Fishing in Ontario!

Fishing in Ontario!


              With the weather finally starting to warm up and the first long weekend of the season over. It is time to start looking at some of the outdoor activities available to you in Muskoka, more specifically fishing. In this blog we will take a look at some of the regulations we must follow in Ontario and some of the techniques to get you started fishing!


Starting out

  • In order to fish in Muskoka, and Ontario, you need a fishing licence

  • Most Canadian residents need a fishing version outdoors card and a licence if they are between the ages of 18 and 64, those under 18 or over 65 are exempt from needing a licence



  • If you already possess an outdoors card, just visit an authorized issuer of fishing licences, or apply online (

  • There are two options for purchasing an Outdoors Card, one year or three years

  • There are also two versions of the fishing licence, sport and conservation. The sport licence allows full catch and possession fishing privileges. The conservation licence has a catch and possession limit that is lower than the sport licence. Conservation licences cost less than sport licences to reflect these reduced limits

  • Licences are not required by First Nations people fishing within their traditional territory, or for disabled Canadian residents

  • Please be aware that provincial and territorial permits are not valid in National parks. You will need to obtain a day or season long permit from the park itself

  • If you are not a Canadian resident you will need a non-resident licence to fish in Ontario


Fishing equipment

  • Now that we have all of the paperwork sorted out let’s get into some of the essential equipment for going fishing!

  • The first thing you should think about is what type and size of fish you are interested in catching, this will help you determine the type of line you need


  • There are many different varieties of fishing line available

  • Monofilament is the classic variety of line. It is less visible to fish making it ideal for line – shy species like brook trout, however it tends to be less resilient

  • Braided lines are generally stronger and more resilient, so they are a great choice for weedy or rocky condition

  • Next we will want to match the line to the rod, every fishing rod has its recommended line class, lure weight, as well as other information written right on it

  • Action – Refers rod flex, the faster a rod’s action, the greater its sensitivity and the more easily you will feel vibration in the rod. Fast rods have the most sensitivity but lack the strength to pull in big fish. Slow action rods do the most heavy lifting, but are also the stiffest. It is recommended that those new to fishing purchase a rod with medium action as it is a compromise between fast and slow and the most versatile


  • Length – The ideal length for your rod will depend on the type of fishing you will be doing. Fishing from shore requires a shorter rod due to possible obstructions like low hinging branches. If you plan to fish from a boat or in an open area a longer rod can be used.

  • Reel – there are two common types of reels, spinning and bait casting. Spinning reels are attached below the rod where as bait casting reels are located on top of the rod



Casting (spinning reel)

  • Hold the line against the rod with your index finger

  • With your other hand, open the bale (the wire cage that open and closes the reel)

  • Throw the lure out, letting your finger off the rod as you cast to release the line. The weight of the lure is what sends the line out




  • If you are catching fish for fun (conservation licence) there are a couple of things to consider. First is you should use artificial baits and barbless hoots. Barbless hooks are far easier to remove from the fishes mouth and do not provide the same rise of damaging the fish


  • Sport fishing licences are more lenient however there is a list of approved live bait that you should consult before fishing

  • One hard line rule is don’t transport live bait across borders, as this is a way that invasive species migrate

  • A general catch all lure is a jig, however if you want to target certain species you need to go after them with the appropriate lure

  • Walleye – a jig is probably your best bet for this fish, something like a curly tailed grub


  • Pike – spoon lures are historically successful at attracting these predators, such as the daredevil or the five of diamonds


  • Smallmouth Bass – found in Canadian Shield lakes, they are attracted to tube jigs


  • Largemouth Bass – often found in warm, shallow, weedy areas, a top water lure is ideal



Assorted rules to know

  • You can only use artificial lights if they are attached to the lure, you cannot have them on your boat or anywhere else in the water

  • Only one fishing line is allowed in the water at any given time (exceptions are made for ice fishing)

  • Accompanied by bait restrictions are certain devices that are prohibited by Ontario fishing regulations.

  • Explosives are one of these devices as well as a spring gaff or snagger

  • Spear guns are also not allowed, do not have a spear gun within 30 feet of a body of water


  • Spears and bow and arrow fishing set ups are allowed



Catching fish

  • If you are angling, it is important to note that you can catch a fish by the mouth only. If you hook a fish anywhere else in the body, it must be immediately thrown back

  • If you catch a fish, whether you intend to throw it back or take it back with you, you cannot leave it abandoned

  • It is against the law to leave a fish to rot if it were fit for human consumption

  • An exception to this rule, would be if the fish is understood to be an invasive species, in which case the Government recommends you alert the authorities and actively destroy it

  • While fishing with intent to release: use pliers to remove the hook from the mouth


  • If by some twist of fate you cannot get the hook out, cut the line and throw the fish back, its best for everyone

  • Hunt fair, Hunt clean


Size Limits

  • There are different regulations in Ontario pertaining to the size of fish you can catch depending on the species and where you are catching it

  • This is done to promote a healthy ecosystem (with certain species, the female is larger, and we need them to keep laying eggs), but also because people are always searching for trophy fish and we don’t want to deplete them



Transporting and possessing fish

  • Ontario fishing regulations state that you cannot transport live fish without a permit

  • If you are transporting the meat, it must be separated and left with the skin on, so that a conservation officer can tell what species it is if required

  • Leaving the head on the fish is an option as well as the catch simply needs to be identifiable

  • All catches need to be identifiable and measureable at all times especially for species where size limitations are in effect


Well we at HRC hope that this blog provided some insight into the wonderful pastime of fishing in Ontario. Now all you need to do is get a licence and a rod and get out there on the water and catch some fish!

Since the 1900's...

Born under the name George Hutcheson, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. began providing insurance policies in Muskoka since the early 1900s. Bernard Reynolds joined the firm in the 1940s and purchased the firm from George Hutcheson in 1967. Finally, in 1980, David Caswell joined the company's ranks to complete Hutcheson, Reynolds and Caswell. We have grown along with our name and provide the same dedication to superior customer service and top-notch insurance coverage that George Hutcheson was famous for over 100 years ago.