Hooks and Lines
An angler may use only one line, except for ice fishing, or unless otherwise stated.
A fishing line must not have more than four hooks. On an artificial lure, a gang containing up to three hooks is considered to be one hook. In all other situations, a double hook counts as two hooks; and a treble hook counts as three hooks.
DO NOT discard old fishing line in or near water. MNR suggests taking to tackle shops for recycling.
In most waters where barbless hooks are required, a line must have no more than one barbless hook attached to it. Any extra hooks must be removed from lures.
A barbless hook means a hook that was made without a barb or has had its barb, either completely removed, or compressed so that it is completely in contact with the shaft of the hook.
In some waters, artificial lures are required. An artificial lure means a hook or lure with no organic bait attached.
An artificial fly means a single or double hook dressed with silk, tinsel, wool, fur, feathers or other such material. It does not include a weight or a spinning device.
Lead Sinkers and Jigs
Lead is a toxic substance, which can be found in some fishing sinkers, jigs, and other lures. Some waterfowl, such as puddle ducks, geese, or swans swallow lead when they scoop up pebbles from the bottom of a lake or river to help grind their food. Other diving ducks or loons, can swallow lead when they eat fish with sinkers or jigs attached. When ingested, it can cause lead posioning.
You can help...purchase non-toxic sinkers and jigs made from clay, tin, bismuth, steel, or special putty; never throw old fishing gear into the water or on shore; take lead sinkers, jigs, and lures to hazardous waste disposal centers.
It is illegal to use or possess lead fishing sinkers or jigs in Canada’s nathional parks and wildlife areas. Further information is available from the following Environment Canada website http://www.cws.scf.ec.gc.ca/fishing.
In most areas of Ontario, only the following fish may be used as bait:
- Minnow family (except carp, goldfish, cutlips minnow, redside dace, lake chubsucker, and gravel chub)
- Mudminnows, white sucker, sticklebacks, darters (except eastern sand darter), trout-perch and sculpins
- Lake herring
NOTE: The use or possession of live fish for bait is not allowed in certain waters.
- Live smelt may not be used as bait in Ontario. There are restrictions on the use of dead smelt.
- Gobies may not be used as bait.
Other Types of Bait
Leeches, worms, northern leopard frogs may be used as bait. NOTE: Salamanders may NOT be used as bait in Ontario. Artificial salamander lures may be used.
Capture of Bait by Anglers
Only resident anglers with a valid Ontario fishing licence or those who qualify to fish without purchasing a licence, may capture their own bait-fish for personal use, using a bait-fish trap or dip net. Resident anglers may have no more than 120 bait-fish caught under the authority of a valid fishing licence in their possession at any time.
NOTE: Non-resident anglers cannot take bait-fish for personal use by any means.
Only resident anglers with a valid fishing licence may capture their own leeches for personal use, subject to the following restrictions:
- resident anglers may have no more than 120 leeches caught under the authority of a valid fishing licence in their possession at any time.
- to catch leeches, anglers may use one leech trap (that does not exceed 45 cm (17.7 in.) in any dimension);
- traps must be clearly marked with the holder's name.
Resident and non-resident anglers with a valid fishing licence may capture in one day or at any time possess no more than 12 northern leopard frogs for their own use. Blanchard's cricket frog, Fowlers toad, and the gray treefrog are specially protected amphibians in Ontario and may not be captured or used as bait.
There are no restrictions on the capture of worms for use as bait.
Bullfrogs and Snapping Turtles
Holders of valid fishing licences may catch and retain bullfrogs and sanpping turtles during open seasons. For details on harvest areas, season dates and catch and possession limits, see the Ontario Hunting Regulations Summary under Game Amphibians and Reptiles, or contact your local MNR office.
Import of Bait
It is illegal to bring live fish, leeches, crayfish or salamanders into Ontario for use as bait.
Release of Bait
Anglers must NOT release live bait into waters other than the waterbody where the bait was originally captured.