.

Asked March 4, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Refer to question 29 under FAQ under 'fish'.


Question 166:

The other day my dad and I went to get him a fishing licence. After he got his they asked me how old I was. I told them that I was 16, and they said I need a licence, I thought I didn't need one till I was 18. While reading a post on a fishing site several people confirmed what I thought. So my question is at 16 do i need a licence, and if i don't what can I do with the one I got? Can it be transfered, or did i waste my money.

Asked March 4, 2002

Answer from the MNR

Residents of Canada who are under 18 and over 65, and are in possession of their birth certificate do not require a resident sportfishing licence. This is explained on page 1 of the 2002 Recreational Fisheries Regulations Summary. I just called that Canadian Tire and they will not be able to give you a refund. However you can visit the Government Information Centre at 900 Bay Street downtown. They will have a form you can fill out and mail for you.


Question 165:

I would like to sell some native Sunfish and Perches in an aquarium shop. Is this legal?

Asked March 4, 2002

Answer from the MNR

A person running a pet shop would need a Licence to Sell Fish in order to sell perch and sunfish. What you also need to consider is the legal source of the fish that would be sold. Angler caught fish generally cannot be bought or sold. The way the regulations currently exist it would be a bit more complicated but not impossible for the source of those fish to be a licenced commercial fisher and the pet shop's licence to sell the fish to the public would be a detailed receipt (described in the Fish Licensing Regulations). The source could also be cultured perch/sunfish via an aquaculture licence that covers those species, sold to the pet shop and accompanied by that same detailed receipt that becomes the licence to sell those fish for the pet shop owners. Lastly the source could be out of province but again documentation needs to be provided to generate the deemed licence to sell fish.

The key regardless of source is the pet shop has to have a Licence to Sell Fish that exist in Ontario waters (with the exception of koi and goldfish). Generally, we discourage the use of native stock in the pet trade because of concerns that these fish may eventually be illegally transplanted into our lakes and rivers.

The regulations concerning the buying and selling of fish and wildlife are more complex than can be easily covered off in this forum. You should talk to your local MNR office to get a thorough understanding of this topic.


Question 164:

This has already been answered, but I have been told a CO has given a different response, so I'm just checking again. Sorry to be repetitive:

An angler catches his limit of, say, 2 lakers and gives them to his neighbor who does not fish and has no fishing licence. The next day, same angler catches another two lakers and again gives them to the same neighbor. This goes on until the neighbor has 18 lakers in his freezer.

The response in Question 38 says this is illegal. I.e., an angler may give away his daily limit (although be may not continue fishing that day), but the recipient is then bound by the possession limit and hence cannot have in his freezer more than that. I assume that if there are other members in the household, each of them could also have their limit, so that unless there are 9 people in the house, having 18 lakers in the freezer is illegal. But a reliable source just told me a CO told him this is perfectly OK. Comments?

Asked February 20, 2002

Answer from the MNR

This is correct as is the response to Question 38. One person can have his/her possession limit and no more, regardless if they possess a fishing licence or not.

Question 164a:

Related to this, is the possession limit for the recipient the same as what the angler has? I.e., if the angler has a conservation licence, is the recipient of the fish bound by conservation limits?

Answer from the MNR

The possession limit for the recipient is that of a regular (non-conservation) licence.

Question 164b:

I got the feeling talking to the person that the confusion arises due to the neighbor not being licenced, as though the regulations apply only to licenced anglers physically out there fishing. I.e, if somebody gives you a fish, you are not bound by the regs. To add to the confusion, Question 66, which asks if it is illegal to possess a fish if you don't have a licence is still "with MNR for clarification". Perhaps that question and lack of reply has spawned the above

Answer from the MNR

It is legal to possess fish without an angling licence.


Question 163:

Suppose two people are setup with 4 ice fishing rigs or 4 downriggers/rods on a boat. I see a rod bend and go over to set the hook. I then pass it over to my friend who fights the fish and he proceeds to lands it. Now, if the decision is made to keep the fish, who's possession limit does this fish apply to? The one who set the hook or the one who fought and landed it?

Asked February 19, 2002

Answer from the MNR

It would be a reasonable interpretation that the person landing the fish (the person holding the rod) would be the one 'catching' the fish. If he kept it, thereby retaining the fish it would be included in his daily catch limit. If he gave it to his buddy it would still count towards his daily limit since by catching it he retained it. Party fishing is not allowed. You can't catch fish towards another angler's limit. Both people in your scenario would require angling licences.


Question 162:

I have recently become aware of persons selling native fish of the Sunfish family from the southern states. I'm not sure whether or not that is legal in the states, but I'm wondering if it is legal in Ontario? Could a person catch minnows, Perch, Sunfish, etc, and sell them (alive) to the public? If so, are there any permits required or exceptions as to the type of fish? What about fish (ex. Bass) from private ponds? This is probably a complicated topic, but I'd appreciate any information.

Asked February 19, 2002

Answer from the MNR

You're correct, it is a complicated topic. Unfortunately I am not aware of the legislation in the southern states. In Ontario it is illegal to sell angler-caught perch and sunfish as well as the usual game fish such as walleye, pike and bass etc. Commercial fishermen with the proper licences can fish for and sell certain species of fish.

However, you could buy and sell live perch lawfully obtained by a resident by angling in the waters of the St. Lawrence River, including Lake St. Francis, between the dam at the site of the Robert H. Saunders Generating Station and the interprovincial boundary between Ontario and Quebec, if the yellow perch is sold or bought in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

It is illegal to sell angler-caught baitfish, crayfish, leeches, frogs or spawn. Only holders of commercial bait licences may sell these types of bait. Only resident anglers with a valid angling licence may capture their own baitfish for personal use, using a baitfish trap, dip-net or seine. You can't have more than 120 baitfish or leeches in your possession.

The holder of an aquaculture licence may culture, buy and sell those species of fish specified in his licence. An aquaculturalist also must ensure that these fish do not escape into the wild. A person may without a licence engage in aquaculture if the fish are cultured in aquariums. There is a list of 39 species eligible for culture in Ontario.

You would require an aquaculture licence to sell bass from a private pond specified in the aquaculture licence. No licence is necessary to buy these fish, however they cannot be transported alive unless a live transport licence has been acquired. These fish may only be legally stocked with a stocking permit issued by the MNR.


Question 161:

I was wondering, in the 2001 fishing regs. book there was a little blurb about the MNR trying to get authorization to use provincial offence forms and processes with regards to infractions under the Federal Fisheries Act Ontario Regulations. In my new 2002 book, there is no such mention. I was wondering if this was because the MNR had succeeded (in which case, Yea! no more swearing of every fisheries ticket) or had simply given up.

Asked February 19, 2002

Answer from the MNR

The planning process to use the Contraventions Act to streamline the Fisheries Ticket process is still underway. The plan to use Provincial Offence Notices for infractions under the Fisheries Act and the Ontario Fishery Regulations is the goal.


Question 160:

Aside from the issue of counting "culled" fish toward your daily limit, what is the legality of catching a bass on, say, Chemong Lake, and then culling/releasing it in Pigeon Lake, as would be commonly done during a bass tournament on Tri-Lakes? These three lakes are not divided by locks, so are they considered to be one body of water or three for the purposes of the ban on releasing fish into a different body of water from where it was caught?

Asked February 8, 2002

Answer from the MNR

The Ontario Fishery Regulations state that you cannot deposit or attempt to deposit live fish taken from one body or water into another body of water. All lakes in a watershed are interconnected.

HOWEVER

The statement you made regarding the Tri-Lakes is true but the decision was made for that specific area because of the types of lakes, water quality and fish species present. There is no blanket application for this province-wide. On a case by case basis, contingent upon there being no adverse effects on the fish populations in the lakes, it may be appropriate to consider a number of lakes as one "body of water".


Question 159:

I have been fishing in the Bowmanville Creek from Jackman road to Hwy 57 and I have noticed a lot of manmade dams. The purpose of these dams are to divert the steelhead, salmon to pools and not allow them access upstream unless they go through these pools. This may also make it easier to snag the fish as they have to go to the pools.
 
Are these man made dams legal? They seem to be kept up as there are no holes in them. They are made of rocks that are piled like a wall.

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I am not familiar with the Bowmanville Creek or the structures which you are referring to. My suggestion is that you contact the Aurora district Office and discuss this concern with CO's from that office who may be able to make an inspection or be familiar with the structures that you are dealing with. In general, without a permit it is unlawful to construct any device (dam, weir, diversion) which either affects water flow [Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act] or has a harmful effect on fish habitat [Fisheries Act s.35].


Question 158:

My question is simple. Say a river is posted as a fishing sanctuary, and the lake remains open, can I still fish the mouth of the river. Let's take Beaverton river on simcoe as example, it is closed till June 30, but can I still fish outside of the river, where is the boundary?

Asked September 13, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Of course, everyone's question is simple, right? Where a river starts and a lake begins is sometimes difficult to define. As a matter of practice, I have always suggested that if you were sitting in a canoe or boat on a calm day and the current was still pushing you, then you can assume that you are still in the river and not the lake. That type of guideline may sometimes be difficult to determine, so many times there are local agreed upon boundaries. Often the boundaries are easily identifiable on the ground, i.e. "from the dock at the red cottage on the point to the large rock on the south shore" or something like that. Sometimes there is an identifiable degree of latitude or longitude which you can determine with your GPS units or see on a map. It is best with a very specific situation such as you have alluded to (Beaverton River) to contact the district office or your local CO to get advice as to what criteria you might use.


Question 157:

I often fish two different lakes for lake trout. One has no slot limit while the other has a 40-55cm slot limit. The problem is that I must travel through the slot limit lake on the way home from the lake with no slot limit. What would happen if I was questioned by a CO while in posession of a slot-sized fish that was legally caught on the no slot limit lake?

Asked May 12, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Having just completed a fishing trip with my son where we covered seven lakes in four days with three different slot sizes, I know exactly what you are asking.

The short answer is that the officer would have to believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you have taken the fish from the slot limit lake. This, of course, could be proven (or dis-proven) in court by means of DNA or other forensic testing. It might also include something as simple as telling the court that the fish was found in possession alive and well on a slot lake, which is a forty minute (obviously long enough to kill a fish) portage from the "no-slot" lake. Hard for a CO to believe that such a fish survived and was not actually taken on the slot limit lake.

This situation is not that different from that which CO's encounter every day as they talk to hunters or anglers who are travelling from their hunting or angling spots to their homes or cottages. Often they may have been in a management unit with different seasons or limits and are contacted in an area that has a different season/limit/harvest restrictions. In these situations, a few simple questions are often all that is necessary for an officer to determine that the fish or game are legally in possession. While this type of inquiring may appear to some to be questioning their honesty, the CO's are simply trying to protect resources for the honest angler and hunter by catching those that would try and abuse resource protection laws.


Question 156:

My fishing licence sticker peeled off my outdoors card, do I need to buy a new sticker or can I contact someone to send me a replacement and in the meantime can I still fish?

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Yes, you need to buy a new fishing licence as these stickers cannot be traced back and NO, you definitely should not fish until this sticker has been replaced.


Question 155:

I visit Duffins Creek quite often thru-out the year and have noticed that alot of people continue to fish out of season above the CNR bridge In the new year before the trout season opens.

My question is how often is it patrolled by the ministry and why is nothing being done about the people that are obviously poaching.

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Duffins Creek is one of numerous creeks in the Aurora District that contain rainbows and is an attractive spot for would-be illegal anglers.

Conservation Officers with the assistance of guardians will be patrolling these watersheds to detect illegal angling activity. I certainly encourage all anglers who have an interest in protecting their favourite river or stream to consider getting actively involved in a Stream-Watch or Fish & Wildlife Guardian program. This involvement has worked very well in a number of streams in the GTA area. (Unfortunately, this probably means that there is more pressure in the areas where there is not citizen participation)

You can find more about the Guardian program by visiting the MNR site at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/fishing/guard.html

Conservation Officers require public support. We encourage anyone who may witness a violation at any of these streams or rivers to contact Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS or the Aurora District Office 905-713-7400


Question 154:

I'm not sure as to the boundaries for Year round fishing in Highland Creek in Scarborough. Is it South of Hwy 2 (Kingston Road) or south of the CNR tracks to the lake?

Asked April 17, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Highland Creek is located west of the Rouge River in Division 4 and does not have a year round open season or an extended season for Rainbows or Browns. Therefore all of Highland Creek would be closed for Rainbows and Browns from October 1 to the last Saturday in April.


Question 153:

I anticipate hundreds of illegal anglers again this yr before the last sat in april (29th) on bronte creek. what do plan on doing this yr.....you can't even get a parking spot some weekends....

Asked March 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Bronte Creek is one of numerous creeks in the Aurora District that contain rainbows and is an attractive spot for would-be illegal anglers. Conservation Officers with the assistance of guardians will be patrolling these watersheds to detect illegal angling activity. I certainly encourage all anglers who have an interest in protecting their favourite river or stream to consider getting actively involved in a Stream-Watch or Fish & Wildlife Guardian program. This involvement has worked very well in a number of streams in the GTA area. (Unfortunately, this probably means that there is more pressure in the areas where there is not citizen participation) You can find more about the Guardian program by visiting the MNR site at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/fishing/guard.html

Conservation Officers require public support. We encourage anyone who may witness a violation at any of these streams or rivers to contact Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS or the Aurora District Office 905-713-7400


Question 152:

Can I use a cast net and a dip net (like a smelt net)to catch alewife in Lake Ontario for use as bait? If legal, how big can a cast net be? Can I do it at night or day only? Can I use the alewife for catfish and sturgeon bait in Great Lakes tirbutaries such as the Niagara and Grand Rivers?

Asked March 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I will try to answer your question by breaking your question up into bite size chunks.

The first question is the definition of baitfish. If you looking in the Summary of Fishing Regulations 2001 p.8, you will find a list of species which are designated as baitfish. All of these species may be captured, as indicated, by means of a bait trap, dip net or seine net. (Note size restrictions and marking requirements). You are also limited in your possession limits (120 baitfish).

You will note that alewives are not listed as a baitfish species, so they cannot be captured using a net under these provisions.

Cast nets cannot be used by sports fisherman for any species

The only places where live alewife and yellow perch may be used for bait (in addition to the baitfish) are:

WATERS IN WHICH LIVE BAIT-FISH, ALEWIFE AND LIVE YELLOW
PERCH MAY BE USED AS BAIT

1. Lake Superior
2. Lake Huron, including North Channel and Georgian Bay
3. Lake Erie
4. Lake Ontario
5. Lake St. Clair
6. St. Lawrence River, including Lake St. Francis and Lake St. Lawrence
7. St. Marys River
8. Lake George
9. Munuscong Lake
10. St. Clair River
11. Detroit River
12. Niagara River

The only sources for these live alewife and perch are angler caught or from a dealer in commercial fish who got the fish from a commercial fisherman licenced for alewife.

BUT…. Dead alewife can be used anywhere (as any dead fish) except:
· Areas where only use artificial lures / flies may be used
· Areas in Lake of the Woods where fish parts are not permitted to be used as bait

Dead alewife or Gizzard Shad may not be used as bait in Big Rideau, Charleston, or Red Horse Lakes in Div 10.


Question 151:

I have found the 2001 regs to be somewhat confusing. They state that the area west of Big Sound has a limit of 1 Lake Trout. In past years the area from "Lighthose Point" to Nias Islands has been a no Lake Trout area. Has this changed for 2001? Can I now fish in the Killbear Channel for Lake Trout.

Asked March 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You will note that the new regulation which you have referred to (highlighted in red text in the 2001 Summary of Fishing Regulations) also says that this area exclude areas which are covered under separate regulations. This means that the areas listed under both the Big Sound and the Georgian Bay listings of the exceptions still apply. The areas where this new regulation applies is west of the Big Sound. The area from Light House Point to Nias Islands is still closed for Lake Trout - no change for 2001.

This area has a very complex ecosystem and consequently has quite an involved schedule of regulations. You would be wise to contact the district office in Parry Sound and have them mail, fax, or e-mail you a copy of a map which they have produced which better displays these regulated areas. Please see the map for more details.


Question 150:

Is it legal to buy frozen smelt in the grocery store and cut it up and use it for chum in Lake Simcoe?

Asked March 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Yes, this is legal. However, you may be into the realm of wastage if you were to do the same thing with your own angler-caught fish.


