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Fishing in Canada

Canada contains a huge number of beautiful lakes, rivers, streams and oceans spanning 10 provinces and 3 territories and an endless variety of fish species. Therefore, it's no wonder that the vast country has become an absolute fishing paradise. To give you an idea of how many water bodies exist in Canada, Sunset Country in northwestern Ontario has more than 100,000 lakes and rivers. This is just one area of one province, so you can just imagine how many bodies of water there are to fish in the entire country!

It doesn't matter whether you're an absolute beginner who has never even seen fishing tackle or been in a fishing boat before or a seasoned angler or true fishing pro, Canadian fishing offer something for everyone. Canada has become a premier destination for world class fishing, and Canadian lakes are famous for northern pike, trout, bass and trophy walleye fishing. Canada's fresh and salt waters attract fly fishing, bass fishing and ice fishing enthusiast of all ages and skill levels. The regulations differ from each region of the country so you should consult with the Canadian Fishing Outfitters, Associations & Regulations before you head out on your fishing trip.

You can spend a relaxing day bass fishing or fly fishing on a serene lake and then retiring to a luxurious fishing lodge to enjoy your catch. If you crave more excitement and more of a challenge, you can test your skills during a deep sea fishing excursion. You can also fish all year round in Canada; all you need is a fishing line and some fishing bait to try your hand at the unique adventure of ice fishing.

History of Fishing in Canada

The plentiful Canadian waters have always attracted fishermen. As a result, the original natives and first European settlers considered fish an important staple. Fishing in Canada started hundreds of years ago, the Ojibwe and Chippewa Indians spent hours fishing on the waters such as Lake Superior in Ontario. Tribal fishermen would use handcrafted nets made of knotted willow bark strands and birch bark canoes to harvest sturgeon, lake trout and whitefish. Ice spear fishing and fishing using decoys that were hand carved was also very common.

Plentiful fish resources, especially cod, also attracted many Europeans to the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the mid 17th century. The number of fishing stations began to increase with the British conquest of New France. From 1766 to the late 19th century, Anglo-French merchants maintained a monopoly on cod fishing. Companies such as Hyman & Sons and the LeBoutillier Brothers Company caught, dried and salted cod. This famous “Gaspé Cured” was often exported worldwide to areas such as Spain, Italy and the Caribbean.

Commercial fishing began in Canada in approximately 1820. Fishing equipment and techniques continued to advance. Native American fishing treaties enable these original inhabitants to fish Canadian waters, but fishermen are encouraged to use trap nets instead of gill nets. The latter doesn’t kill every creature that is caught, so anglers can throw back any sport species that are alive after their fishing nets are emptied.

Fly Fishing

With so many fish species in Canada and well-stocked lakes and rivers, fly fishing in Canada has become a very popular sport. This traditional angling method can be used to catch a variety of fish species, but is most often used for salmon and trout fishing. Artificial flies are cast using fly lines and rods. If you end up catching a big enough fish, you should consider taxidermy so you can have your fish mounted for all to see!

Bass Fishing

If you want to experience the ultimate in relaxation, why not don a pair of fishing sunglasses, grab your reel and tackle and try bass fishing in Canada? You can book a very remote fishing cabin in the northwest of Ontario that is only accessible by float plane and fish in complete privacy. This area is one of the best in all of Canada for bass fishing. In addition to bass, you’ll also find plenty of walleye, lake trout and northern pike on these secluded lakes.

Spear/Bow Fishing

Spearfishing or bow fishing has been used for centuries to catch fish without the use of fishing rods, fishing reels and fishing lures. Originally, sharpened sticks were used, but modern spearfishing is accomplished with modern slings or spearguns that are propelled by hand or by compressed air, an elastic band or a bow.

This method of fishing is prohibited for char, trout, salmon, shellfish and sturgeon. Certain Canadian provinces and territories such as Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland also prohibit spearfishing. New Brunswick does not allow the use of spears to land a fish that is caught by angling, and fishermen can’t use spears or any type of jigging device in inland waters. Quebec only allows spearfishing in certain areas or for certain species of fish.

Ice Fishing

Canada is a huge country with plenty of opportunities to try the unique sport of ice fishing. There is absolutely nothing like spending a crisp winter day with family and friends venturing on to the ice on foot, ATV or snowmobile amidst a white winter wonderland. Imagine the anticipation of waiting for that very first bite of the day as you breathe in the clean air and admire the remarkable view... If you decide to go ice fishing in Canada, just be sure to dress very warmly and try to find an excursion that provides toast warm heated fishing huts. At the end of your ice fishing excursion, you can cook your day’s catch over an open fire on the shore or even on a stove in your fishing hut.

Whether you are fortunate enough to live in Canada or just plan to visit this amazing country, don’t forget to fit in at least one fishing trip! Great fishing is available year-round from exciting spear/bow fishing and bass fishing tournaments to relaxing fly fishing or even ice fishing during the winter months. Once you realize how many wonderful fishing opportunities exist in each area of Canada, you’ll be instantly hooked...
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