Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
The Dos and Don'ts of Using Live Bait in Provincial Parks

Ontario is home to more than 250,000 lakes, thousands of kilometers of streams and rivers, and more than 150 species of fish.

There are endless fishing opportunities in Ontario parks, and dropping your hook is a great way to connect with and learn about nature.

From Lake Trout to Brook Trout, from Walleye to Northern Pike, we have some of the best recreational fishing opportunities in the world!

But before you head out to catch a big one, let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts of using live bait in Ontario parks:

Do: Talk to park staff

Park staff are extremely knowledgeable about fish species and fishing spots in the area, and they can point you in the right direction to learn more about the latest regulations.

Staff outside the door

Certain parks prohibit the use of live bait, so do your research before you go!

Would you like to chat with the staff before arriving at the park? You can find the phone number for each park on their individual web page, accessible through our website.

Do: Check the regulations

Fisheries regulations help ensure the long-term sustainability of fish species so that generations of people have the opportunity to fish.

The best source of information for planning your trip is the Ontario Fishing Regulations.

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reel and lures

You are responsible for knowing the rules and regulations of the body of water you are fishing. Spend some time reading and understanding the regulations before you head out.

fish online is a tool you can use to plan your fishing trip, check fishing regulations, and learn about Ontario sport fishing.

You can get directions from anywhere in North America to over 18,000 bodies of water and fishing license providers.

man fishing in the lake from the shore

Fish ON-Line uses maps to search for fishing spots by the name of the lake or river, by the type of fish you want to catch, by location and type of sport fish stored, or by GPS coordinates.

Fish ON-Line is always up to date. Check fishing zones, catch size and limits, open seasons, sanctuaries, specific rules for the lake or area.

Don’t: use bait where not allowed

The use of live bait is not permitted in many bodies of water. In fact, Ontario has new rules affecting the movement, use and possession of bait fish.

In the past, the use of live bait has resulted in the introduction of invasive species.

Sailing in the rain

Restrictions on baits help prevent the spread of invasive species. Be sure to check if there are any restrictions on using live bait before your trip.

These regulations protect rare and endangered species, conserve biodiversity, and prevent the spread of invasive species.

Fishermen are responsible for ensuring that any live fish Species of bait fish are permitted in their possession intended to be used as bait.

Do – consider alternatives to live bait!

There are many alternatives to live bait and anglers have great success using artificial lures.

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lures in box

Artificial lures imitate a wide range of fish foods and can be reused over and over again.

Don’t: Throw leftover bait into or near the water.

What is done with the leftover bait? you have to throw it away at least 30 meters away from any body of water, however, we encourage anglers to take bait home and dispose of it in municipal waste.

bucket bait

Baits (and the soil in which they often appear) are often of unknown origin and can lead to the spread of invasive species.

Remember: In Ontario, it is illegal to throw the contents of a bucket of bait (water, soil or other material) or live or dead bait (including fish eggs, gametes or fish parts) directly into the water or within a 30-minute radius. meters. of it.

No: release worms

Worms are also an invasive species!

earthworm in person's hand

The best management practice for worm waste is to dispose of it in the trash, not in the soil!

Do: take small steps to lessen your impact

Many people will release the fish they have caught. Fortunately, we know ways to give the fish we release a better chance to survive.

smallmouth bass in water

Use artificial lures, not live bait. Fish caught with live bait can become deeply hooked, making hook removal very difficult and can reduce survival.

Consider using circle and barbless hooks. Circle hooks reduce the chance of deep snagging, and barbless hooks are easier to remove. Barbless and circle hooks reduce injury to fish and the time needed to handle them.

person releasing fish

Once you’ve caught a fish, keep it in the water as much as possible. Fish need water to breathe. They have run a marathon after a fight with a fisherman, so they need oxygen to recover.

Learn more about catch-and-release fish management.