The fishing right
According to the law, everyone has the right to fish. But this right does not give fishermen the priority of using public land, to the detriment of other outdoor enthusiasts.
In addition, it is prohibited to deliberately obstruct a fisherman who has legitimate access to a territory. For example, it is prohibited to:
Preventing a fisherman from accessing a fishing site to which he is entitled
Disturbing, frightening a fish by human or animal presence or by noise or odour
Making bait, lures, or other fishing equipment unusable
The right to fish does not allow you to enjoy someone’s property as you wish. A landowner has the right to grant or deny you access to his or her land.
Users must share the territory harmoniously and respect ethical behaviour.
Sport fishing is usually done by angling. Bow, crossbow or harpoon fishing is permitted for certain species in specific areas.
The use of nets, traps, harpoons, spears and landing nets is also permitted under certain conditions.
To practice angling, your line can be equipped with artificial lures, hooks or flies. A single line should not have more than three hooks.
A fisherman should only use one line at a time and monitor it constantly.
The number of lines allowed differs for winter fishing.
Some areas are reserved for fly fishing and are identified as such at the registration centre.
A fisherman must use an unballasted line, mounted on a fishing rod specially designed for fly fishing, and must not contain more than two artificial flies.
A fly may be dressed in silk, fabric, wool, fur or feathers, but metal heads and eyes are prohibited.
It must not be equipped with weights to sink the fly.
Fly fishing in salmon rivers
In most salmon rivers, only fly fishing is permitted.
In these areas, a single fly with a maximum of two points must be used to fish, all species combined.
Other specific conditions apply to certain salmon river areas. You can consult these conditions on the website of the Ministry of Fisheries.
Daily fishing quotas
The daily catch limit applies to fish caught and retained.
The limit applies to all persons fishing under the authority of a fisherman’s licence. Fish consumed during the day are still included in the daily quota.
Released fish are not included in these conditions, except for salmon, which are subject to a fishing and release limit.
In the case of Atlantic salmon, the maximum number of fish caught is four.
Trout are also subject to different restrictions depending on the fishing areas.
When washing your fish to transport them, make sure that the species is identifiable, calculate their number, and their length if necessary.
Protection of wildlife and its habitat
Wildlife and its habitat are protected by law. It is therefore prohibited to carry out an activity without authorization that could disturb a biological, physical or chemical element specific to the habitat of a fish or any other animal.
For example, it is prohibited to:
- Discharge oil, gasoline or any other toxic substance into any body of water, lake, swamp, river or river
- To ford with his motor vehicle in water bodies or along a shoreline or coast
- To build a dam
- Remove or deposit gravel or rocks in the bed of a watercourse
Even small accidents can cause damage to fish habitat!
If you witness such acts, you are required to report them to a wildlife officer by contacting SOS Poaching at 1-800-463-219.
Remember that any environment with water, even periodically, can be vital to fish.
The number of lines allowed in winter
Depending on the area, up to five or six lines may be used for winter fishing during certain periods.
Where more than one person is fishing under a single sport fishing licence, the number of lines used may not exceed the number authorized for the holder of the licence. In addition, the total number of fish caught and retained may not exceed the maximum allowed per day for the licence holder.
Here is a summary table of the number of lines allowed according to the zones:
|Zones||Maximum number of lines allowed in winter|
|1 to 6, 9 to 11, 15, 21, 25 to 27||5 lines from December 20 to March 31|
|7, 8||10 lines from December 20 to March 31|
|16, 17||5 lines from 1 December to 26 April 2018 and from 25 April 2019 to 23 April 2020|
|22 à 24||5 lines from December 1st to April 30th|
Archery, crossbow or harpoon fishing by swimming
Bow or crossbow fishing is permitted in most areas, as well as harpoon swimming, with or without diving equipment.
But these types of fishing are prohibited for different species of fish: salmon, striped bass, landlocked salmon, muskellunge, lake trout and sturgeon.
In addition, crossbow, bow or harpoon swimming are prohibited in these areas:
- 17, 22 à 24
- Water bodies reserved for fly fishing
- Salmon Rivers
- Less than 500m downstream at the mouth of a salmon river in zones 18 to 20, 27 and 28 or in zone 21 north of the St. Lawrence River
It is also prohibited to fish for walleye using these methods in Zones 3 to 16 and 26 to 28.
Striped bass fishing is prohibited in all areas with these fishing techniques.
Spear and harpoon fishing
Lance or harpoon fishing is permitted to fish for American eels throughout the year in the waters of the Magdalen Islands.
In areas and during periods when bait fishing is permitted, fishers may use one net and a maximum of three bait traps.
This rule does not apply in Zones 17 and 22 to 24, as well as in bodies of water reserved for fly fishing.