Fishing is a favorite pastime here in Ontario. There are few things better than popping a cold beer on a hot summer’s day, kicking your feet up, and waiting for the perfect bite. But if you want to go fishing in Ontario, you’ll need to have a fishing license. Fishing without a permit can result in fines and penalties.
Of course, we don’t want anyone to get a fine. So let’s talk about how you get a fishing license in Ontario.
Why do you need a license to fish?
A century ago, you wouldn’t have thought twice about heading down to the lake and throwing in your net without a fishing license. In fact, fishing licenses weren’t even a thing. But in more recent years, the government requires anyone who goes fishing to have a license. But why?
There are several different reasons that you require a fishing license today. One of the reasons is actually to protect fish populations. Yes, this may seem counterintuitive when you are taking fish out of the lakes, but licensing comes with limitations that generally limit the number of fish you can catch in one day (which we will discuss later).
By setting these limits, the government can ensure that fish populations remain abundant and that we don’t fish to extinction.
Furthermore, much of the fees acquired from fishing licenses are donated back to government programs designed to protect our waters and our environment.
How can you get a fishing license in Ontario?
Before you can buy your fishing license in Ontario, you must first buy an Outdoors Card. You can purchase your fishing license at the same time that you purchase your Outdoors card. This card will then be mailed to you with your fishing license on the back.
To purchase your Outdoors card and your fishing license, you will need your first and last name, date of birth, mailing address, height and eye color, and a payment method.
If you do not wish to purchase your card online, you can also purchase your Outdoors card (as well as your fishing license) at any Service Ontario location or any valid license issuer.
Things you Should Know Before Purchasing a Fishing Licence in Ontario:
- There are a variety of rules and regulations that you must follow while fishing. Ontario fishing licenses limit when and where you can catch fish, the types of fish you can catch, the number of fish you can catch, what you can use for catching fish, and what you can do within different fishing zones. It is important that you read and understand all of these rules to avoid any fines.
- If you are only planning on fishing for one day, you do not need to purchase an outdoors card. Instead, you can buy a 1-day sport fishing license.
- If you are under the age of 18 or over the age of 65, you do not need a license to fish. With that being said, you will need to carry some form of government-issued ID with you, and this will act as your license for the day.
- Veterans or active Canadian Armed Forces members do not need a license to fish.
Cost of Fishing License in Ontario
The actual cost of getting a fishing licence in Ontario will largely depend on the type of fishing license and the duration. First, an outdoors card will cost you about $8.57.
You can either get a sport fishing licence or a conservation fishing licence. A 1-year sport fishing licence, at the time of writing this, costs $26.57 while a 3-year licence costs $79.71.
On the other hand, a 1-year conservation fishing licence costs $15.07 while a 3 year license costs $45.21.
You also have the option of getting a 1-day sport fishing licence in which case you do not need an Outdoors Card. This will cost just $12.21 and is only valid for one calendar day.
Remember, failure to purchase your fishing license or follow the rules and regulations can result in a $200 fine. So if you want to go fishing in Ontario, be sure to carry your fishing license with you at all times.