Question 149:

I have been fishing Lake Simcoe recently, for both Lake Trout and Whitefish. We have been doing well for both species in the same location, using the same baits. When we have two Whitefish and still wish to coninue on for trout, what do we do if we hook another Whitefish. We are fishing in 65' of water or more, so I am concerned about the survival of the fish upon release. Some of the fish belch the air out on the way up, which can be seen by the numerous air bubbles they release during the fight. I know bass anglers pierce the air bladder with a hypodermic needle when the fish is to be released into deep water, and apparently they are successful. I suppose my question can be applied to perch anglers who catch perch from deep water, which get the bends as well. What are we as responsible, law abiding anglers to do?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

The answer, from a legal perspective is that the fish must be returned to the water and handled in a manner, when doing so, which causes the least amount of harm. Even if the fish were dead or you know that it will ultimately die, it must returned to the water. From a science perspective, I cannot answer the question whether the use of hypodermic needle is appropriate or not. From an ethical perspective (i.e., "what are responsible anglers to do?") that is not something we can regulate. Certainly there are choices - quit fishing, move to another area, change baits, etc. but those are individual decisions that all anglers need to make and be able to live with.


Question 148:

Hello there, I fish in the niagara region and heard talks about fines being handed out for killing a mudpuppy. Are these rumours true and if so what are we to do if we caught one just release it. And does the same go for the gobies.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Mud Puppy, also known as a waterdog, common name for a group of aquatic salamanders, are named for their aquatic habitat and the erroneous belief that they bark like a dog. They have three pairs of bushy external gills, by which they breathe underwater, and a pair of lungs that they do not use; they have no eyelids. They grow to about 12 to 43 cm (about 5 to 12 in). Mud Puppy's are not listed as a Specially Protected Amphibian under the FWCA. My suggestion is that if you catch one of these animals, that you simply release it. There is no provision or licence that would allow you take or kill a mud puppy and besides, why would you want to?

Goby's are an exotic fish that have been released into the Great lakes ecosystem, likely as the result of a ballast water discharge. They pose a serious threat to our inland lakes and river systems. These fish, or any other exotic species, should not be released and you should absolutely never use these fish as bait in inland waters. You can see more about these and other invading species at: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/fishing/threat.html It is unlawful to transport these species alive.


Question 147:

I was just trying to find out if there was a licensce need to guide for fish in Ontario.

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You do not need the licence to act as a guide for angling anywhere in Ontario. Many guides, however, voluntarily obtain a Guide's licence. This licence is available through your local MNR office for a fee of $7.25 + tax. The only places where a guides licence is required under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act:

  • When guiding non-resident hunters for big game in the territorial district of Rainy River
  • When guiding Migratory Bird Hunters on Lake St. Clair
  • When providing non-resident black bear hunting services, there is a specific licence to do so.


Question 146:

If a fish is legally hooked in an area of a river that is open season for that fish, but the fish then swims downstream into an area that is closed season for that fish, am I able to follow the fish downstream and continue to play, land and release it?

Asked February 20, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Absolutely not. The law says that you cannot fish in a sanctuary and what you are describing to me sounds like fishing in my book. It does not say that you can fish in a sanctuary as long as you hook the fish outside a sanctuary. Why is it that we feel we need to stand on the exact edge of a sanctuary or a posted no trespassing area to fish and hunt and then want exemption from the regulations when our wounded animal or hooked fish goes into a sanctuary or closed area? Wouldn't it make more sense legally, ethically and for our image as sports-persons, to allow ourselves a margin or buffer around these areas?



Question 145:

Many of the boundaries on various Lake Ontario tribs specify that the open section of water is from the north or south side of a specific bridge (CNR/CPR train, Dundas St. QEW, Hwy 403). With the severely limited angling opportunities in Ontario for migratory salmonids in particular, considering that in neighbouring New York State you can legally fish ALL GREAT LAKES TRIBUTARIES 365 days a year upstream to the 1st impassable barrier to fish, why is the MNR so anal about whether or not someone can actually fishes in the hole that is usually under most bridges?

Come on guys, cut us some slack, throw us a bone. What's the big deal? Are you afraid somebody might actually catch a fish?

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Every jurisdiction in North America manages their resources with various schemes that they feel are appropriate to their circumstances. In other words, we are looking at achieving a balance between the amount of angling, hunting, or trapping opportunities and the allowable harvest. This is achieved by controlling a combination of seasons, limits, equipment, licence fees, bait restrictions, time of day restrictions, sanctuaries, etc, etc. How to get there will vary with the agency - for example, Quebec allows anglers to use five lines when ice fishing to our (generally) two lines. On the other hand, you cannot use live bait in Quebec unless it has come from the waters you are fishing. In some states, the deer limit is one per day. You cannot simply "cherry-pick" the laws which one agency has and suggest that we need to be doing the same thing. Individual laws or regulations are all a part of a management package and do not stand alone.

That being said, if you feel that there are legitimate places where we can expand angling opportunities, you need to work with your district biologists and staff to see if the legislation can be enacted.


Question 144:

The new Ontario 2001 Fishing Regulations state at the top of page 5:
"Transfer of Live Fish or Spawn
No live fish or spawn may be transferred from one body of water to another without the authorization of the Ministry of Natural Resources."

- http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/fr2001_front.pdf
My interpretation of this general regulation is that unless the spawn (aka CHUM) is from the same body of water as it is being transferred into (i.e. CHUMMED) & can be proven to be from the same body of water if asked by a CO, then it is illegal to CHUM with spawn (i.e. any fish eggs).

Can it be that MNR has finally, at long last, put a stop to one of the most unethical, unsporting "fishing" techniques that has proliferated in recent years to become almost common practice. CHUMMING is the primary cause of the rape & slaughter of 1000's of female chinook salmon annually that disgraces this fine & honourable sport of "fishing" & adds fuel to the fire of PETA protests.

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

You are right. If we are talking live spawn, it must come from the same waters; however, the onus of proof would rest with a Conservation Officer. That is, an officer would have to prove that an offence has taken place. Normally the onus is not on an accused person to prove that they did not do something. If the spawn is not live, there is no offence. There may be a difference between the fishing technique of chumming with introduction of a species into a body of water.

That being said, your line of reasoning seems to suggest that you see that this practice is an ethical issue, which it probably mostly is. That being the case, there is an argument that ethics need to be "self-policed" and we all know that it is very difficult to legislate ethics. The point to consider is that perhaps this issue is something that the greater fishing community needs to self-monitor and to make it socially unacceptable should they deem it to be unethical. Kind of like shooting ducks on the water - and many of the "fair chase" elements of hunting - very difficult to enforce, but more effectively controlled by peer pressure.


Question 143:

Could you please tell me why the american charter boats can come over to our side of the niagara and fish 20' off shore while we stand there holding are rods waiting for them to driftby? when you know every boat has 3 to 4 people and i doubt if they all have legal canadian fishing licenses. One thing i do know for sure if we go to their side of the river that you will be checked and fined if you don't have a american licence. please don't reply and say you do check because you don't. You have put your boats away for winter and i fish every week end all winter and have never seen m.n.r there or never been checked. We have rules so why not enforce them and make some money off the poachers.

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

Conservation Officers check over 500,000 resource users every year, but the most common response we hear in the field is, "This is the first time I have been checked in X years". Of course, just because you did not see an officer does not mean there was not one there or that you have not been "checked".

The lower Niagara River is very heavily fished, as you know, and this area continues to have conflict between those from shore and others from boats. This is mainly due to staging areas where the fish are located. Conservation Officers conduct patrols in this particular area in conjunction with OPP and Coast Guard. Numerous charges are laid in this area for fishing without licences and other infractions. However, we can't be everywhere all of the time. Any specific help you can provide would be appreciated.

If you have information that suggests that the boats in question are fishing illegally, I would suggest that you contact your local conservation officer, district office, or contact Crime Stoppers. You did not say anything in your note which suggests why you think these people do not have a licence.


Question 142:

Why is it that I have never seen any enforcement of any fishing regulations on the Rouge River? If you go down to the Twyn Rivers area in Scarborough or the Steeles Ave. and Ninth Line area on the Markham/Scarborough border just about any day in April and you will find people quite brazenly fishing for trout. When told that trout season is closed, they immediately say they are just fishing for suckers-with 10' rods, floats and nice fresh roe! Why isn't the river closed to all fishing at this time? I can't see how difficult it would be to post signs stating when fishing is prohibited.

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

This is a dilemma which fisheries managers face in a lot of cases. That is, are we being fair to anglers by closing down all seasons, and removing opportunities for legitimate anglers to catch coarse fish simply because others are abusing this privilege? On the other hand, can we satisfy the courts (sometimes we have had success, other times not) that a person was targeting a fish for which the season is closed, in which case they may be charged for "attempting to take during the closed season".


Question 141:

I reside near the mid Notty and fish it very often for trout & salmon. I'm well aware that it open year round from the confluance of the Boyne R. to Georgian Bay that-part is clear, but whats not clear are the new regulations regarding waters futher upstream. the 2000 regs state the following: Southwestern Ontario/map A/division 4 Exceptions to the Genaral Regs/pg.26

(new) Nottawasaga River and tributaries UPSTREAM from county road #50
-Salmon (all species) open from Apr. 29 (last Sat.)-Sept 30

(old) Nottawasaga River Essa twp.; from hwy #89 above Nicolston dam downstream to the near confluence of the Boyne River.
-Fish Sanctuary no fishing from jan 1-may 12 (fri before last sat) & Sept. 12 to dec 31

Do you see the gap(s)?

My question is this:
The section of the Nott between Hwy #89 & Hwy #50 was completly left out of the regs, as far as I could see. Whats the season there? Also it only states a Salmon season above hwy #50 & Pine R., what about trout? unless they are included as "all species".

I've asked these questions before to Other MNR personal and got the same answers over & over. I hope this Issue can be clarified once and for all for Me, my friends and other fisherman

Asked January 10, 2001

Answer from the MNR

I'm not sure why it happened that way but you are correct. The section between #89 and #50 is "different" with the season and limits as outlined in the summary.


Question 140:

Are there any patrol vessel capable of patrols off shore or past the summer months at present working on Lake Huron. If so where are they located and who runs them?

Asked November 10, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Yes, the Lake Huron Management Team and Lake Officers have vessels located at various points around the lake which are capable of extended patrols. However, I doubt if this answers your question - what are you getting at?


Question 139:

Fishing 2 lines in Lake Ontario: I believe this regulation was put in place largely for downrigging applications but I am wondering if it applies the same for flatlining, planerboarding, drifting and/or casting. For instance would one be following the law if he/she were trolling one line and casting another to cover shoreline structure or suspending fish? Also, is this regulation species specific in any way or was it designed more for the particular body of water?

Asked November 10, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The regulation is neither equipment nor species specific. That is, you may angle with two lines, whether they be down-rigged, trolled, jigged, planer-boarded, etc., or a combination of methods. You may also do this for any one or more species. The only restriction where this regulation applies is that the angling must take place from a boat. The provision for the second line does not apply if you are angling from a pier or shore. This provision for angling with two lines in open water only applies to anglers who are fishing from a boat in: "…the waters of Lake Erie, except in Rondeau Bay and the Inner Bay of Long Point Bay.
AND
A person who is angling from a boat may use two lines in the open waters of Lake Ontario in Divisions 2 and 8, except those waters known as the Bay of Quinte lying west of the Glenora Ferry to the western entrance of the Murray Canal and also excluding Presqu'île Bay, Wellers Bay, East Lake, West Lake, Frenchman's Bay, Hamilton Harbour and all tributaries of Lake Ontario."


Question 138:

I am confused over what is open after Oct 1.Can I fish for these species in 16 mile creek in Oakville.If so, how far up river and for how long.My understanding is that most tribs of lake ontario have an extended season, but I want to besure.Thanks

Asked October 20, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Sixteen Mile creek(Oakville Creek)is located in Division 4. In general, the seasons which apply for this division (as laid out on p.21-22 of the fishing summary) apply to this waterbody. The exceptions to this are:

a) there is a year round open season for rainbow trout and brown trout in the between Hwy 2 and Lake Ontario.
b) There is a year round open season for Atlantic Salmon (min. 24.8 in) downstream of the QEW and a year round closed season upstream from that point.


Question 137:

My question is Concerning Rainbow/Pacific Salmon fishing in the Regional Municipality of Durham. I'm a little confused about the open seasons in respect to the reg. summary 2000. The fall extended season is open for rainbows and browns till Dec. 31 south of Hwy.2 So after Dec.31 the new limits are to the C.N.R. bridge. But in Northumberland County the Ganaraska River doesn't apply to this reg. So where is the C.P.R bridge in Port Hope for future reference and is it true you must be 200m downstream of it??

Asked September 29, 2000

Answer from the MNR

It is correct that the streams in Division 6 in Durham Region and Northumberland Counties are open for fishing for Rainbow and Brown Trout and Pacific Salmon up to #2 Highway until December 31. The exception to this rule (beginning last year) is the Ganaraska River. The Ganaraska River in Port Hope may only be fished up to the south side of the CPR railway bridge until December 31. All areas upstream of these locations are closed on October 1. You can fish up to the south side of the railway bridge. There is no 200 yard rule. That said you may not stand at the south side of the bridge and cast up under or past the south side of the bridge as where you are casting is where you are fishing. Not where you are standing. The CPR bridge is the one furthest north of Lake Ontario in the Town of Port Hope.

Beginning January 1, in the Ganaraska River all fishing is prohibited north of the CNR bridge in Durham Region Division 6. Therefore, as of January 1 all anglers must move south about 200 yards from the south side of the CPR bridge to the south side of the CNR bridge, in the Ganaraska River.

In Durham Region all streams are open year round south of the CNR.

In Northumberland County all streams are closed south of the CNR. The exceptions to this are the Ganaraska River and Gages Creek in the Town of Port Hope and Cobourg Brook in the Town of Cobourg. Only these three streams can be fished year round south of the CNR. All other streams are closed right to Lake Ontario in Northumberland until the opening of trout the last Saturday in April.


Question 136:

In question number 40 of the FAQ, you said, "one of our most valuable tools in catching these thieves is YOU. I say thieves because anyone who takes any resource illegally is literally stealing fish and game and the opportunity to enjoy them from legal hunters and anglers."

I agree wholeheartedly. However, I hear from both anglers and hunters that reports of poaching are ignored. One example would be of wanton waste and snagging in the Credit River or Bronte Creek at this time of year (August-October).

Since all complaints by law enforcement are supposed to be logged, can you report on what percentages of reports receive some kind of action, as well as break down the percentages by the nature of the action? For instance, I imagine "File the Complaint" would not be perceived as a desired response if there were no investigation or other follow-up.

Ideally, it would be interesting to know what percentage of citizen complaints result in a charge being laid.

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You are right, that would be a very interesting statistic but, frankly, we do not have that number. On the other hand, I can guarantee you, as I enter my twenty-first year in this profession, that the percentage of charges which officers lay which have been as a direct or indirect result of public input and cooperation is easily the majority.

The Enforcement Branch has made a commitment to senior managers in the MNR that we provide 100 % response to all complaints received from the public. A complaint response rate will consider the number of complaints received and how many of those complaints were actioned by Enforcement staff (whether verbally, by personal visit, or by investigation.) Often times a complaint may be followed up or investigated, but not in a high profile "lights and sirens" approach. Also, while an officer may not be able to immediately respond to information received, that information may be valuable intelligence that can be used for planning future patrols or enforcement efforts.

That being said it is a huge task for the limited number of officers who work in the GTA to police over 4 million people. It's not that the officers haven't heard of what is going on - it is simply that they are stretched to the max already. In this area, we need more than public complaints - we need public help and involvement beyond simply calling in the complaint.

If the proof is in the pudding, consider the success story of the Grand River, which also had been a haven for snaggers and other violators. Since the inception of the Fish and Wildlife Guardian program (and its predecessor, the Grand River Watch program) snagging related charges have dropped from nearly one hundred annually to less than a handful. How did this happen? A dedicated group of concerned anglers decided to put something back into their sport. Could this happen on the Credit and the Bronte? You tell me.


Question 135:

With the limited manpower resourse available in the field, what is the intention of the MNR respecting tournament anglers, who continue to cull their catch? Will the MNR be visible at these tournaments educating the fisherpersons, enforcing this regulation?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

There is no specific provincial initiative to target tournament anglers who may cull their catches. This is not a new regulation and should not require a specific educational effort. MNR enforcement priorities are determined by individual districts as a part of their compliance planning process. If you feel that this practice is unacceptable in your district, you need to approach the local office. Offer your thoughts to the enforcement staff, who will consider your input in developing their district compliance plans.


Question 134:

Re: Night Fishing. I would like to know if the chemical light(small stick with fluorescent materials in it)is ok to use in Canada. I used to use it in Michigan, but I am not sure if it is legal here.

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The device that you are referring to is deemed legal in Ontario. I cannot speak for the rest of Canada.


Question 133:

There have been many discussions and controversy about the method of fishing called 'Lining' used for salmon specifically. To anyone not familiar with this method of angling, it is a way of setting up your rig in order for the salmon to enter your line with its mouth and as a result the hook getting snagged into the fish's mouth. The rig consist of one to two small hooks placed up the line two feet apart from each other, with a small sinker placed at the end of the line. All hooks are baited. Further more the rig does meet with the regulations, as this specific tackle is not snagging equipment.

