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Ontario Fishing Tackle Rules, Regulations and Laws

This looks like a good place to fish...
So I was watching a video about fishing and the American in the video was using corn as bait and mentioned that in some states they are not allowed to bait fish with corn.

So it got me wondering if corn was allowed in Ontario or not... and what other fishing rules does Ontario have that I might not be aware of since I usually bowfish for carp instead of reel fishing?

Thus I decided to look up a lot of Ontario's fishing regulations, having previously only seriously read the sections on bowfishing for carp.

So for example I didn't know there was only two zones in Ontario where fishing with artificial flies was allowed, zones 6 (near Thunderbay) and 10 (near Sudbury).

Learn more about Artificial Fly Zones
And within those 2 zones, only 3 rivers are legally allowed for fly fishing. Wow.

So for most of Ontario, fly fishing is technically illegal. Only those 3 rivers in 2 specific zones allow it.

In some respects that must be like belonging to a club. You go fishing up north and see the same people you saw last year, like everyone is in the same club.

For those who don't know, Artificial Fly Fishing (commonly called just "fly fishing") is defined as:
  • a lightweight lure dressed with silk, tinsel, wool, fur or feathers
  • can have a single or multi-pointed hook
  • includes wet flies, dry flies and streamer flies
  • does not include an artificial lure or organic bait
The "fly" is a tiny imitation of a specific kind of insect, designed to lure a specific kind of fish which favours eating those insects. Thus "artificial flies" are designed to look like a real fly and trick the fish into biting.

So all these rules, just for fly fishing.

I got all excited learning more about fly fishing, and then really disappointed I could only do it legally near Thunderbay and Sudbury.


I guess if I want to fish closer to home I will have to find other kinds of fish and a different method closer to home.

So for example, some regions of Ontario allow bowfishing and spearfishing. They are likewise heavily regulated. So for the example of spearfishing, they can only be used for spearfishing carp or white suckers, only during certain times of the year, and only certain zones.

So here is the thing about fishing in Ontario...

There are many different rules and laws and they vary across Ontario.
  • They can vary by zone.
  • They can vary by lake.
  • They can vary by river.
  • They can also vary by the time of year.
 Thus you might be in the right zone, the right lake or river, but still get the season wrong. So you need to research where and when you are allowed to fish, not just what kind of tackle you can use because often certain types of tackle can only be used during a certain season.

eg. Carp season.

Also I should note from personal experience with carpfishing, never go at the end of a season. Early or mid season is best. Fishing at the end of the season can often mean the fish are no longer spawning and there aren't any carp to be found.

And another thing to note is that the rules and regulations are not guidelines. They are laws. So sucks to be you if you get caught doing something illegal in the wrong lake, the wrong river, the wrong zone, and/or during the wrong time of year.

Fishing Laws for Hooks and Lines

The following law applies all across Ontario and has only two exceptions:
  • you can attach up to 4 hooks to your fishing line.
  • you can use only 1 line.
The two exceptions:

1. You can use 2 lines when fishing from a boat in the Great Lakes, however exceptions and restrictions apply.

2. You can use 2 lines when ice fishing in most waters (again, there are exceptions) as long as:
  • you stay within 60 metres at all times of any line or tip-up.
  • you have a clear and unobstructed view of both your lines at all times.
Fishing Laws for Lead Sinkers / Jigs

It is against the law to use lead fishing sinkers or jigs in Canada’s national parks and wildlife areas. When birds and other wildlife swallow them, they can get lead poisoning.

So... why bother even buying them then? Just get sinkers and jigs that are made from nickle or some other suitable material.

There are various other fishing laws, but in relation to fishing tackle we have covered the basics. Here are a few definitions in case you were wondering:

  • a single-pointed or multiple-pointed hook on the same shaft
  • lures can have multiple hooks — each hook on a lure counts toward your 4-hook limit
  • snaggers and spring gaffs are not hooks
Barbless hook
  • a hook made without a barb
  • a hook with its barb completely removed
  • a hook with its barb flattened against the shaft of the hook
Organic bait
  • any part of a plant or animal
  • common baits like worms and minnows
  • animals like frogs, crayfish, crickets, hellgrammites, etc.
Artificial lures
  • spoons
  • plugs
  • jigs
  • artificial flies






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