Planning a Canadian fishing trip: tips and advice
Nothing is as beautiful as a calm Canadian Lake, or as serene as the view from your boat fishing Canadian waters, looking for that prize bass or walleye. However, if you aren’t prepared, you could be arrested and have your boat taken away. Before you cross the border, make sure you have your paperwork in order – especially in these dangerous times, when security is at the highest it has been in a while.
Most of the excellent fishing in Canada is done in the province of Ontario, with access to many lakes, streams, rivers, and the Great Lakes themselves. When you’ve decided where you want to go, you need to make reservations and find out where you can purchase a temporary fishing license. You can find out about rustic campgrounds through other fishermen or where you purchase your supplies. The bigger areas can be found on the Web.
If you are hauling a boat, make sure its license plate is current, as well as its registration and inspection. Also, be sure to have all the paperwork for your vehicle and the boat in one place to show at the border crossings, not to mention when you get to your destination and a patrolman asks to check your paperwork.
In addition to vehicle papers, you will need your birth certificate, as well as a certificate for each person riding with you. If you take a pet along, make sure all its shots are current, especially a rabies vaccination, and have that paperwork as well. You don’t want to be held up on a bridge for hours for lack of documentation.
When you are on the bridges or entry points into and out of Canada, be prepared to show documentation. Answer their questions honestly and succinctly. When you are returning, don’t try to sneak extra fish, alcohol or fireworks into the states. If you are caught, it could result in big fines or arrests. Going to and from Canada is like going to and from any other foreign country. Because Canadians are our neighbors, we tend to think of the country as an extension of the United States. It’s not. Rules must be followed.
You might be able to obtain your license in advance. To find out where you can get licenses, contract the Canadian Ministry of Natural Resources. Or you can ask at the place where you will be staying. Call this number to get a card or license – 800-288-1155.
Each province has its own rules and prices. You will need to familiarize yourself with them before leaving the states. In Ontario, fishing licenses vary in price. A one-year sport fishing license is over $60, an annual conservation license is about $37. A
7-day sport fishing license runs about $40, while a 7-day conservation license is about $24. If you only plan to go over for a day’s fishing, you can get an adult one-day lakes fishing license for $16. Children going to camp can get licenses for as little as $4 or free, depending on the circumstances.
There are laws in each area about the number of fish you are allowed to catch each day, not to mention how many fish you may bring back home across the border. If you have too many, when you drive through customs they’ll be taken from you.
The number of fish you may keep in a given time depends upon the type of license you’ve purchased, what type of fish you’ve caught, the location you found them, and even their size. On the other hand, some species have no limits.
There is a possession limit as well; dictating how many fish you may have in your cooler or on stringers at one period of time. Generally, possession limit equals one-day’s fishing. If you fish for week, however, you cannot have 7 days’ worth of fish on your possession. You can eat a day’s worth of fish each day, or even ten days’ worth if you just keep eating, but you can’t have more than a day’s worth of fish on your possession at any time. This is per licensed fisherman, of course.
The best fishing times are at dawn and at dusk. Fish seem to be hungriest at these times. If you’re determined to catch all the fish you can, fish at dawn and eat them for breakfast and lunch. Then go back out at dusk and catch another day’s worth and eat them for a midnight meal. If you’ve caught more than the limit, extra fish must be thrown back immediately before they die.