My main question is this legal? As I reviewed the regulations it states on page 7 that: It is illegal to catch or kill fish by impaling or snagging it with a hook through any part of the body other then the mouth. What confuse me the most ares the last words in this sentence 'other then the mouth'. Is this means that snagging fish is legal, as long you snag fish in the mouth?

The reason why I brought up 'lining' is because almost 70% of anglers who fish on bottom at piers or rivers do use this method. But unfortunately most don't even know that the line fish.

It seems to me that when you get a fish to swallow a baited hook and then you capture that fish by setting the hook in its mouth, you are not snagging that fish by the mouth, you are fishing. Is there something here that I am missing?

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

You have evaluated the regulations properly. One could argue that setting the hook in the fishes mouth is an attempt to snag or "catch by prompt action" (Concise Oxford Dictionary). Therefore we define a snagger in the Ontario Fishery Regulations as …

"an instrument that is:

  1. made of a rigid or semi-rigid material with one or more hooks attached in such a manner that each is immovable and inflexible, and,
  2. designed for the purpose of hooking or piercing a fish in a part of the body other than the mouth"
Both must be in place to qualify as a snagger. A hook on a line is not a snagger. However, using a hook "in such a manner as to pierce a fish in a part of the body other than the mouth" is an unlawful means of fishing. If a person does hook a fish by a part other than the mouth, they must release it immediately.

Lining by your definition therefore is perfectly legal.


Question 132:

I am of Algonquin descent and have a Algonquin Bonnechere Community card, and would like to know the legal right I have to hunt and fish, I am hearing different issues as to my rights to hunt and fish in Algonquin territory and would like this clarified.

Asked September 15, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Please have a look at question 61 in the "Fish" questions. As First Nation's rights are a very complex issue, I can only suggest that you may wish to discuss your intentions with the District Enforcement Supervisor in the area that you are planning on hunting. There are simply too many nuances to these issues that cannot be addressed in a blanket response to a general question. Sorry.



Question 131:

I was just wondering what are the boundries to Erindale? Some people say that it's extended north to Elington, others say that it's extended south to 403/QEW. Which one is right, if any?

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The new open season regulations for rainbow and brown trout on this part of the Credit River are: From the north side of Dundas St bridge(Hwy 5)to the south side of Hwy 403.


Question 130:

Is there any chance that a lower limit of rainbows and browns can be put into place for the upper niagara river? There are quite a few wild fish but the thing is, the people that do know they're here are slaughtering them. No one patrols this section and I've seen many people take more than their limit. It just seems each year, less and less are caught, I think the mnr should change the reg's just like they did for the walleye. 5 trout per day is way too much when you've got 10 guys taking a limit home each day.

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

I have passed your message on to Vineland District of the MNR which patrols and manages that section of the Niagara River.


Question 129:

When are the catch and release rules going to be inforced on the Credit? When all the brook trout are gone? If you walk the river you will find dozens of styrofoam bait containers, people are not carrying their lunch in these! Why are we letting this incredible fishery be destroyed? I have seen a marked decline in just this season in large fish due to the bait fishers in the catch and relase area. The abuse of this river is a crime. Get a C.O. out there some weekend evening, think of the revenue from fines!

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

Thank you for the 'heads-up' on the situation you have encountered this year along the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. CO's from Aurora District have patrolled the area, however as you are aware, it is a lot easier to find the bait containers than it is to actually catch the users of the live bait in the act. I have passed the message on to our CO's however and we will try and step up our patrol there. In the mean time ... For those who don't know, live or organic bait is prohibited along that special section of the Credit River. Other special regulations which are in place from the Provincial Park gate and Hwy 24 in Caledon Twp., include: Artificial lures only with barbless hooks. Catch and possession limit of five salmon and trout only in one day, but not more than one can be brook or brown trout. Minimum size for these two trout is 50 cm or 19.7 inches. Finally trout season in most of Divisio 4, including the Forks of the Credit, closes on Sept 30.


Question 128:

I seem to be getting a bit confused about the open season on Bronte Creek.The answer on question 98 gives me the impresion that fishing for browns and rainbows between Rebecca st and Hwy.5 is closed all year.The regulation state that that area is open from the last Sat. in Apr. to Dec. 31 for browns and rainbows.(extended season)Was there a change or are you refering to all year angling?

Asked August 22, 2000

Answer from the MNR

The year round open season on Bronte Creek in Oakville extends from Hwy 2 south to Lake Ontario.The extended fall season for rainbows and browns on Bronte in Oakville lasts until Dec. 31 and is between Hwy 5 and the unopened road allowance at Rebecca Street. From Jan. 1st to the last Saturday in April the trout season there will indeed be closed.


Question 127:

Can a friend transport my limit of fish, beside his own, when he has my outdoors card in his posession?

Asked August 8, 2000

Answer from the MNR

It is acceptable to transport another person's fish if they are in a container which is clearly marked on the outside with your name, address, etc., as well as the contents, the origin of the shipment and the destination. These fish still remain a part of your possession limit. However, he need not and should not possess your outdoors card.


Question 126:

Previous questions on stringer-sorting fish, and on catching fish in one lake then culling/releasing them in another when "locking through" in a tournament have skirted this, but I need a definitive answer. What precisely is the law pertaining to culling fish in tournaments?

If I'm competing in a bass tournament and I put 10 bass in my live well over the course of the day, but never at any one time have more than six in my possession (culling them as I go) am I breaking the law?

As I read it on here, I would indeed be over my limit and in violation of the law. Given the number of anglers who do this each summer weekend, in tournaments across Ontario, it needs a clear answer.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Please have a look at my reply to question s 44 and 46.
First, there are no laws at this time that deals with tournaments as separate entities - in other words, the same rules which apply to recreational anglers apply to tournament anglers.

THEREFORE, once you catch a fish and put it in your live well, you have "caught and retained" that fish. You may only catch and retain six bass in one day. You cannot "un-retain" a fish! Once you have taken that fish into your retention it becomes a part of your daily catch and retain limit. You can give up your possession of that fish by putting it back in the water, but you still did catch and retain that fish.

You may also only possess six bass in one day. So, although you have remained in compliance with regards to possession limits, you have exceeded your catch and retain limit. The situation that you describe violates the Ontario Fisheries Regulations, Section 24:

24. (1) Subject to subsections (2) to (4), no person other than a person engaged in commercial fishing shall catch and retain in any day or at any time possess

As a matter of interest, I have a newspaper article in my office that makes reference to a study conducted on bass in Texas. The study suggest that culled fish (kept in a live well until a bigger fish was caught to replace it) mortality was more than TEN time greater than fish that were treated as catch and release (released as quickly as possible). This is part of the reason why we are seeing prohibitions, on some of our lakes on even possessing fish stringers, live holding wells, or, in some cases, live fish!


Question 125:

Regarding the collection of trout/salmon roe for personal use as bait. Is it legal to partially "strip" a female salmon or trout of roe then return the fish to the river, providing the fish has been caught legally? It seems that this activity would fall under molesting or harrassing the fish but the alternative, killing the fish for the eggs, seems even worse.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

There is nothing in the Fisheries Act or the Ontario Fishery Regulations which prohibits this particular activity. Personally, if I was taken out of my natural elements and stripped of my eggs, chances are I would consider myself molested!! On the other hand, there is no provision in the law with regard to molesting or harassing fish. However, you should be aware that chances are that such a fish, after the handling is likely going to die anyway.

That being said, eggs, by definition, are fish. While we have never limited the number of roe sacs which one may possess from legally taken fish, when you handle the fish as you have indicated that fish is deemed to be 'captured and retained'. Therefore each fish that you perform this activity upon would be considered part of your daily limit.


Question 124:

What should a person do if they were to hook a walleye that would definately not survive if released due to the way is was hooked? Is it up to a C.O.'s discretion or must it still be released? Also, once a person has caught their limit of walleye (be it in a boat with other anglers who haven't yet caught their limit or alone), can he still fish for others species of fish in that same area and release any walleye that are caught? Can he give any additional walleye to others in the boat as part of their catch?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

I am assuming from the context of your question that the walleye that you were referring to was in some way illegal. Otherwise, its butter and flour time! The answer, if the fish is illegal (out of season, under or over size, over limit, illegal gear, etc.) is that the fish must be immediately returned to the water. By regulation, this must be done in a manner which causes the least amount of harm to the fish. Even if the fish were dead, it must be returned.

Regarding your second question, you may continue to fish for other species of fish and if it so happens, and you incidentally catch more walleye they must be returned to the water immediately, as above. I would suggest that you should be using different equipment and lures than that which you used to catch your limit and that which your buddies are using to attempt to take walleye. This would demonstrate to an officer that you are indeed angling for another species and not attempting to catch more walleye for the rest of your party or high-grade your catch.

You absolutely cannot give your over limit fish to others in the boat as a part of their catch. There are no provisions for "party fishing".


Question 123:

I purchased a non resident seasonal conservation fishing license this past febuary while at the fishing show. At the time I was Living in the US. I have since moved back to Ontario. Can I change my license to a resident one If I notify the MNR, and Is there a charge for this.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

You did not indicate when you have moved back to Ontario. You will continue to be a non-resident for six months. Assuming that the move took place May-June; you would not become an Ontario resident until Nov-Dec; at which time the difference could be pro-rated and you could apply for a refund of the difference. Chances are, at that point the amount would be less than the price of one Canadian Wiggler.


Question 122:

Just wondering if you can fill me in on the regulations regarding to bowhunting or bowfishing for carp. Is it considered hunting or fishing and which kind of licence do you need?? Also, can you use a electric motor on a boat when hunting/fishing carp??

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

If you look at the Year Summary of Fishing Regulations, p.11 the "Restrictions on Equipment" section suggests that using a bow to capture Carp was considered hunting. The restriction on powerboats and sunrise/sunset comes from the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act, which regulates hunting. Up until very recently, that has been MNR's approach. More recently, however, this approach has been reviewed in light of the increasing popularity of that sport.

As a result of that review (June 2000), attempting to capture Carp by means of a bow is considered to be a "non-angling method of capturing fish" which is a form of FISHING. Dates, species and times (generally restricted to daylight hours) of this activity are covered in pages 9-10 of the fishing summary. As such, your activities are governed by the fishing regulations. There are no restrictions in the fishing regulations that control boat/motor configuration. Therefore the use of an electric motor is perfectly legal. You are not considered to be hunting. Remember, however, because this is fishing, that the time restrictions apply from sunrise to sunset. The "1/2 hour before and after" regulations only apply to hunting. ----


Question 121:

Could someone tell me about what is being harvested by net in West Lake? And what the status of the commercial net operation is on this Lake.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

There are 3 licensed commercial fisher-persons on West Lake. They can only use hoop-nets and are allowed to harvest eels, yellow perch, lake herring, bullheads, sunfish and other coarse fish. Their season runs from Jan.1 to May 20th. (Usually the Thursday before the may long weekend) and starts up again on Sept. 21 to Dec. 31. These fisheries have been there for more than 50 years.


Question 120:

I'm new to the erindale park fishing place and have seen the santuary posting south of dundas. "No fishing" but again there is posting from Aug 15 to the last saturday in april. Could I get in trouble for fishing in may to early august?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Reply Pending from District.


Question 119:

Is it still illegal to catch & keep a lake trout in the Wiarton, Collingwood area of Georgian Bay. I have looked in the new regs & see nothing on it.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

The lake trout closure is done through what is known as a "closed season variation order" and is in affect until Dec 31st/00 for QMA 5-8 which includes the waters of Owen Sound and Colpoys Bay!

When these types of changes are enacted after the publishing of the regulation summaries, notice of these changes is given to all of the local media (radio, TV, and print).


Question 118:

Is the treble hook on a mepps or panther martin spinner considered a single hook ? And is it ok to use these in the grand river, Fergus Elora area no kill zones and regular zones?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Yes, a treble hook when attached to an artificial lure is considered a single hook. This applies only for the purpose of counting hooks pursuant to Section 20. Therefore, in the subsection created for the Grand River and others, the reference to a single hook means one hook--single, double or treble. Regardless of the number of points; in these restricted areas all hooks must be barbless.

The only exception to this interpretation is in Division 14 (Hudson Bay Coastal Fishery) where the restriction specifically says, "single-pointed" barbless hook. In this case, the hook must have a single point only.


Question 117:

Why is the fine for failing to produce your fishing licence more than fishing with no licence. It can be an honest mistake to forget your licence in another shirt pocket or tackle box. I thought you had 24 hours to bring your licence to a MNR office.

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

The two offences are in different pieces of legislation and therefore come under two different fine schedules. It occurs as a result of the dividing of powers and authorities under the British North America Act sections 91 and 92. The short story...failing to carry your licence is an offence under the provincial Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act, while failing to even have a licence is an offence under the federal Fisheries Act. That being said, this anomaly has been recognized for some time and the federal Fisheries Act schedule of fines is under review at this time.

There is no "24 hour grace period". While officers may have the option of giving you this alternative, it is definitely not required. This is a matter of officer discretion and is similar to the approach that police may take with licensing or insurance for your vehicle.


Question 116:

New York State bass season opens significantly earlier than Ontario's. If I leave from Canadian waters and fish in New York (with a valid New York licience naturally) can I bring bass back home?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Yes, this is not a problem. It is no different than if you went to another state and brought back your catch of fish by land from another jurisdiction (for example, bass from Florida). I would strongly suggest, however, that under these circumstances, you travel to and from New York State by the most direct and expedient route. This would help make it clear to an officer that this is your intent. From an officer's perspective, it would be very difficult to believe that the bass were New York fish if you were stopped in the process of angling on the Ontario side of the river with a stringer of bass and no proof of a visit across the border.


Question 115:

Has there been a limit put on the panfish on ricelake??

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

No, there is not a limit on panfish (sunfish, bluegills, perch, crappie) on Rice Lake (Division 6 in the Fishing Regulations Summary) at this time [July 2000]. There is a review of this situation currently ongoing by the Peterborough district. This may result in catch and retain and possession limits in the future.


Question 114:

The question came up the other day from someone who had inadvertently put their outdoors card in the wash and consequently all but obliterated the current fishing stamp. When this happens, how does one go about getting a replacement stamp?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

You can go to your local district office and get a replacement tag. Alternatively, you can start buying cheaper detergent that doesn't work as well!!


Question 113:

1. I got an outdoors card and license in mid october of last year. My temporary expired at the end of the calendar year(1999) and now I can't fish. I sent my slip to the MNR about a month ago and called them recently and they said that I would receive my card in about two weeks(from now). They also told me that if I wanted to fish I could buy a new outdoors card and thus temporary(it comes with it). But they said that I would then have to cancel it at my local MNR office and get my card there(after two weeks). Basically it would be as if I'm applying for a second outdoors card, isn't that illegal?

2 .What do I tell the seller, they said I couldn't get one in these circumstances?

3. I live in north Etobicoke where is my nearest MNR office (Aurora???)

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

1. That depends upon how you interpret "applying for a second outdoor card". If you were applying for a second card "new number - new card", you would be in violation. If however, you are applying for a replacement "not a second card but rather a replacement/duplicate of the first"

2. I would suggest that you are not applying for a "new" card but rather a "duplicate". Again this is a matter of interpretation. Be reminded however that a licence that is "suspect" likely will not be issued by an external issuer. In other words if the issuer doesn't know whether they should issue a licence or not then they should not. You should likely take care of this business at your closest MNR office. If, on the off chance that you find yourself being sent two cards by the company that manages the card system for the MNR, simply cut up the second card which you receive. It should be exactly the same number as the first.

3. Aurora (Yonge/Bloomington)is the closest district office; alternatively there is an MNR Information Centre located downtown at McDonald Block, 900 Bay St.


Question 112:

Many rivers are sanctuaries till let's say June 24 (bass season), YES THIS MEANS ABSOLUTELY NO FISHING TILL june 24 in the river. OK, but there's a HUGE walkway say 300 metres extending out from the river mouth, CAN I FISH THIS WALKWAY before june 24? Is that walkway part of the river even though it extends far into the lake?

Asked June 28/00

Answer from the MNR

Many of the fishing regulations reference a boundary line between a lake or other water body and an in-flowing river. Of course, without surveyors' stakes or other equally impractical markings, it is often difficult to decide exactly where every boundary may start and end. I would suggest that you might want to consider the following: -Contact your local district office for an interpretation. Often a district will have an agreed upon boundary that might include some physical feature. For example "draw an imaginary line from the big pine tree on the west bank to the end of the dock of the last cottage on the east side" or sometimes just from point of land to point of land where the river empties into the lake.

