2020 fishing regulations released

by Editorial Staff | December 17, 2019
A black and white depiction of three men fishing

The coming new year signals a new Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary as anglers head out on the frozen water for another ice-fishing season.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the following changes have been applied to the Ontario fishing regulations:

Changes in FMZ 11

Changes to seasons and size limits for lake trout in FMZ 11 stemming from the FMZ planning process, include:

  • Changing the zone-wide closing date to Labour Day (was previously Sept. 30) to address vulnerability of adult female fish
  • Implementing a one over 40 cm size limit for the FMZ to manage “small-bodied” lake trout to help meet planned objectives and increase lake trout abundance
  • Creating a one over 50 cm size limit for large-bodied lake trout (Lake Temagami, Cross, Kokoko, Diamond, and Makobe Lakes)
  • Implementing a catch and release only season on Lake Temagami from the day after Labour Day to Sept. 30

Adjustments made

The regulations will also show adjustments to sanctuary dates on Ferrim Creek and Lake Temagami to allow for fishing during the March Break and additional sanctuary date changes to Cut and McConnel Lakes (FMZ 11), the removal of size limits on 43 stocked brook trout lakes in FMZ 11, and the extension of largemouth and smallmouth bass seasons in FMZ 11 to align with walleye and pike seasons (Jan. 1 to the 3rd Sunday in March and the 3rd Saturday in May to Dec. 31).

Additionally, anglers will see the removal of bass and pike exception regulations in Lake Obabika in FMZ 11 (zone-wide regulations will apply), an open season for lake trout from Feb. 15 to the 3rd Saturday in March, and the 3rd Saturday in May to Labour Day (i.e. zone-wide season) with a catch and possession limit of S-1 and C-0.

Changes in FMZ 10

Increasing the minimum size limit from 36 inches to 48 inches (122 cm) for muskellunge in FMZ 10, along with the removal of the exception regulation for the muskellunge opening season on the French River in FMZs 10 and 11.

The season will no longer open on the first Saturday in June, but will open on the 3rd Saturday in June to keep it consistent with the zone-wide season. There will also be the establishment of an open all year season for brown trout.

Changes in FMZ 16

Clarification of regulations that referenced Highway 2 in FMZ 16 to include the proper road names.

Changes in FMZ 17

Clarification of regulations in FMZ 17 that referenced the Otonabee River to refer to the proper waterbody name (e.g. Fenelon River, Rosedale River)

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  1. grant wrote: where did you receive a copy of the 2020 fishing regs I went to the ministry in Lindsay and the said the new books wont be out till the spring
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Good Morning, Grant -- While the physical copy may not be out yet, you can find an online document with all the updated regulations right here: 2020 Online Fishing Regulations
  2. Rhonda-Lee Ferrari wrote: My husband went to the Ministry in December of 2019 in Minden and was told the 2020 publication was not yet available. He went back there today, Friday January 3, 2020 and they advised they were all out of the 2020 publication. When he questioned as to how they could be out of them when they didn't even have them in December because they had not been published, he was told they actually had them but ran out in September of 2019. This makes absolutely no sense. I understand there is a PDF version of the 2020 regulations. The question now becomes, has the 2020 print issue been published yet and if so how can we get a physical copy without wasting time at the Ministry office with the confused staff?
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Rhonda, sorry you're having difficulty getting your hands on the fishing publication. I spoke with OFAH's fishing programs outreach liaison and she suggested your local Canadian Tire or Home Hardware. We will eventually also be carrying them at the front of our building if you are local (please find the address below). In the interim, here is an online account of the publication (until you find your hard copy, that is: Click here ) Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters 4601 Guthrie Drive, PO Box 2800 Peterborough, ON K9J 8L5 705-748-6324 ext. 263
  3. Mark Hess wrote: Wondering if frozen smelt may be used as bait on Lac de Mille Lacs during open season for game fishing.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hi Mark, on page 44 of 2020 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, it states that "Rainbow smelt may not be used as bait or possessed for use as bait."
  4. Colleen McColl wrote: When does trout season open in Ontario, and what can we fish for right now.
  5. James Moore wrote: I am a member of Ofah
  6. Bev Mcgee wrote: I cannot see anywhere in these regulations...if you are over 65, and fishing in Ontario Do we need to buy a lisence to fish
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Good morning, Bev, Page 7 of the summary states: "The persons described below can carry a licence, permit, certificate or identification card issued by a federal, provincial or territorial government of Canada that indicates their name and date of birth and use it as a fishing licence: • Ontario and Canadian residents who are under 18 or 65 years of age or older." As long as you have some sort of government-issued ID on your person, you can fish without purchasing an additional fishing license.
  7. Robert Hodgson wrote: Is it still legal to spear the white sucker?
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Good morning, Robert! Page 16 of the 2020 Fishing Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary states: "Spears: cannot be possessed on or within 30 m of the edge of any waterbody except when fishing for carp and WhiteSucker as described on this page."
    • Jason Bain wrote: Here is a response from the MNRF, Robert. "White Sucker and Common Carp may be taken by spear during daylight hours only. Please see the Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary (pg 16, Non-Angling Methods of Capturing Fish) for details on seasons and limits."
  8. bob laframboise wrote: Did the Ford government close recreational fishing in Ontario due to COVID-19?
    • Jason Bain wrote: At this point, no, Bob.
  9. Spencer Chase wrote: I love fishing...
  10. Marylou Kormann wrote: When does Bass season open in Ontario? If region is needed, its Grey Bruce.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: If by Grey Bruce you mean the area North of Kitchener yet south of Tobermory, you're in Fisheries Management Zone 16: Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass combined Season: fourth Saturday in June to November 30 Limits: S-6 and C-2 There are a few exceptions so you may want to also consider this link to the guide, where you'll find your zone on pages 116-125: https://files.ontario.ca/mnrf-fishing-regulations-summary-en-2019-12-13.pdf