2020 fishing survey results revealed

by Steve Galea | June 19, 2023
Man Fishing On Elk Lake

The latest version of Ontario’s recreational fishing survey has been released. The survey, conducted every five years since 1975, provides a comprehensive provincial perspective on angling.

This year it is titled “Selected results from the 2020 recreational fishing survey in Ontario: Fisheries management zones, provincially significant inland fisheries, and Great Lakes.” The 72-page document is filled with interesting facts about the angling preferences, spending habits, and locations preferred by Ontario’s anglers.

Of note, in 2020:

  • There were 795,733 active anglers in the province.
  • In total, ice anglers spent 13,366,413 days on the hard water, with FMZs 16 and 15 drawing the most anglers.
  • Walleye was the most popular fish pursued in open water and when ice fishing.
  • Walleye was the most popular species caught and harvested in the northwest; smallmouth bass and, to a lesser extent perch, were the most caught and harvested species in the south.
  • Anglers spent $1,618,217,000 in 2020 in Ontario. This was deflated from 2015 due to border restrictions that prevented foreign anglers from visiting the province.
  • The catch and harvest rates declined in almost all FMZs from 2005 to 2020, though remained largely unchanged from 2010 to 2020.
  • Lake Simcoe, Nipissing, and Rice Lake are the three most visited provincially significant inland fisheries, respectively. The Grand River is Ontario’s most visited river.
  • The three areas that experienced the most fishing activity were Georgian Bay, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.
  • FMZ 16 and 15 had the most active anglers in the province, with 167,761 and 164,604, respectively.
  • The Great Lakes FMZs were also heavily fished.
  • The amount of fishing activity in southern Ontario was about 3.3 times higher than that in the north. This is an increase over previous surveys.

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