-Where you are unable to do the above I would suggest as a guideline that you use the point where the river stops influencing the water flow as the "end" of the river. As an example, if you put a rubber duck on the surface of the river on a perfectly calm day, the point at which the river current stopped moving the duck would be the end of its influence.

Of course, it is always funny to see that we, like cattle or horses, have this need to "chew the grass" on "the other side of the fence" and want to fish right up to the edge of a sanctuary - right down to millimeters! Try to envision where you might want the line to be drawn if the river was the open area and the lake was the sanctuary - same place?


Question 111:

I'm just wondering if you can email/mail me some information about the Guardian Program. I fish (barbless, catch and release)a small creek near T.O that has Brook Trout in it, but it seems that there are more people fishing it now (some keeping quite a few) and there are no C.O's to be seen. This creek can be easily overfished...

Also, I live near the Don River (about 5 min away)in Toronto, and I heard that the river was stocked with Brown and Rainbow trout. I'm just wondering if you know any places (when the season opens) where I can fish (catch and release) for these fish. I have seen the rehab work on the lower Don and it looks great! I'm just wondering if there are any places upstream in the park system (e.g Edwards Garden, Taylor Creek etc) where I can try, or even further upstream. I know I would get weird looks fishing the Don, but hey, it's so close to home! One last thing, I'm interested in pursuing any employment opportunities at the MNR. I'm an avid fisherman and really enjoy the outdoors. I have post secondary education and I feel it would be an excellent opportunity. Is there a newsletter or website I can check out for jobs? What are the steps to becoming a C.O? What kind education do I need etc?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

For information on the Guardian program, there is a very nice synopsis of the program at www.wildlifepartners.com/guardians.html In the very near future, we will have a Guardian page as a part of MNR's Fish and Wildlife site, with course information and contact info. You may also want to contact your local district office or the Natural Resources Information Centre at 1 800 667 1940 to obtain a free brochure called "Partners in Compliance" which gives more information about the Guardian (and the Deputy Conservation Officer) program. You should also ask them to send you a brochure called "Conservation Officers, who we are and what we do" that explains the steps to becoming a C.O. You may also want to look at my response to Question 70.

As far as the question about where specifically to Fish on the Don, you may want to contact the Aurora district at (905) 713-7415 and ask for the area biologist responsible for that part of the river.


Question 110:

I was just wondering if Bronte creek is really closed, (no extended season for trout) and if so why isn't anybody doing anything about all the poachers there every day?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Please see Questions 56 and 98 below.


Question 109:

I've been planning some fishing/camping trips on some lakes north of Ravensworth in the Townsip of Kearney. The lakes I want to target are Twentyeight, Coffee, Whetstone, Spruce, Middleshanty and Pine lakes. Is camping permitted on these lakes and public access as well? Are they "crown" lakes?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

In general, camping is permitted (up to 21 days annually) on Crown lands at no charge. The Lakes that you referred to are generally Crown. Any portions of them which are not public land (cottage lots, etc.) should be clearly marked and/or obvious that they are not Crown land.


Question 108:

The topic of people fishing below the QEW before the actual opening of trout season has been a hot topic on this and many other discussion boards.As the regs.state there is a season for Atlantic salmon and many people are taking advantage of this loop hole and releasing any rainbows caught. Information I have read states there is no natural reproduction below Highway 5 because of warm summer temperatures. As upwards of 25,000 rainbows are stocked lets either fix the regs. to make the area sanctuary or better yet allow people to catch the fish their liscence money paid for(catch and release or 1 fish limit)Not a true question perhaps but input from your end would be appreciated.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Certainly a topic of much discussion on the fishing chat site and many questions here. I can only suggest that there are a number of options for dealing with this issue, but that local issues require local solutions. This includes, but is not limited to: an active Guardian program, regulation changes, gear prohibitions, sanctuaries, enhanced enforcement, and other regulatory approaches. Certainly this appears to be something that requires communication between the district office and concerned anglers.

The district office is presently reviewing a number of recommendations received by the public to increase angling opportunities on the Bronte.This may be an area for consideration.


Question 107:

When are you going to take definitive action regarding the disgrace at bronte. Concerned and live in the area

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Please provide some additional information so we can properly address your concern. (Ed. note: please see Questions 56 and 98 below.)


Question 106:

Is Graham creek open for fishing from the CNR south or is the whole river of limits?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Graham Creek would be open all year for Rainbow and Brown from the southerly limit of CNR right-of-way to Lake Ontario.


Question 105:

I have a question on the bounderies of fishing Highland creek in Scarborough. I've heard that the bounderies are from highway 2 south to the lake... and I've heard that it's the C.N.R bridge right at the l river mouth which leaves almost nothing to fish..I have also heard that there is no boundery at all since it is not posted in the regulations... I'm wondering if you could help me out.. by giving me the proper bounderies...

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

You have not indicated which species of fish you are asking about and certainly that makes a difference. I suggest that you have a look at response to question # 42 and see if that answers your question. If not, please feel free to get back to me.

There is no year round open or extended season for Rainbows or Browns on the Highland. The season would be from April 29-Sept 30/00.


Question 104:

My wife and I took a walk along Young's Cr.today to watch the rainbows spawning but after 15 min.of looking we saw no fish.Then we saw two native indians walking down the middle of the creek with a bag,a net and a spear.no wonder we couldn,t see any fish.It was bad enough they were taking fish but they were also walking right through the redds.We saw people out with thier kids to watch the fish spawning but this is what they saw instead.Normally what you see here during spawning season is a group of ten or more of them snagging or netting at the dam.If you confront them they tell you its thier right to do this.I've also encountered them with 444's along the pathway hunting deer through the fall and winter.I am more than willing to report this when I see it happening but everyone tells me that because they are native indians that nothing can be done.I thought this could only take place on thier land.My son just came home from fishing the Saugeen today and was disgust! ed at all the carasses floating down from the dam after being snagged and stripped for a fillet and thier roe.I just want to know if and what can be done about this if I do report it.This is all pretty discouraging when you think about all the time, money,and effort it has taken to get a fishery such as the one on Young's Cr.to where it is today.For the last 3 years these fish have been stressed enough from low water and dried up spawning beds but now some people think they have the right to take what is there for the future.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Aboriginal rights are a very complex issue and every situation concerning the exercising of rights needs to be looked at on an individual basis. My recommendation to you is that you report all violations with as much detail as possible. If the situation is, in fact, one in which individuals are exercising a right, that will need to be determined by an investigating officer. On the other hand if there is an issue of safety or wastage, then this is not a protected right for anyone.


Question 103:

I was wondering if their is a weight limit to the amount of fish spawn people are alowed to be in posetion with. Example salmon roe, rainbow , brown. Im not saying my freezers full and am wondering if I'm breaking the law, because I never keep fish for spawn. I just think that if their is not such a law their realy should be becaus I have heard stories from people bragging on how many salmon they caught and the amount of roe they now have.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

There is no limit on the amount of fish spawn which one may possess.


Question 102:

Can you give me any information on this Lake? I heard it has a walleye population in it. It's between Wolf Lake and Upper Redeau right at Westport Ontario. I am looking to relocate, and I would greatly appreciate this information, ie stocking reports, est. walleye pop.....spawning area's etc.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

The Lake you are describing is Known as Sand Lake, and has a small Walleye population and a good Bass population. The Westport and Area Outdoor Association has stocked the lake with Walleye they raise in their hatchery annually for the last decade.

You may want to check with the district Office (specifically, I would be asking to speak to the area biologist for Leeds) in Kemptville at (613) 258-8204 or, even better, ask your peers on the chat line! (Ed. note: that's http://www.zoo.utoronto.ca/FUN/Fish.html.)


Question 101:

Frequently, I have heard that Lake Huron has a strong whitefish population. I would like to target this species inte summer from my 16 ft boat. As I fish from The Bruce power plant to the Sauble River i would appreciate some help with summer location. Is there a better time of the year to fish them inthese waters?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

You may want to check with the district Office in Owen Sound at (519) 376-3860 or, even better, ask your peers on the chat line! (Ed. note: that's http://www.zoo.utoronto.ca/FUN/Fish.html.)


Question 100:

Does a conservation license allow for 2 rods on Erie? I know it limits the number of fish but am pretty sure the # of rods is constant.

Rumours about 2 rods on Huron are circulating. If it happens would Georgian Bay be included in this?

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Yes, the holder of a conservation licence may fish with two lines, from a boat, in open water, in both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (excepting the restricted, one line only areas on these two lakes). The only restrictions which are attached to the conservation licence are the daily catch and retain, and possession limits. As far as a change to include all or a part of Lake Huron, that would be a change that would come from the Lake Huron Management Unit. You should talk to the MNR office in Owen Sound at 519-371-0420 your district office about this.


Question 99:

On the topic of stinger hooks. According to the regulations, it states that no more than 4 hook points are allowed, unless it comes pre-attached to the lure .That being the case, why do I see so many people fishing with more than 4 hook points? A good example would be purchasing a lure with 1 treble hook attached.A stinger hook is added (treble) below the original treble hook which makes 6 hook points! The Canadian Sport Fishing show is a excellent example (Ice Fishing -Bay of Quinte).

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

The Regulations read:
20. (1) Subject to subsections (3) to (5), no person shall engage in angling with a line to which more than four hooks are attached.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), where an artificial lure is used, each double or treble hook attached to it is deemed to be one hook."

The 2000 Fishing Summary (p.5) reads:
"On an artificial lure, a gang containing up to three hooks is considered to be one hook"

The situation that you describe fits the criteria stipulated above and the lure with a stinger attached would be deemed to have only two hooks. There are no words that say "pre-attached" The situation which you described is perfectly legal.


Question 98:

I've heard that Bronte Creek is closed to fishing above HWY#2.That being the case, why do I see people fishing at Petro Canada Park and at the Q.E.W bridge? I was told you can be fined for fishing up there but all I here from people that fish there is that if a Conservation Officer is on the scene,all they do is ask for fishing licences? So, are you allowed to fish there?Or is it your allowed to fish,but you just can't keep any Rainbow?


Why are there consistently guys fishing bronte at the qew? Because no one has a cheap solution. Why don't you get a cop to park at the opening when doing his paper work and inform all those who break the regs. Should somehow pay. the infractions are daily or bidaily; i live close to bronte and it's a disgrace

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Bronte Creek in the area you have referred to is not absolutely closed to fishing, only for some species (including rainbows). There are still open seasons for other species. North of Hwy #2 to the southern limit of Rebecca Street is considered a fishing sanctuary. However, from the unopened road allowance of Rebecca Street to Hwy 5 is closed only for rainbows and browns; fishing for other species that are open would be permitted.

See also the discussion re: incidentally caught fish in question 93.


Question 97:

My question concerns bassing fishing derbies and the why bass fisherman are allowed to cull their catch in derbies. Does possession limit not apply to tournment fisherman. Because if you have six bass in your live-well you should be done fishing for the day. Or have the rules changed concerning tournments.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

You are right, the limit of fish which one may "catch and retain in one day" (note that this is different from "possess") is the same for everyone, including tournament anglers.


Question 96:

Could you please tell me whether the section of the Rideau River down stream of the bridge in Burritts Rapids is considered division 9 or division 10? Looking at the map in the regulation book it is difficult to tell.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

On the Rideau River, Division 9 begins approximately 30 Km west of Buritts Rapids at the eastern boundary of the Town of Smith Falls, and continues eastward to the point where the Rideau meets the Ottawa River.

The area that you asked about is in Division 9. The specific wording in the Ontario Fishery Regulations is
"DIV 9
….. the Rideau River lying between the east boundary of the Town of Smiths Falls and the east boundary of the Township of Montague, in the County of Lanark;……
DIV 10
The waters in the County of Lanark excepting the Rideau River lying between the east boundary of the Town of Smiths Falls and the east boundary of the Township of Montague;…."

By the way, you can look at both the Canada Fisheries Act and the Ontario Fisheries regulations at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans site at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/COMMUNIC/policy/dnload_e.htm


Question 95:

Is it legal to catch and keep native fish in a home auqarium in Ontario? I am thinking of keeping a couple of pumkinseed,bass, and maybe a chain pickerel in a 100-150 gallon tank.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Yes, this is legal. See Question # 14; already answered.


Question 94:

Highland creek in scarborough. Can you fish steelhead from HWY-2 down to the lake ontario this time of year.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

Highland Creek is open for Rainbow from April 29-Sept 30. There is no extended or open season on Highland, therefore Hwy 2 to Lake Ontario is closed for rainbows outside these dates.


Question 93:

I read your response to question #56 and the targeting of species.I overheard a angler on Sat. at a local shop saying how he caught and released a number of steelhead on Bronte Creek below the QEW. I said season was closed. His response "I was fishing for Atlantic Salmon which is perfectly leagal".This appears to be another very "grey " area. What is the MNR's response to this angler? How about a no kill rule in this stretch? I was also told by this person that this river gets too warm in the summer and that there is no natural reproduction anyway. Thank you in advance for your reply as I enjoy reading the queations and answers generated on this site.

Asked June 12/00

Answer from the MNR

The response to this angler, and to any other who incidentally catches a non-target fish, is that any fish caught that are out of season or otherwise not legal to keep, must be returned to the water immediately and in a manner which causes the least amount of harm. Again, if it can determined that an angler is targeting a closed season species under the guise of attempting a fish for which the season is open, then certainly charges may be warranted. These cases can be difficult to prove in court, particularly if the target species is similar to the "incidental". In these cases, anglers have a couple of choices. They can follow the law and if they find they truly are catching a lot of "incidental" species, move to another location or change gear to focus on their target species. Or, they can try to hide under the guise of "incidental catch", in which case ethical and responsible anglers will do as you have suggested and promote the closure of all fishing to protect the vulnerable species. (See question , re rainbow/salmon closures on the Nottawasaga)


Question 92:

Are you allowed to fish directly under the train bridge on the wilmot, under meaning in the culvert?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

The boundary is the southerly limit of the CNR right of way, which places you on the south side of the culvert. Therefore you cannot legally fish either under the bridge or inside the culvert.


Question 91:

I live in Belleville and fish the Bay of Quinte Regularly. I was just wondering, since the walleye season is presently still open north of #7, what would happen if , say, i went to Moira Lake for the day and caught my limit of walleye then while returning to my home in Belleville was stopped (in Belleville) and searched by a CO. How (if at all) could one prove that these fish were not from the Bay. Also like when coming home from Lake Scugog or somewhere up there during the regular season where the limit is 6 fish/person, how could you prove that the fish weren't from the bay(limit=4)?? This subject came up amongst a group of us up at Scugog in Jan and was wondering what the rules are around this subject

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

First, you should know that C.O.'s do not search anyone or anything without reasonable grounds to do so. However, they may inspect at any time. You can look at your question in a few different ways. First, before you or anyone else could be convicted of either fishing during the closed season or catching overlimits of fish, an officer would have to prove to the court's satisfaction that the fish you were found with came from a closed area or one with lower limits. This could be done in a number of ways. A DNA testing might be the high tech approach. A witness who saw you fishing all day might also suffice. A Crime Stopper tip that an individual matching your description was seen pulling a boat, licence number xxx yyy out of the Bay of Quinte and saying that "I'll just tell the Game Warden that I caught these in Scugog Lake" would also be proof. On the other hand, gas, bait, food or accomodation receipts from Port Perry, for example, would suggest to the officer that your fish are perfectly legitimate. This issue is universal, whether we are talking about fish or game, where we have variable open seasons, limits, or other regulations which are geographically based. Officers will always ask questions - you need to realize that they are doing so to protect resources for all of us.


Question 90:

I recently heard that Georgian Bay is closed for Lake Trout indefinitely. My questions are: 1) Is this true? 2) What are the boundaries? 3) Why was this not included with the Fishing Reg's 2000? 4) Why were these regulations changed if true?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

Only partly true. All of Georgian Bay itself is not closed, only a portion of it. The closed area is referred to in the regulations as QMA 5-8, which, in general, is the area of Owen Sound, Colpoys Bay and around over to a straight line north of Craigleith. [Please contact the area office in Owen Sound for particulars at (519) 376-3860]. This closure has been effected by a legal instrument under the Fisheries Act, known as a Variation Order, and will remain closed under this order until December 31/00. Variation orders are used in emergent situations where populations need to be protected more quickly because of overharvest, habitat losses or other instances where we don't have the luxury of working a change through the full regulations process (season changes take about two years to get through the regulatory process). In this case the variation order was passed after the regulations summary was printed - hence no reference to the order. That is one reason why we always try to let you know that you should not be totally reliant on the summaries - see the "important notice" piece at the bottom of page ii (under the Minister's message).


Question 89:

I was looking at the reg's as they pretain to central Ontario, and was wondering if 'Twelve Mile Bay', 'Woods Bay' and 'Moon river Bay' are considered part of division 16 or 15?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

These bays are all in Georgian Bay, and they are therefore part of Division 16, which covers all of the Bay except for a portion of Matchedash bay east of Hwy. 69.


