Responsible Fishing

There are many excellent fishing opportunities across the Toronto region — but with fishing comes responsibility. Please help to protect fisheries and wildlife, and ensure enjoyment by other users by adhering to the code of conduct in Fishing in Your Backyard: An Urban Recreational Fishing Strategy for the Lake Ontario Northwest Waterfront.

Support and obey all Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) fishing regulations

Regulations, such as closed seasons, limits and gear restrictions are in place to manage fisheries now and for the future. Acquaint yourself with these regulations and the fish species.

Report resource abuse

The MNRF has a 24/7 hotline where the public can report natural resource abuse. Call 1-877-847-7667 (1-877-MNR-TIPS). We can all help ensure that those who break the law do not spoil future angling opportunities along the waterfront.

Keep fishing areas clean

Leave an area just as clean as or cleaner than when you found it. Dispose of unwanted fishing line, old coffee cups or soft plastic baits properly. Visit used fishing line recycle depots when available. Littering reflects badly on all anglers and may impact municipal and public support for urban angling.

Consider other anglers and waterfront users

The actions of even one or two anglers could reflect poorly on the entire activity of recreational fishing in local rivers, streams, and in Lake Ontario. When fishing, particularly in busy areas, be respectful of other anglers and shoreline users. This is likely the most important thing anglers can do to ensure continued access to fishable parts of the urban shoreline.

If you fish from a boat, have it ready to go before you back it down the ramp. When you take it out, move it quickly out of the way so that others can use the launch area. If you fish from shore, don’t cast your line too close to another angler’s line. If your neighbour has a large fish on, reel in so that both your lines do not become entangled.

Know where you can fish legally

If unsure, check with the local municipality before you fish a certain area. A list of known public access sites open to fishing can be found on the MNRF’s Fish online site and through our fishing page. Respect the rights of landowners where you can fish, whether it’s private property or owned and managed by the local municipality.

Understand your rights as an angler

Under the MNRF’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act – Section 13 (1) 1997 (F.W.C.A.) it clearly states that it is illegal to interfere with anyone who is engaged in lawful hunting, trapping or fishing.

Prevent the spread of invasives

  1. If you use live bait, save and re-use it next time or dispose of it well away from the water instead of dumping it into the lake. Never use round gobies for bait!
  2. Don’t move fish (including baitfish, aquarium fish or sport fish) from one water body to another. In addition to being unethical and illegal, it could do irreversible damage to the fishery.
  3. Clean, Drain and Dry: Be certain that your boat and trailer do not carry any unintentional hitchhikers, such as nuisance plants or Zebra Mussels.
  4. Drain livewells, standing water from lower units of outboard motors and pull the drain plug to remove bilge water before leaving the ramp.

Share your knowledge and enjoyment of the sport

Take others fishing and show them how much fun it can be. Try to introduce young anglers to urban fishing. Through your own behaviour, demonstrate a strong respect for the resource so that they too will want to protect it for future generations.

Provide proper care and handling of the fish you catch

Whether you harvest or release a fish that you have caught, proper handling techniques are important. If you choose to release a fish you have caught, minimize handling and return it quickly to the water. If you choose to harvest the fish you have caught, see the Guide to Eating Ontario Fish. The guide offers tips for preparing your catch and information on consumption guidelines for Ontario sport fish.

See more about fishing along the northwest shore of Lake Ontario and opportunities to enhance recreational fishing in the Urban Recreational Fishing Strategy.