Question 88:

What exactly is the legality of catching a fish in one lake, passing through a lock into another, then releasing that fish into the new lake when you catch a bigger bass?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

Two legal issues here. The first is that it is illegal to transplant fish from one body of water to another without permits. The second thing to consider is that the fish that you "cull" is still part of your daily limit. In other words, you ought to be deciding when you first catch your fish if you are going to keep it or not. I recently read a study that determined mortality rates for "catch and cull" to be more than TWENTY TIMES greater that "catch and immediately release".


Question 87:

I saw this while surfing the web this morning. Please have a look ... it sounds like this guy needs a serious talking to, as I don't believe it's legal to fence off part of any lake. Thanks. The URL is: http://www.zoo.utoronto.ca/FUN/Fmessages/11806.html

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

There are a number of serious issues here that certainly suggest action. The information has been forwarded to the local district for follow up with the complainant.

However, I can only suggest to each and every one of you that the proper forum for getting these issues on the table is by dealing with the district enforcement staff. Keeping in mind that there are three sides to every story, the type of situation that this post suggests does absolutely nothing for the sport. However, grousing about this on a list server is analagous to me posting a complaint on my web page that my house has been robbed or ransacked instead of calling police.

The other thing that we all have to be prepared to do is follow up on complaints. The district has already investigated similar matters on Simcoe, but were unable to proceed any further because the complainants would not testify in court. We cannot do our part if we can't find a complainant who will testify.


Question 86:

How big does a portable hut have to be before it has to have a registration number on it?It does not stay on the ice ,goes in and out every time I go out.

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

The regulation governing ice huts applies to all huts that are placed, used or being occupied. Therefore the fact that your hut is being taken in and out on a daily basis does not change the requirement to affix a registration number. In respect to size, the regulation "does not apply with respect to a tent made of cloth or synthetic fabric that has a basal area of two square metres or less when erected."


Question 85:

I have noticed an explosion in the rock bass population on a particular lake I frequent. The lake presently has small-sized smallmouth and largemouth in it. A conservative ratio of rock bass to "real" bass is about 18:1. Will culling the rock bass population help the smallie and largemouth numbers increase and attain a larger size? If so, how can I legally do this?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

The first part of your question really belongs on the "Ask the bio.." site. Each lake situation is so complex that we can only talk about generalities. Keep in mind that those 18 Rocks might be a months worth of food for your "real" bass. If there are no forage species, you will be competing with the "real" bass for "real" bass! Legally, you can catch all the Rock Bass you can afford to feed worms to! What you need to know, however, is that you are responsible for ensuring that any fish caught and retained which are edible are not allowed to spoil. Occasionally, cottage associations will have pan fish derbies, followed by a lake wide fish fry. Probably a great opportunity to meet your neighbours, have some fun, maybe raise some funds that can be re-invested into the lake……


Question 84:

I am a cottager on a small lake that contains a poor lake trout population (I assume this is the case because of the extended closed season on them and the unavailability of ice fishing, not to mention that there are only 3-4 of us regular anglers on the lake and we do not often have lake trout stories). Under what circumstances would the MNR agree to stock such a lake with an alternate species of fish, such as brook trout or splake, to supplement the already existing one? We are even willing to pay for the fish!

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

Talk to your local district biologist, C.O.'s and area managers! Fish biology is way too complex to cover in the short response type format which we use here. Who knows, maybe all that needs to be done is for you and your buddies to "adopt" your lake and reclaim it with a Community Fisheries project - we pay the costs, you do the work! Generally, natural reproduction is still preferable to stocking if it can be managed.


Question 83:

I have a cottage on a lake north of Peterborough which contains lake trout and rock bass, however the lake is deemed a fish sanctuary during part of the season (Dec 1 to May 19). I was wondering if I am still allowed to fish for rock bass to pass the time until the lake trout season opens (May 20), even though the regulations state "Fish sanctuary - no fishing from Dec 1 - May 19"?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

Sorry, "No Fishing" means "No Fishing", whether for trout or pan fish.


Question 82:

NY state has a new spring smallie season in Lake Erie. I am not sure of the details but I was wondering, is Ontario going to have one

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

This idea was discussed a couple of years ago, here in Ontario and, after a series of public consultations, was shelved. There is no desire at this time that I am aware of, to revitatlize this issue.


Question 81:

As an ice fisherman in Ont in Peterboro county I would like to know why we have to travel 50 miles to ice fish with all the good lakes we have such as rice stoney belmont and long all healthy lakes. Also some years ago they closed Chandos I think suppose to be fore five years must be ten years now when if ever are we going to get this back I would like to see some action on this matter

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

The story I have heard from local district staff was that these seasons were closed because they felt that many of the lakes (including the ones you have referred to) could not sustain both a heavy sunmmer and winter season. In part this is because of the incredible amount of fishing opportunities which these lakes provide in the open water seasons. For example,I, too, live in this area, crossing the Trent River every day on my way to and from work. In the three years since I have moved here, I have never crossed that bridge at any time, day or night, seven days a week, rain, snow, sleet…that there has not been someone [and often times several people] fishing during the open season.

Certainly, however, district staff need to be aware of your concerns. I can only suggest that you, as well as all anglers, need to continue to discuss your concerns with your district officers, biologists, and area managers and to try and work out solutions that address everyone's issues.


Question 80:

There is open season for Pacific salmon in all areas of the province except for the Boyne, Pine. Nottawasaga and the Coldwater rivers and certain creeks. Fishing is restricted to trout season dates and upstream (inaccessible) locations. Why is this? Is the Georgian Bay salmon fishery in trouble? I read in the February 2000 edition of Ontario Out of Doors that salmonid reproduction is inhibited by alewives as a dietary source. The opinion has often been expressed that while salmon spawned they were, in the main, sterile. Is this the reason for the new restrictions?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

The district advises that the changes were a result of a regulations review conducted by the Lake Huron Management Unit. At that time, the season was changed, not as a result of any salmon population issues, but to remove the incidental catch and removal of rainbows by those who fished salmon during the closed season for rainbows. Now trout and salmon seasons are harmonized to alleviate the pressure on the "bows".


Question 79:

I am a student a George Brown enrolled in the Event Management program. My final examination involves a mock creation of a community event. I have some questions which only you can answer as my event revolves around a fishing derby of approximately 400 people on Lake Nippissing in February. Firstly, would a fishing derby involving 400 people and 150 fishing huts be legal and plausable from a government perspective? Who's permission is necessary to O.K. this sort of event? What lisences can you think of that are needed to conduct a fishing derby? If the derby will be donating money to a charitable cause, are their usually deductions in license fees? What are the restrictions in catching fish per person? If you have 400 people fishing one lake on the same day, do these restrictions vary? Can you tell me who is in charge of measuring ice thickness? If I was to organise masses of people to be on ice at the same time I will need safety guidlines to follow. Do you who I would contact in this matter? If I wanted to serve alcohol and food on ice (in marquee), what regulations ect. are incurred? Lastly, I want to thank you so much for your help in this matter. I'm sorry I have so many questions but this is an event which evokes a lot of research and you are the only ones expert in the field to help me out.

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

Lots of great questions! You may be surprised to hear that, in general, fishing tournaments or derbies are not regulated at this time in Ontario. So, yes, a tournament of 400+ folks and huts would be legal - as wpould be one of 40 or 4000. You ask if this concept is plausible? Well, if you mean do tournaments of this scale occur, then the answer is certainly yes. Because there are no licence fees for tournament organizers in Ontario at this time, there obviously is no "charity discount". All normal requirements for individual licencing and seasons, catch and retain limits apply - there are no provisions for altering any rules because of the group dimension. As for the rest of your questions, well, I can only suggest that major event management means dealing with multiple levels and various departments of government and my thoughts on where to go are purely speculative and would need further follow up on your part….

Ice thickness monitoring and judgements re: safety are not part of the MNR's mandate. There would definitely be some concerns around liability in this regard which may rest with organizing group. I would suggest that you could get direction around minimum thickness for ice travel from any number of public safety organizations, but would be looking at well over a couple feet [which of course can be found on places on Nipissing in most February].

Licencing information for food may be a municipal matter, but you are asking the wrong person here. Liquor licencing for special events is managed by the LCBO and you would definitely need some sort of permit, but they could better advise you.


Question 78:

I regularly fish lake simco in the winter with a conservation license. Checking this years guide the limit for whitefish is the same with a conservation license as with the full icense. Is this a typo? Or can I really take out 2 with a conservation license?

Asked April 5/00

Answer from the MNR

This is not a typo, but this situation is one of only a handful in the province where the catch and retain limit is the same for both a conservation licence and the regular sport fishing licence.


Question 77:

Watch an US fishing show yesterday, host was fishing smallmouth bass specifically, the first week of June in 'Reed' Bay, Wolfe Island, Lake Ontario. Is there an early season opening on bass in that part of the lake. If not, why is he telling people, that this is the finest fishery in the world and to come up there the first week of June to experience it. The show in question is 'Hank Parker Outdoors' aired on TNN on Feb.6/00. Please clarify this.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Will forward info to the district for follow-up. There is no Bass season in that part of Ontario at that time (Not sure about US side as a part of the waters by Wolfe Island are NY state). This would be an offence if it is as you have relayed information. Will advise results when they are completed. There are parts of Ontario however (eg Division 19) that currently have no closed season for bass.


Question 76:

If your on a fishing trip and the daily limit on brook trout is five and you are fishing for a week are you allowed to bring back 10 trout or 5 thanks.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

In general the daily catch and possession limits are the same, so the possession limit is also 5, not 10. There are a few instances where the possession limit is a multiple of the daily catch limit (for example the daily Perch limit on L. Simcoe is 50; the possession limit is 100).With respect to trout there are only Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods in NW Ontario that have larger posession limits than daily catch limits for lake trout. You must look at the "Exceptions to the General Regulations" in the fishing summary for the particular lake or part of a lake that you will be fishing.


Question 75:

Annually, I take my son (who is 8 yrs of age this year) on a canoe trip with a freind and his sons. My son enjoys fishing on this trip. However, I neither fish nor posses a fishing licence. Is there any reason I should acquire a fishing license if I am in a canoe with my son, and he is fishing, but I am not. Am I permitted to assist him in releasing a snag or casting his line if needed, even though I don't have a licence. In these instances, you can be sure that we have only one line in the water and are in possesion of only one fishing rod.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

The only reason you should acquire a Sport Fishing licence is because you are missing on of the nicest parts of any canoe trip - wetting a line yourself!! You may assist your son with a snag or putting a bait on his hook, but cannot cast, retrieve, or otherwise work his line for, at that point, you have started to angle yourself and could be charged for fishing without a licence.


Question 74:

I am currently a graduate student in chiropractic that is an avid angler of Ontario's cold water fish spieces. I worked for the MNR for 4 years in the parks system. I wish to plan a couple of trips into the areas south and west of algonquin. If you could lead me in the correct direction as to were to obtain stocking lists for brook trout in these areas would be greatly appreciated. The area's in particular that I need the listings for are Livingstone township ( north of Dorset) and the South river area,west of the park.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

These areas are both in the Bancroft district; you should contact this offce for details. Contact info is located in Fishing summary, located on-line at:http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html


Question 73:

I am planning a trip to fish some Canadian water soon. Do Native peoples from the US side need to have a license? Our Nation (Haudenosaunee- Tuscarora)has treaty rights to preserve hunting and fishing activities in Canada.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Please see my earlier response to a similar type question (Question #61, below)


Question 72:

What ethnic group forms the largest part of your charges laid to date?

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

The majority of fishing related charges are laid against anglers; the most hunting related charges are laid against hunters! Funny that. Sorry, we do not track nor do we act on the basis of ethnicity.


Question 71:

I was wondering what the penalty is for fishing while not in possession of an Ontario license. I ask this because just recently I drove an hour to go fishing and realized I left my license in my wallet at home. I have a valid license, it just wasn't on me. I had people tell me that a CO could confiscate all of my gear, car etc, and I was wondering if this is true, because it seems very unreasonable.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

You could be charged with "Failing to Carry Licence on Person when Angling" The maximum penalty for this is $25,000.00 + 1 year in jail, plus loss of all equipment seized, plus a lifetime loss of fishing priveledges. OK, seriously, that is likely not going to happen. The out of court fine [set fine] for this is currently just over $100, equipment would likely be seized if you have no identification to verify who you are and could be returned once fines are paid.

PS. You are also liable to charges under Highway Traffic Act for failing to carry Driver's Licence and Insurance (if they are at home in your wallet!)


Question 70:

How do you go about becoming a CO. what courses at what schools. what type of money is made by CO's. what does your job entail and are there opportunities to move up?

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

You need to contact any district office or the Natural Resources Information Centre for a copy of a brochure called "Conservation Officers - Who we are and What we do". Or, drop in and visit us at either the Fishing Show (Feb 17-20 Int'l Centre) or the Sportsmans Show (March Break at the CNE). In brief:

-you need to be a graduate Resource Technician or equivalent

-all jobs are posted for competition

-CO's make just under $25 hr

-work entails mainly compliance (awareness and education, monitoring and inspection, and enforcement of all resource related statutes,[i.e., Fish and Wildlife, Forestry, Aggregates, Public Lands, Fire] some biological work depending on work location)

-yes, plenty of opportunities, but most CO's feel they already have the best job in the MNR!


Question 69:

Is it legal to use real perch eyes (removed from freshly killed yellow perch) for ice fishing bait in Ontario? Have fished in Alberta in winter and fresh perch eyes on a jig are effective for perch.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, you have discovered one of my favourite Perch baits!! The only restrictions you have to consider are:

a) this would be illegal in those lakes or area's which prohibit the use of organic baits, and

b) you cannot use any live fish for bait except bait fish (exception Great Lakes), so don't extrapolate that if it is OK to use the eyes then it is OK to use the whole live fish - not necessarily so!


Question 68:

I have steadily fished the Nine Mile River north of Goderich for the past ten years, and have not noticed large quantities of Coho Salmon spawning there in the fall untill the last two falls. During on trip in early november this past year I must have seen maybe 200 Coho's concentrated in 3 pools from the fish ladder to the hwy. 21 bridge. Where have these Salmon come from?

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

This good information and observations. You need to pass this in to the local district biologist, who could return the favour by providing you with local stocking lists that would tell you if these salmon are coming from local stocks.


Question 67:

I am hoping you can help me. I am looking for a map of Lake Simcoe that shows the depths of the water and also the shoals, islands etc.

Asked March 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

For local information, you need to contact the local district office which is responsible for any particular water body which you are interested in. In this case, Lake Simcoe is mainly located in the Aurora district. You need to contact them direct. A smaller portion of the lake is in the Midhurst district and they could also help you if that is more convenient. All district offices and their phones and addresses are located in any copy of the Fishing and Hunting summaries.


Question 66:

Is it illegal to possess a fish if you don't have a fishing liscence?

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, any person may possess a limit of fish taken by sport fishing. That is to say, any angler can give a neighbour or family member a few fish that they have taken and the person may receive them, so long as the gift does not put the recipient over their possession limit for that species.

Keep in mind however, that although you may give some of your fish away and would therefore no longer be in possession of these fish, there are two limits which apply to all anglers. The first is the possession limit – you cannot possess more fish than you are permitted for the body of water that the fish were taken from. The second limit is the daily catch and retain limit – the number of fish that you may take daily. Many times this limit is the same as the possession limit. Once you have caught and retained a limit of fish in one day, you may not catch and retain any more fish on that day. What this means is that even if you no longer possess a limit of fish today – say because you have given them to someone (or eaten them for a shore lunch), you still may not catch and retain any more fish if you had already caught and kept your daily limit.


Question 65:

When I am ice Fishing in Lake Nipissing (North Bay) is there a limit of pickerel per person? Is there a size limit? Has it been reduced from 6 to 4? And if so, why?(again, Lake Nipissing) Why has the fishing licence went from $15.00 to $20.00?Why do you take 2 fish away from my possesion and then add $5.00 to my licence? What are your reasons?

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Seven questions! Goodness, didn't anyone tell you the ask and possession limit for questions is four!!!! OK, seriously,…

Lake Nipissing is Division 27. There is a walleye catch and possession limits here (as there are in one shape or another through the entire province). Whether you are ice or open water fishing does not affect your catch limit. The walleye catch and possession limit for Nipissing is four fish with a sport fishing licence and two fish with a conservation licence.

Why? That question could be better answered by the district staff who initiate the changes, but as a general rule catch limits are reduced when either:

-the overall catch is exceeding the sustainable limit of the water body. I.e. the total numbers of anglers are taking more fish out than the harvestable allocation, or

-the productivity of the lake has been reduced because of loss of habitat, deteriorating water quality, disease, or some other external influence.

Sustainable resource management is a lot like managing your bank account. If you are doing it right, you can live off of the interest. If you are taking all of the interest, and taking some of the principle as well, you soon will have (like me!) and empty bank account - or a fished out lake!

The licence fee increase was the first in seven years and was necessary to bring more funds into the Special Purpose Account (SPA). All funds from hunting and fishing licence sales are deposited into the SPA. All of this money is used in the management of our fish and wildlife resources. We would like to think that $20 for a full year of recreation and access to over 250,000 lakes with some of the best fishing in the world is not too high a price to pay. Please have a look at page iii (right at the beginning) of the Fishing Summary to see how some of your licence dollars are being spent. You should also know that it takes more than all of the SPA funds to manage our resources and that general taxpayer revenue supplements the SPA funds by about $20 million annually.


Question 64:

At caledonia (Grand River) i see people fishing within 25ft of the dam and casting directly into the plunge pools! Is there a exemtion for this area! I see all types of people doing it, steelheaders, jig-fishermen, spinner-fishermen and even fly-fishermen. I also see people fishing from shore standing directly beside the fish ladder. Please can you clarify this concern i have!!!!!!!!!!

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

See Question 54 below


Question 63:

Hi, I live in Toronto west end.I would like to know if I am allowed to trap or net minnows in Humber River for personal use. I just have a regular fishing licence. If yes is there a possession or a catch limit. Thank You in advance.

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, you may catch your own bait fish for personal use. You may do this by means of one baitfish trap. The trap must be clearly marked with your name on it and be not larger than 51 cm (20 in.) long and 31 cm (12 in.) wide. You may also use a dip net, not larger than 183 cm (6ft)in diameter or width or a seine net, not larger than 10 m.(32.8 ft.) in length and 2 m. (6.5 ft) in width. The catch and possession limit for bait fish is 10 dozen (120) at any time. You should look at page 7 of the 2000 Fishing summary for more information (list of 'bait fish' species, other baits) and page 11 for rules on equipment. You can find the year 2000 fishing summary on-line at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/pubs/pubmenu.html


Question 62:

I would like to know what the ruling would be in regards to the following: You are fishing Lake Simcoe (as an example) and this is during the "winter/ice fishing season". There is no safe ice, but you can access the lake using a boat.

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

First, let me begin by saying that there is no "winter ice fishing season". Seasons are set for individual fish species by calendar dates. This means that you might be fishing for walleye, for example, in open water on one lake and through ice in another, while on a third you might be in a situation such as you have presented.

1/ Is it legal to fish during this "season" from a boat?

Absolutely!

2/ What is the law in regards to using "2 lines" as in ice fishing where permitted if #1 above is legal?

The general rule is that "when fishing through ice, two lines are permitted; when fishing in open water, one line is permitted"

3/ What would be the ruling in the case of "shore fishing" open water for the above scenario (ie 2 lines) etc.?

Open water = 1 line.

4/ What about the following scenario (I have seen it many times) ... guys Rainbow fishing at the Ganny using a tip-up set on the ice, while fishing the open water with regular fishing tackle. (They are within the required legal distance you must be from your tip-up etc.)?

As we looked at above, you can fish with one line in open water and two lines through the ice. Provided that you meet all of the other criteria, (closely attended, no more than 60 metres from lines, clear and unobstructed view) then there is no problem with the situation as you have described it.

You should note there are exceptions to both the open water = one line rule and the through ice = two lines rule. These include:

- a provision for two lines in open water when fishing parts Lake Ontario and Lake Erie from a boat

- a provision for up to five lines when fishing in parts of Div. 19 (Timiskaming)

- a restriction to one line through ice in parts of Divisions 7,15, 16, and 29)


Question 61:

Four of us are planning a trip to the Bay of Quinte this January, seeking some perch and walleye action. Two of us reside on the Tuscarora Indian Nation near Niagara Falls, NY, one of the Six Nations that comprises the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. We all have the red ID cards issued by the Confederacy (like those of the Six Nations @ Grand River)and an ecolologically-minded sense of conservation; that is we do not make a practice out of harvesting fish and game prohibitted by the MNR or NYSDEC recommendations which guide responsible resource management today. However, as residents and citizens of the sovereign Tuscarora Nation, we avoid the governance by another state, provincial or federal institution over our hunting and fishing activities in the form of a license or permit. Since the Bay of Quinte falls within the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, and since our hunting and fishing rights have remain unchanged since time immemorial (affirmed by the treaties existing between the US, Canada and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy), does the MNR still require a Haudenosaunee person from the states to buy an Ontario fishing license to fish in the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee?

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

The questions you have raised are not straight forward and, because of the differing views on subjects like the 1701 Albany Deed and it's interpretation, the answers to your questions are rather complex. It would be best to direct your specific request and situation to the local district office that administers the Bay of Quinte area. You should direct your questions to the District Enforcement Supervisor for that area, Gary Brown, at: gary.brown@mnr.gov.on.ca


Question 60:

Can a tip up be spring loaded to set the hook automatically upon a strike?

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

This type of device would likely be classified as a spring gaff and therefore would be illegal to use. Your description is rather vague, so I am not able to give you an 'absolutely, certainly' answer, but the general rule is that spring loaded devices which impale the fish in any way are deemed to be spring gaffs.


Question 59:

I read in the 1999 fishing regs. that there are two types of lakes being controlled by the MNR stocked and not stocked. Is there a list available of those lakes? I am from Scotland and am continually frustrated by not knowing where to fish and for what!

Asked Feb 01/00

Answer from the MNR:

Welcome, Scotty! The short answer to your question is that stocking lists are available on a district by district basis at the MNR office that is responsible for the area that you plan on fishing in. District staff can also tell you what fish species are found in any of the lakes in their district. The addresses and phone numbers for the District and area offices are listed in your fishing summary. However, you can really find out where the fish are biting by:

-visiting the angler chat lines on the web,

-subscribing to local fishing and hunting publications, or

-best resource of all, getting involved and active in your local fish and game club.

The lads there know where the fish are and what catches 'em. If they see you are willing to put back a little by getting involved in local fisheries projects, it won't be long before they are sharing a few tips about the 'hot spots' with you.


Question 58:

Is chumming (using loose salmon roe) in streams legal or illegal?

Asked December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, this practice is legal, assuming that the roe us legally obtained (i.e. Purchased from a fish farmer, removed from a legally caught and retained fish, etc.) See earlier response

UPDATE JAN. 2000 - Yes it is legal to chum with bait such as you suggested and with salted minnows in places like Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. In October,1999, as of condition of licence, baitfish harvesters and dealers could no longer acquire minnows for the purpose of preserving them with salt. Nor longer are they permitted to sell salted minnows either. The MNR along with the Baitfish industry felt it was a huge waste of the resource to harvest millions of minnows, for the sole purpose of salting them down, so that anglers can chum their holes. Anglers however may still salt down their 120 baitfish limit and chum if they wish. An angler could also salt down and chum with half of his limit (60 minnows) and retain another 60 minnows for use as bait. Other chumming products such as maggots, barley, sago, tapioca and even macaroni noodles have been used with success and will no doubt increase in popularity as the widespread use of salted minnows declines. There is some evidence to suggest that kernels of corn are difficult to digest and therefore harmful for many fish species. With this in mind it is recommended that corn not be used for chumming purposes.

 


Question 57:

ANY IDEA WHEN THE REGULATIONS WILL BE SET FOR NW ONTARIO..WOULD LOVE TO FISH THAT AREA, HOWEVER TUFF TO JUSTIFY 1400 MI ROUND TRIP FOR 2 WALLY'S

Asked December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

You did not indicate whether your were a resident or not, so I will explain how the regulations work for both..

In NW Ontario generally described by Map E in the 2000 Fishing Summary, the daily catch and retain and posession limit for walleye is 4. This applies to residents and non-residents with seasonal licences. The Conservation Licence limit is 2. Size restrictions apply.

There is a border water area within the NW Ontario that further restricts only non-resident anglers. These restrictions are described on page 80 and 81 of the 2000 Fishing Summary. Generally speaking the posession limit is still 4 , however the daily catch and retain limits are reduced to 2 or 1 depending on the area fished and time of season. Size restrictions apply.


Question 56:

The discovery this last spring that a fish ladder had been installed on the Humber River (near Eglington Av.) but a few minutes from home was truly the realization of a childhood dream of mine. Having fished the river several times this fall, it has gotten me wondering however as to how some regulations shall apply to this new fishery.

1. Shall the water beneath each weir be considered a sanctuary area as per the regulations, whether or not there is a fish ladder or sign indicating a sanctuary. Since fishermen were allowed to fish directly below the Old Mill dam for years, I suspect that this may be a source of confusion for some time.

2. Having (much to my pleasant surprise) caught a mixed bag of tiny largemouths, a small coho and two rainbows, I would like to know how the regulations apply when the river offers a mixed bag of trout and salmon. Is it okay to fish the river in the autumn when salmon can reasonably be expected, a trend that shall likley increase due to the resumed stocking of the smaller cohos. It appears as if they are better equipped to jump the many weirs on the river than our larger chinooks, and should be returning in much greater numbers by next fall.

Asked December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

In response to 1.

The offence that you are referring to is covered in the Fisheries Act, section 27[c], which reads: "No person shall… (c) fish in any manner within twenty-five yards downstream from the lower entrance to any fish-way, canal, obstacle or leap."

Ministry policy and direction to enforcement officers has always been that this section is intended to protect fish which may be staging below a fishway or other device intended to assist migrating fish around an obstacle. It needs to be read in the context of the rest of the section, which deals with fish migration. There is no intent that anglers could not fish below every dam or obstacle in the province, but that this section would be applied where there is a fish ladder or similar device. In this case, if there is now a new ladder, then the prohibition from fishing within 75feet of the downstream entrance would apply.

In response to 2.

If you are asking if you can incidentally catch one species of fish while targeting another, the answer is yes, this does happen, but any such fish caught must immediately be returned to the water in a manner that causes them the least harm.

On the other hand, attempting to catch fish during the closed season is an offence whether or not the targeted fish are caught and/or kept. Officers are directed to examine the gear which is being used and if it is only appropriate for species for which the season is closed, to consider charges. However, if the gear is appropriate for a species for which the seasons are open as well as others which are closed, then there may only be an offence if it can be determined that the closed season fish are specifically targeted.


Question 55:

Where can one get detailed information on these new developments in the Humber watershed; i.e. opportunities for volunteers to help, stocking figures, and the latest developments in barrier removals, storm sewer upgrades, yellow fish projects, etc. I have spent much time searching for such information with only modest success.

Asked December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

The management of the Humber watershed is a part of the responsibility of the Aurora District office. You may wish to contact that office and ask to speak to the area biologist and/or technician responsible for this watershed. You can reach the Aurora office at: (905) 713-7400.


Question 54:

I am wondering about the no-fishing with-in 25 meters of a barrier,ie..dams & fish ladders. I see people fishing at the Caledonia dam on the grand river, with-in 25 feet! of the dam and even closer to the fish ladder. WHY ? And it is not just once and awhile it is almost everyday and weekend! Is there a reason for this is there a exclusion of the rules for this area?

Asked December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

The offence that you are referring to is covered in the Fisheries Act, section 27[c], which reads: "No person shall… (c) fish in any manner within twenty-five yards downstream from the lower entrance to any fish-way, canal, obstacle or leap." Ministry policy and direction to enforcement officers has always been that this section is intended to protect fish which may be staging below a fishway or other device intended to assist migrating fish around an obstacle. It needs to be read in the context of the rest of the section, which deals with fish migration. There is no intent that anglers could not fish below every dam or obstacle in the province, but that this section would be applied where there is a fish ladder or similar device. In this case, if there were a ladder, then the prohibition from fishing within 75feet of the downstream entrance would apply.

When you come across this type of violation, or any other, don't forget to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. Not only will your complaint be passed on to a Conservation Officer in a timely manner, but you may also be eligible for a cash reward for your information and, of course, you will remain anonymous!


Question 53:

What are the chances of adding an "Ask The MNR Biologist" to this forum?

Asked December 31/99

Answer from the MNR:

I have no idea! You may wish to put this idea forward to the MNR's Fish & Wildlife Branch folks in Peterborough and/or the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Board.

 


Question 52:

Hello. I am in grade 10 and am doing a school project about fishing in Canada. I was wondering if you have any information regarding what government and other protection agencies have done in the past to control the amount of fish being caught in the great lakes, and what must be done to control fish populations (population charts/graphs of different fish species) I would also like any informationom how the state of freshwater has been over the years and how does it effect fish populations.

Asked December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

For information on fish and wildlife biology and management, you should have a look at the MNR home page at www.mnr.gov.on.ca , to answer specific questions you can contact the MNR's Information center

By e-mail at: Mnr.nric@mnr.gov.on.ca

By phone at: 1-800-667-1940 (in Toronto 314-2000)

By conventional mail at: Ministry of Natural Resources Natural Resources Information Centre P.O. Box 7000 300 Water St. Peterborough, ON K9J 8M5

 


Question 51:

My parents have a cottage on Bay lake in Faraday township and the regulations presently do not permit ice fishing for lake trout. I was wondering if there been any decisions made on opening up the lake to ice fishing for lakers in the near future?

Asked December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

Response received from Bancroft District

Bay Lake is one of approx. 50 lakes in the district that is closed to winter fishing. The lake closures were a fisheries management decision directed at protecting populations of natural reproducing Lake Trout. The closures were used on smaller lakes. There are numerous nearby lakes where winter angling is allowed. There are no plans at present to open those closed lakes up. Further information on fisheries management in the district can be obtained by calling the district and talking with the area biologist.


Question 50:

How many years back can someone obtain stocking lists from the MNR for a particular area?

Asked December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

The answer to this question will vary from District to District. While these lists are produced to respond to inquiries on an annual basis, i.e we want to tell you which lakes we have stocked in the last year, most districts will hang on to older lists until they have run out

 


Question 49:

When I go fishing with my kids (6 and 3 years old) can each of us keep a full limit or do the kids fish count as part of my limit ?

The particular example. Lake Trout on Big Rideau has a 2 fish limit. If I take my two kids, can I keep 6 trout or just 2.

Asked December 13/99

Answer from the MNR:

You should note that the question that you have asked and the example you have given are not the same. Freudian?

The answer to your question is, "yes" each of you can catch and retain your daily limit. This provision only applies to resident anglers.

Non-residents who fish with their children need to include their children's fish in with the licenced angler's fish unless the children have purchased non-resident angling licences.

HOWEVER, it should be very clear that fish catch and retain and possession limits remain with the individual. There are no provisons for 'party fishing' in Ontario. Therefore, in the example you gave (Lake Trout on the Big Rideau) you can only catch and retain two fish and each of your children may also only catch and retain two fish each.

This has application to all anglers and not just in a father/child situation. For example, when my wife outfishes me, which she often does, she cannot catch her limit and then begin working on mine!!!!

 


Question 48:

l have heard a roomer that they are going to put a limit on minnows this year in Lake Simcoe area....live and salted., 150 per person.

Asked November 29/99

Answer from the MNR:

MNR UPDATE: the regulation limiting the number of baitfish to 10 dozen year round has been passed and is in effect, as well as the prohibition on the commercial production of 'salties'. To view the press release for new fishing regulation changes by visiting:

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR/csb/news/dec13nr99.html

I will attempt to answer your question in two parts as it deals with two separate initiatives which are happening at the same time.

The first part is the limitation on the possession of baitfish. At present, the possession limit is 10 dozen baitfish from April 1 to October 14 and 18 kg from October 15 to March 31. The new regulation will consolodate the summer ‘numbers limit’ and the winter ‘weight limit’.

The new limit would be province-wide and 10 dozen (120 minnows). This is an Ontario Fisheries Regulation (federal legislation) amendment that is still pending in Ottawa but should be passed very early in the new year. The second part if the answer deals with the issue if salties and I have clipped the proposal legislative change which deals with this off of the Environmental Registry page at http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/Ebrquery_REG.htm

“The Use Of "Salties" As Bait

Thousands of pounds of salted minnows are dumped down ice fishing holes each year as "chum" to attract other fish species to the area. Resource conservation concerns regarding over-harvesting of certain minnow species in Lakes Erie and Simcoe are on the increase. In 1997, the Lake Erie Bait-fish Management Committee, comprised of industry representatives and MNR staff, recommended a provincial ban on the harvest and sale of minnows (largely emerald shiners) as salted bait (known as "salties" ). Both the industry and MNR see this as a wasteful practice that undervalues bait-fish resources and threatens the forage base of Lake Erie and Lake Simcoe.

MNR is working closely with the Lake Erie Bait-fish Management Committee, the BAO and others to take steps to curtail this practice. As a first step, the BAO recommended that a limit of 500 pounds of salted bait-fish be implemented in 1998 on commercial harvest licences in Lake Erie, including the Niagara River. A similar condition is already in place on harvest licences on Lake Simcoe. This limit was put in place for 1998 as an interim measure to address potential conservation concerns.

The proposal is to ban the commercialization and sale of salted bait. To give legal effect to this proposal, an amendment would be made to O. Reg. 664/98 (Fish Licensing).”


Question 47:

Hello i was just wondering if Hamilton harbour is considered region 2 or 4? In the regulations summary it isn't outlined for region 2. So does that mean Rainbow Trout is closed because it would be considered region 4 but for Grindstone creek it is open from Hwy.2 to the Hamilton Harbour all year. How is the part of the creek open all year flowing into the harbour but the harbours closed. Are my eyes seeing a different harbour on the map or is there something wrong there? Please e-mail me back for I would like to fish in the harbour soon but do not know if it is legal.

Asked November 29/99

Answer from the MNR:

Hamilton Harbour is considered to be part of “the waters of Lake Ontario” and is therefore Division 2. Happy Fishing!!


Question 46:

This question is regarding one of the posts on the FAQ page. This post is noted below.

Question:

Is it legal to release fish in excellent shape from your stringer and replace it with another one?

Asked November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

The short answer is "yes,but…" that is legal. However, both fish are counted towards your daily limit. You cannot "stringer sort" fish and continue to work off of a limit of fish. Once you have made the decision to either immediately release or keep a fish which you have caught, any fish retained are counted towards your daily "catch and retain" limit. This also applies to live wells or any other holding devices!

According to this answer above, myself and many other tournament anglers, break the law regularly when fishing bass tournaments. I seen days when 10 or more bass get culled during a tournament.

Can you verify this.

Asked November 29/99

Answer from the MNR:

You are right. Culling, stringer sorting, high-grading,….call it what you wish is not a legal practice under Ontario Fishery Regulations which say “…no person…shall catch and retain in any day or at any time possess….more fish of a species…” (bold and underline added) While you are OK from the perspective of ‘possession’, you have “caught and retained” more than a limit on that day.

 


Question 45:

PAGE 23 OF 1999 REGULATIONS SUMMARY (EXCEPTIONS) MAITLAND RIVER APRIL24(LAST SAT.)-DEC.31 OPEN SEASON MAITLAND RIVER (FISH SANCTUARY JAN1-APRIL30 & OCT.1-DEC.31

MAITLAND RIVER BETWEEN HWY.21 AND BRIDGE ON HWY.4

WHITCH DATES ARE THE PROPER SEASON FOR FISHING ABOVE HWY.21 BRIDGE APRIL 24-DEC.31 (OR) APRIL30-OCT.1

Asked November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

With Fisheries folks


Question 44:

Is it legal to release fish in excellent shape from your stringer and replace it with another one?

Asked November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

The short answer is "yes,but…" that is legal. However, both fish are counted towards your daily limit. You cannot "stringer sort" fish and continue to work off of a limit of fish. Once you have made the decision to either immediately release or keep a fish which you have caught, any fish retained are counted towards your daily "catch and retain" limit. This also applies to live wells or any other holding devices!


Question 43:

Last spring before the trout opener I went to the sturgeon river. When I arrived to the year round open section I found notices that it had been closed. Is there a section of the sturgeon that is open year round? If so, what are the boundaries and open-close dates?

Asked November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Please give me more info…there are a number of "Sturgeon River's" in the Province. Which management unit are we talking about, what is the closest MNR district?


Question 42:

I've been seeing alot of people fishing at highlandcreek{morningside park} isn't that an ILLEGAL fishing spot!!! Because it sits north of kingston rd. Or is it ok because of the scarborough campus.

Asked November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

Highland Creek is located in Division 4 in our Fishing Regulations Summary. In this division, salmon have a year round open season, so therefore can be fished legally all year. Naturally, an angler does not have the right to trespass onto private property, so the place that he/she goes fishing either has to be a public area, such as a park - or permission from the landowner to access and fish on private property must be obtained. Rainbow and brown trout season closed on Sept. 30 in Division 4, so you cannot fish for these species anywhere on Highland Creek between Sept.30 and the regular trout opener on the last Saturday in April.


Question 41:

Is the limit for perch with a regular license

  • -50 on Lake St.Clair
  • -50 on Lake Simcoe.

Ice fishing magazine (In-fisherman publication) listed Lake Simcoe's limit as 100 perch per day! What's correct?

Asked November 22/99

Answer from the MNR:

The correct daily limit for Perch with a regular angling licence from Lake Simcoe is 50 fish. It is also 50 fish from Lake St. Clair.(Division 1) The difference is that the possession limit (that is the number of fish held in possession from more than one day's outing) is 100 for Lake Simcoe. (Division 5) If Ice Fishing Magazine listed the Simcoe daily limit as 100, they are incorrect. If they listed the possession limit as 100, they are correct.


Question 40:

Is it necessary to individualy wrap pan fish for freezing like you would walleye for proper identification.

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes pan fish, coarse fish or any others are included in the regulation. The reg states that all fish must be packed and stored so that they are readily identifiable as to species, numbers and (where applicable) size. They must remain in this state until they are being prepared for immediate consumption.


Question 39:

Everytime my buddy goes to the Old Mill on Humber, he sees alot of snaggers fishing below the dam, what is the best way for him to make a report, without getting into a fight?

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

Your buddy has two short term options and one longer term solution. His first two options about reporting are:

  1. During business hours, contact the local district office, in this case, Aurora, at (905) 713-7400 or
  2. After hours call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). MNR has been in partnership with Crime Stoppers since 1993 and CS will take the call. Your friend may even be able to collect a cash reward for his information!!

In the longer term, your friend (and a few of the rest of you!) may want to implement a Fish and Wildlife Guardian program on that river. See the Guardian page for more details on this program.


Question 38:

Does a person need a fishing liscence if they have fish (ie. salmon) in their possession (freezer) even if the fish was given to them? Can i legally give a fish i caught to someone who doesn't have a liscence or might they be in violation of the act?

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

There is absolutely no problem with you giving fish to a friend or anyone else and they do not need a fishing licence. The same goes for game and is widely used by hunters who have participated in the OFAH food for the need y project.

That being said, there are a couple of points to remember.

a) Those fish still are part of your daily limit. In other words you cannot take your girlfriend out fishing with you even though she does not fish, but ‘give’ her a limit, so that you can catch a second limit on the same day. The actual wording is “catch and retain in one day or possess”. You could, however, catch a limit of walleyes today, take them home and give them to your mother-in-law (hey, this is hypothetical!) then go out the next day and catch a limit for yourself. Remember that fish in your freezer are part of your limit, so you cannot have six, ten, or twenty limits of walleye in your freezer at home, even though you only took them six per day.

b) Possession limits apply to the receiving individual as well.


Question 37:

Are there rules and regulations on commerical fishing on Lake Erie? Like How many nets are they allowed to lay in one area,These are a danger when you can't tell where and which way they are in the water.No markings except a black stick sticking out of the water.How are you suppose to see them when wind starts blowing from the southwest and your trying to get back to the dock?Is there a pattern on how they lay the nets out?I would like to understand how the commerical fishing works on this lake?

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

Of course there are regulations that govern commercial fishing on all of the Great Lakes. There are also what is called "Conditions of Licence". These are terms and conditions put on an individual licence that the licence holder; captain of the vessel and crew must adhere to. They are covered under section 36.(1) of the Ontario Fishery Regulations and state: "The Provincial Minister may, in a commercial fishing licence, impose such terms and conditions as are not inconsistent with these Regulations respecting:

  • (a) the waters from which the fish may be taken
  • (b) the species, size and quantity of fish that may be taken
  • (c) the fishing gear that may be used and the rule or gauge used to measure the gear
  • (d) the person who may engage in fishing under this licence
  • (e) the loading, landing, handling and transportation; and
  • (f) the periods of times of day during which fishing operations may be conducted

The fishermen on Lake Erie have to land at specified ports during specified times and their catch is inspected by a port observer/Deputy Conservation Officer. They must also fill out a Daily Catch Report (DCR) for every day they fish and the top original copy of that form must be handed over to an officer or placed in a locked steel box at the port before they can off load their catch.

There is no limit as to how many nets they can use as we now control the harvest through an Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ). The nets also (usually) run in a north south direction. There are also different kinds of nets and they must be clearly marked at each end with a flag that has the licence holder's # or name on it. Perch nets are usually lower sets and would not interfere with boats, canned nets however are closer to the surface, but they are clearly marked and you can see the floats every few feet. One has to be very careful when boating in these waters and you can not just drive your boat without any regard to navigational hazards. There is a pamphlet put out by the Ontario Commercial Fisheries Association OCFA that show pictures of the different nets, how they are set and what to look for. To explain in a nutshell how the commercial fishery operates would be impossible, if the gentleman in question would like to see for himself he is more than welcome to visit any of the ports and to find out more.

As a point of interest, the local officers supplied me with the following statistics:

The total quota allocation by species for 1999 harvest on Lake Erie was:

  • Whitefish 1,338,336 lbs.
  • Smelt 15,159,069 lbs.
  • Walleye 9,617,511 lbs.
  • Y. Perch 3,498,526 lbs.
  • N. Pike 27,000 lbs. (Inner Bay of Long Point only)

The total value to the boats in 1998 was 32 million dollars. This does not include value to the fish, which means what the processor gets after cleaning and filleting. The boat gets $3.50/lb in the round for Yellow Perch, the processor sells it much higher than that and the consumer ends up paying anywhere from $12.95 to $13.00 per lb. in the market. I'm not sure how many jobs this creates lake wide but it would probably blow your socks off.


Question 36:

What is the story on unmarked (no visible bouys on either end) Indian gill nets? Today while trolling in what is called South Bay of the LOTW's I caught an unmarked gill net. As I was backing up to the net who should come running up but the owner of the net. We didn't say a word to each other, and he hacked our lures out of his net. While he was there we couldn't help but notice a very dead 43"-45" Musky in one of the fish boxes that he had on board. What is the story and legality of these nets (I have run into many) some that have not been lifted for a long time (lots of rotten fish).

Asked on November 15/99

Answer from the MNR:

The first thing that we need to know about Aboriginal Rights is that they are very complex and that each and every situation needs to be looked at individually….You have raised a couple of points which I will try to answer individually. First ,regarding marking of nets. The requirement for doing so is in the Fisheries Act. Assuming that the individual that you contacted was Native and was within his treaty or traditional harvesting area, then he would likely be exempt from this requirement. Normally, native persons can use gillnets and they often don't mark them. Unless there are demonstrable safety issues (like with commercial gear) we usually don't concern ourselves with the marking of nets. There is clearly a risk for the native person if the nets are not marked as ownership can be a problem and they risk losing nets. As a result we encourage the marking of nets in all cases. The other issue in the note is about rotten fish in nets. This is a situation that should be reported in all cases to the local MNR office. The wasteage or spoilage of fish and game is not a protected right for any one.

 


Question 35:

I have noticed while walking along the Don River in Toronto I have noticed some migratory species salmon and trout in the area of pottery road. The Don River does not seem to be listed in the year round stream mouth section or anywhere else in the regs. I'm wondering; a. Does the Don have a year round open section for trout and salman? b. If so where is it, or how high up can you fish?

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

Passed on to District, response pending


Question 34:

If you have your limit of perch in freezer bags ready to go home, how can the CO tell if there is your 50 fish limit in your bags.

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

Short answer to this is if the C.O. can’t tell, then you have broken the law in the way you have packed your fish. If I understand your question correctly, you are talking about a frozen block of fifty fish. In this case you have violated the law which says that until fish are being prepared for immediate consumption, they need to be packaged (and transported)so that they are readily identifiable as to species, number, and, where applicable, size where size limits apply. We strongly suggest that fish be stored and transported wrapped individually, with the skin still attached, and where size limits apply, as whole fish. Don’t spoil an expensive fishing vacation or even a day’s outing by trying to save pennies on Baggies or wrap.


Question 33:

As you are no doubt aware, game fish populations in lakes and rivers may decline over time for a variety of reasons. On popular lakes and streams increasing fishing pressure, among other reasons, often reduces fish populations over time such that the fishing results go from very good to good to fair to poor over 30 to 50 years. I believe this is often the case in many of the small to medium sized "Cottage" lakes in Ontario. Lake Trout and Walleye seem to be the populations that tend to decline the most.

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

The MNR, as well as every other fish management department, has been in the fish repopulation business for a number of years now. There are numerous options that are in use improve populations. These include, stocking, slotlimits, lower fish limits, catch and release regulations, habitat rehabilitation,etc. Based on all the results that must be available by now what are best combination of alternatives to use on the typical small to medium sized cottage lakes to reeastablish reproducing populations over the long run or is this objective not attainable in some cases? Great question! Your comments suggest that you have a definite concern for the fishery. Unfortunately, there just does not seem to be a ‘magic bullet’ which will deal with complex biological issues (water quality, water chemistry, changing shoreline habitat, inter and intra-species competition, introduced species) as well as sociological and economic ones which vary from lake to lake and species to species. Certainly some of our fisheries, particularly in South and Central Ontario are under stress. In some cases, yes, these may simply be “put and take” fisheries. Talk to your local biologist to get an opinion as to what it may take to improve your favourite fishery. New regulations may be an option, as may be habitat improvement projects (think about getting your friends involved in a Community Fisheries Improvement Project!) or helping to monitor compliance with existing regulations (How about a Fish & Wildlife Guardian program for your Lake Association?)


Question 32:

My copy of the regulations indicate that the season is now closed. However, I have heard that this was a misprint and the closing date for bass in division 15 is Nov. 30. Is this true?

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

Correct! This is an error in the English version of the fishing summaries. The season is, in fact, still open until Nov. 30.


Question 31:

On Choronzy's Show on Saturday he caught a small walleye and about a 5lb. pike on the same lure. The walleye was caught on one prong of the treble hook. The pike obviously went for the walleye's head but was caught on a second prong of the same treble! He was doing the right thing...released the small walleye and was about to keep the pike for shore lunch. Then says "in case there is a CO out there who got up on the wrong side of the bed" and releases the pike. How do we know the pike wasn't trying to grab the lure out of the mouth of the walleye? Did he really have to release this fish?

Asked on October27/99

Answer from the MNR:

Reminds me of the time my wife caught two 3lb.+ bass on the same lure! Worst part was that she already had two nice bass already, so now she is skunking me 4-0!!! I can’t imagine why he felt that the pike needed released….unless, of course, he felt that the pike hitting at the walleye’s head could possibly be interpreted as using live walleye as bait, which, of course, is illegal. I have woken up “on the wrong side of the bed” a few times in my 19 years, but could never imagine charging anyone for catching two fish in one cast! By the way, the bass tasted fine - both of them!


Question 30:

I have heard a few rumours about being allowed to fish pacific salmon all year long even above hwy 2 on the Ganny. Is this true ?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

Actually the pacific salmon season closes at the same time as trout season (September 30). There is an all year open season for rainbow trout, brown trout and pacific salmon downstream from the southerly limit of the CNR right of way. There is also an extended fall season for rainbows, browns, and pacific salmon between the south edge of the CPR bridge and the southerly limit of the CNR right of way.

There are sanctuaries that are upstream from the CPR bridge and these are the only areas that would be posted.

Pacific salmon season is closed above the CPR bridge (which is slightly above Hwy. 2) from September 30 until the last Saturday in April in the following year. You can't fish salmon all year above Hwy. 2.


Question 29:

I was wondering, say if I found a dead almost decaying salmon in the river. Am I allowed to take the roe from the fish?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

This one does not have an easy answer because it is so close to "the edge" - the line between legal and illegal; so I will give you two answers: a)"the strict legal answer" and b) "what I would do in this situation to make sure I stayed out of trouble". First answer, is if the fish is dead and not yet decaying (you said 'almost decaying') then the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act says that "a person who takes fish whose flesh is suitable for human consumption shall not abandon the fish…or permit the fish to become unsuitable" So the answer would depend on whether the fish is suitable for human consumption when the eggs are removed. If it is suitable for human consumption, you are committing an offence; if it is not, you are not. You may, however, have to defend your interpretation of "unsuitable" in court if an officer has reason believe that the fish you took into your possession was suitable for human consumption and that you, after taking out the eggs, abandoned the fish and allowed it to become unsuitable.

HOWEVER, the second part of my answer, assuming that the fish were unsuitable would be: If this was me, I would take the entire carcass, so if I were to be stopped, I could demonstrate exactly what I were doing, and not be accused of catching and killing fish strictly for the roe. I would then dump the unsuitable for consumption fish on my garden! Technically, the fish, in the short term, becomes a part of my limit, but I would not envision an officer laying an over-possession charge on a person who has extra limit obviously rotting fish. I would strongly suggest, however, before you find yourself out on the banks searching for rotten fish from which to take eggs from that you contact your local district office to discuss your plans. By the way, you should also note that it is unlawful to sell, or otherwise trade in these eggs without a licence to sell.


Question 28:

I have recently seen certain small supermarkets selling gamefish such as Crappies, Bass, Sunfish and Walleye. I realize that there is a commercial fishery for species such as walleye. However, I don't think there are commercial sources for the other species. Are these businesses allowed to sell these fish? If it's illegal, what can I do about it?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, there is a commercial fishery for walleye, primarily on Lake Erie; there is also a small commercial fishery (primarily in Lake Ontario) for the other fish species (Crappie, sunfish, white bass). The fish could also be from a licenced aquaculture facility or from a location outside of the province, but that is a fairly remote possibility. If you have any reason to believe that the fish may not be from any of these sources, I would suggest that his situation would likely need a follow-up from an officer to do inspection and determine the origin of the fish. Contact your district office, use Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or use the "Report a Poacher On Line" site.


Question 27:

It is my understanding that the two fish limit in Huron and Georgian Bay is now in force but does it just apply to steelhead/rainbows or does it also include all salmoniods including chinook and browns or are you allowed to retain two 'bows' and three of the other species?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

Rainbow/salmonid limits. Yes the limit of two in that division is for Rainbows only. The cumulative trout salmon limit is still 5- no more than two of which may be Rainbows, or three of which may be splake, brook trout and lake trout combined. You can still catch all five of this limit in browns or Pacific salmon.


Question 26:

Is it legal to fish while at the same time you are hunting. This would specifically refer to duck hunting out of a blind or while anchored (obviously not while under power). Is it legal to have a fishing line in the water while waiting on the next flock of ducks to appear? Years ago I was told by two separate CO's ... two different answers (1 yes, 1 no). Furrther, what if two people are in the boat, 1 hunting (only 1 gun in boat) and the other is fishing (only one fishing rod in the boat) ... would this be legal?

Asked on October18/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes you may fish and hunt at the same time in the circumstances as described. And yes, it would certainly be legal for two individuals in a boat to be one angler and one hunter - or even to, in the circumstances as described above, both hunt and fish. What you need to avoid doing is having a loaded firearm in a powerboat in circumstances other than those described above (stationary blind).


Question 25:

Is it legal to chum bait, such as roe, salted minnows, grains, and what not in the Great Lakes and/or inland waters? , and can it be done for any species of fish? My main concern is for Georgian Bay/ Lake Simcoe Whitefish.

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

There is currently a legislation proposed that would ban the use of salted minnows in Ontario. This was proposed by the new Ontario Baitfish Association as members felt that it was a waste of this valuable resource. It is expected that this new legislation will be in effect as of January 1st, 2000. As for chumming with the roe and various grains, there is no legislation against it in Ontario.


Question 24:

How would I go about finding out if someone in the past was convicted of a fish or wildlife offense?

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

You need to contact the provincial Attorney General's office and apply under the Freedom of Information Act. MNR's conservation officers have quick and easy access to this, but generally speaking, the public has to follow the application process which is more involved.


Question 23:

What evidence is there that Chinook Salmon are reproducing naturally in Lake Ontario tributararies?

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

In the spring, when MNR staff is conducting its Atlantic Salmon stocking in various Lake Ontario tributaries, we locate several schools of young Chinook Salmon in the rivers. These young salmon are usually in slower moving sections of the river and MNR staff have been able to id them as wild young chinooks. This usually occurs in April, but by mid-May, when staff frequently return for electro fishing studies, or other research, the young chinook salmon have travelled down to the lake.

Editors Note: The MNR does not stock Pacific Salmon upstream in any Lake Ontario Tributaries.


Question 22:

What is the current status of sportfishing for Whitefish and Lake Trout in Georgian Bay. Particularily the Caper Crooker to Meaford Area. What can we target?

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

Lake trout fishing is closed to anglers until Dec.31/99 in an area stretching from and including Colpoys Bay, along the southerly shoreline of Georgian Bay over to Craigleath. Southwestern Georgian Bay has been closed off for both lake trout and whitefish for COMMERCIAL FISHING. Angling for whitefish in that area however IS permitted.


Question 21:

I'm planning a fishing trip to the Saugeen in November, and it seems there was some discussion about the limit being dropped to 2 fish. Was this accomplished

Asked on October11/99

Answer from the MNR:

I am assuming that the question is about rainbow trout? If so ... yes the limit has been dropped. The daily catch and possession limit for rainbows has been reduced from five to two for a regular seasonal fishing licence and from two to one for a conservation licence.


Question 20:

Regarding property and ownership, if I am in a boat does a landowner have the right to refuse access to waters around their property? At what point does the landowners property begin?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

There is no one simple answer to this question. In some cases, yes the landowner does indeed have the right to refuse access to waters around his/her property. For instance, you may not access public waterways via private property. In many of the rivers and streams which are not normally used for navigation purposes, the owners of the property surrounding the stream can prohibit access. In a lake, there are cases where the property owner does have legal rights (for a specified distance which varies from one lake to the next) extending out from his/her shoreline. In other lakes, the landowners property extends to the shoreline and no further. My advice is that when you are fishing around someones dock for instance from a boat, and you see the owner along shore, you kindly ask permission to fish around the dock. Most cottage owners will respect your courtesy and allow you fish there.


Question 19 :

Where can I find articles regarding taking or attempting to take out of season, taking in an illegal place, improper license, illegal method, possession, procedure, importation,taking, and the sales of wildlife.

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

The Ministry of Natural Resources routinely creates and distributes News Releases on the above fish and wildlife crimes, and then sends them out to the media. Outdoor writers for newspapers and magazines regularly include the details of these newsreleases in their articles. You can also check out the MNR website at: www.mnr.gov.on.ca to read these newsreleases in their entirety.


Question 18:

If I am planning a vacation in Ontario, how do I acquire a non-residents fishing licence?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

You can purchase one when you arrive at many of our licence issuers - sporting goods stores, ice hut operators and so on. All MNR offices sell the as well. Or ... you can contact an MNR office from outside of Ontario before your trip, ask them to send you out a non-resident licence form, you fill it out completely, check off which type of licence you would like (seasonal, conservation, 7 day etc.) enclose proper payment into an envelope, and then mail it back to the district MNR office. Here a VALIDATION Sticker will be attached and it will be mailed back to you. WE advise that you allow 4-5 weeks in advance of your trip if you wish to take this route.


Question 17:

After one has caught & kept a limit of fish, is it legal to continue fishing for that species of fish? Suppose you happen upon two individuals and they have a total of 11 bass between them (assume the limit is 6 bass per angler). They are both fishing. Is there a problem?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

As long as you do not 'catch and retain' over the legal limit for each species of fish you may continue fishing. If an individual has over six bass in his/her livewell, and even if he/she is planning on releasing some or all of those fish, he/she is still over the legal catch/possession limit. For part two of your question, no ... there would not be a problem, as long as they do not exceed 12 bass between them.


Question 16:

Since the upper Credit river holds brook and brown trout (both of which spawn in the fall), has there ever been any talks about opening up that section of the river a couple of months earlier than the "last Saturday in April" rule, since the fish have already spawned and the eggs hatched?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

The last Saturday in April opening for trout season, has a long standing tradition in Ontario. Many anglers look at this as the first real sign of spring. In some parts of the province ice out does not occur until just prior to, or sometimes even after, the trout opening. MNR does offer fishing opportunities for rainbow and browns at most river mouths along the Lake Ontario shoreline all year long. I guess most anglers and the MNR alike, believe that the until the general opening late in October, the brown and speckled trout fisheries further north of these river mouths get a break from angling pressure. Generally speaking, we also try and keep season openers and closing dates standardized and minimize exceptions for certain areas... including the Credit.

 


Question 15:

I recently took a trip down to the Humber River dam and was pleased to finally see no fishing signs posted. I also heard that due to the closing of the dam to fishing, areas farther upstreams will remain open for longer periods of time. Is this true? I've also heard that there was a plan to remove part of the dam at Eglington for this fall. If so, has it happened yet?

Asked on October1/99

Answer from the MNR:

With MNR


Question 14:

Is it legal to possess sport fish in an aquarium?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

YES! But those fish must NOT exceed your daily/possession limit. So, if you have a small largemouth bass in your tank at home you may only have five other bass in your possession at any one time (assuming you have seasonal fishing licence). Also keep in mind that it is illegal to transfer fish from one body of water to another. This means you can't release your aquarium raised Ontario Sport Fish fish into any lake, river, stream or pond OTHER than the one from which it origianlly came. Naturally it is also illegal (and possibly very harmful to our fisheries) to release any exotic or tropical fish into Ontario waters.


Question 13:

What is a COs authority in a conservation area which posts its own rules on fish posession limits or bans live bait? Do you have any authority to enforce this regulation or do you just check for fishing licences or other game and fish act violations?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

A C.O. will only enforce provincial legislation. If there are specific regulations regarding lower fish limits or a ban on live bait at a conservation area, then staff from the Conservation Authority are the ones who are responsible for enforcing that.


Question 12:

Is the limit for Ice fishing for Pike in Cook's Bay on Lake Simcoe different from the summer time?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

No! The limit for a full seasonal fishing licence is 6 pike(2 with a conservation licence) during the summer, spring, fall or winter. If however, you have 2 pike in your freezer from your summer fishing, than you are only permitted to catch and retain four more during the winter. Your possession limit is the same as your daily catch.


Question 11:

Why are Salmon not stocked into Oshawa and Bowmanville creeks, like they use to be in years past.

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

There is currently a fair amount of natural reproduction of salmonids in these creeks. There is no point in stocking fish on top of an already naturally reporoducing population of fish.


Question 10:

If I take roe from a dead salmon on any river in Ontario, do I have to take the dead salmon with me, or can I leave it where I found it.

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

You are permitted the roe for your own personal use only. If you are stopped out on a river while removing the eggs from a salmon, you had better be able to prove that you yourself did not just catch the fish and are in the process of removing eggs and leaving the fish.


Question 9:

What are the rules about stripping roe from salmon and trout that I have caught? Do I have to keep the fish after I've taken the roe?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

You are not permitted to abandon fish suitable for human consumption. If you are catching fish only to kill them to remove the eggs, then this would indeed mean you are wasting fish. Release the fish, with the eggs intact, alive instead.


Question 8:

I am interested in fishing for Atlantic salmon in the Credit River. The regulations state the season is from January 1 till October 10, with two exceptions; downstream of the QEW and in Lake Ontario proper, the season is open all year; upstream of the QEW the season is closed all year. So where does this January 1 till October 10 season apply?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

That Jan.1-Oct 10 is a very generic guideline. For more specific regualtions, you should always check the area you wish to fish in the "Exceptions to the the General Regulations" section of the Summary of the Fishing Regulations. In this case those exceptions are on page 24 of the 1999 Summary. The Credit River is closed all year north of the QEW and open all year south of the QEW. So,the area between the QEW south to Lake Ontario is where you can fish for Atlantics year round. Currently we may not offer large sections of rivers to fish for Atlantics, but until the population increases, special measures to protect this fishery are required.


Question 7:

What regulations are in place to protect the over-harvesting of snapping turtles and what are the export rules?

Asked on September 24/99

Answer from the MNR:

MNR is concerned about managing snapping turtle populations in Ontario. To this end there are special regulations in place which limit the number of snapping turtles you may harvest. You cannot take more than 2 per day, nor may you possess more than a total of 5. You must have a current Outdoors Card with the appropriate fishing validation tag. You may only take snapping turtles by box or funnel traps or by your own hands (MNR takes NO responsibilty for lost fingers!) You may not remove the upper shell from the turtle until immediately before you eat it. There are also open and closed seasons throughout the province for those wishing to harvest snapping turtles. These are outlined on page 55 of the 199 hunting regs. In WMU 78 and throughout much of southern and central Ontario, the open season is from July 15 to September 15. If you wish to export snapping turtles outside of Ontario you will NOT require an Export Permit from MNR. You may need to show customs officials that you have a valid fishing licence and Outdoor Card to prove that you obtained the snapping turtles legally. Might be a good idea to carry a copy of the Fishing and Hunting Regs with you to in case you need to point out the section regarding snapping turtle harvest in Ontario.


Question 6:

With a lot of Salmon and Trout in the streams during Sping and Fall runs, signs of poaching by snagging, foul hooking and netting are obvious to almost all fishermen. There never seems to be MNR presence on these streams (Credit, Bronte, etc) to enforce regulations. Does the MNR intend to do anything about the situation?

Asked on September 14/99

Answer from the MNR:

We fully realize the need to have enforcement and an MNR presence on these and other rivers during the busy fall and spring runs. In the Aurora District, where the two rivers you mentioned lie(plus the Oshawa Creek,Duffins Creek, the Humber,Rouge, the Wilmont etc), we only have a limited number of CO's to patrol these vast areas. These CO's make every attempt to patrol the rivers as frequently as possible. At times, though, this is not enough. With public initiatives such as "The River Watch Program" and the "Guardian Program" however, we hope there will be more "eyes and ears" on these rivers to report offenses such as the ones you mentioned.

 


Question 5:

If, while fishing for Salmon or trout in the stream a fish is foul hooked (not hooked in the mouth) should the fish be released immediatly by cutting the line or is it acceptable to play the fish to the shore and remove the hook at that point?

Asked on September 14/99

Answer from the MNR:

The law says that any foul hooked fish shall be released immediately. MY suggestion would be that this does not mean that lines need be cut and lures lost. I would advise however that "playing" the fish should not be a goal once one realizes that you have foul hooked it. Rather, I would say that the reasonable action to take in these circumstances is to attempt to get the fish to shore or boat ASAP and release as gently as possible.


Question 4:

Do Conservation Officers have the right to obtain information about my firearm. ie.serial number,registration?

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes, Conservation Officers are Peace Officers under the Criminal Code. This means that authourity is given to them under the Code to deal with criminal offences. That is why we may arrest, for example, an impaired drivers whom we may contact in the course of checking hunters or anglers. At the same time, Criminal Code enforcement is not our mandate. So we do not do Code enforcement except as it comes to our attention coincidental to our mandated tasks of resource enforcement.

All of this comes under federal jurisdiction, not provincial. Right now our C.O's do not routinely ask for this type of information. However CO's could (in a co-operative effort with police) check and record serial numbers, or check to see whether a firearm has been registered or not, if the situation warrants. MNR has cooperated with other enforcement agencies to assist with firearm identification to verify stolen firearms.


Question 3:

Is it true the MNR is planning to sell the east portion of Bronte Provincial Park?

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

Back in May, MNR simply listened to a presentation from the Royal Cnd Golf Association, for a proposed course there. HOWEVER, NOTHING beyond "listening" to that presentation has occurred. IF it ever was to go beyond that, extensive public consultation sessions would need to be held.


Question 2:

There has been a lot of confusion over whether it is indeed legal to muskie fish with a conservation license. According to Muskies Canada, the answer that was provided to them was that the purpose of the limit of zero muskie was to limit harvest and not opportunity.

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

Yes it is! However, for those who do fish for muskie with 'just' a conservation licence, they should understand and be prepared to deal with the fact that sometimes muskie are injured beyond being able to be successfully live released. What would they do with the fish if it could not swim away? If they caught the world record muskie(something that is quite possible in several Ontario waterbodies) - they would have to let it go. We do not want to limit opportunities to fish for this magnificant game fish therefore a conservation licence to fish for them is "technically" ok. However, most ardent muskie anglers purchase the full seasonal fishing licence for the above reasons, plus they realize that the licence dollars can help improve future muskie fisheries.


Question 1:

I have checked the regulations religiously and I am unable to an find any exception to the closed season of Pacific Salmon as of Sept 30th. My assumption was that Pacific Salmon (Similar to Brown And Rainbow Trout) are fishable after Sept 30th anywhere below HWY #2 on the Ganaraska River. Does this mean that Pacific Salmon are closed as of Sept 30th on the Ganaraska River?

Asked on September 20/99

Answer from the MNR:

The Ganaraska River lies in Division 6. All of Division 6 closes for all fishing (with the exception of the winter fishery on Lake Scugog in Jan. & Feb.) from Nov.16 to the last Sat. in April. Year Round River Mouths in Division 6 are also open for rainbow and brown trout fishing. In Durham, this area is from the southerly limit of CNR tracks to L. Ont. This also includes the Ganaraska River, Gages Creek and Cobourg Brook which are open from the CNR right-of-way to L. Ont. All are open for rainbow and brown trout fishing. Keep in mind that Pacific Salmon are open in Division 6 from the last Saturday in April to Sept.30. So, along with rainbows and browns,yes you can fish for Pacific Salmon from the right-of-way at the CNR tracks south to L. Ont. all year long. Anywhere north of that on the Ganaraska, you cannot fish for any species of fish after Sept. 30.