2022 fishing regulations released

by Editorial Staff | December 13, 2021
cover of 2022 fishing regulations

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry (MNDMNRF) has released the 2022 Ontario Fishing Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary.

Changes for 2022 include much-anticipated information on Baitfish Management Zones, increased winter angling opportunities in FMZ 6, as well as changes for Lake Nipissing.

The following changes will be applied to the Ontario fishing regulations as of Jan. 1, 2022:

Moving baitfish and leeches

Ontario is divided into four BMZs. Baitfish or leeches may not be transported into or out of a BMZ, regardless of whether they’re alive or dead.

Anglers must be able to produce a receipt of their bait, proving its purchase in the same zone as used.

Anglers are also only able to harvest bait for personal use in the same BMZ as their primary residence. The regulations remind anglers that some waterbodies do not allow fishing with baitfish at all.

Baitfish Management Zone
  • Southern BMZ consists of FMZs 16, 17, 18, and the part of 20 that is within the County of Prince Edward.
  • Central BMZ consists of FMZ 15.
  • Northeastern BMZ – consists of FMZs 3, 8, 10, and 11 except the part of FMZ 10 that is within Cockburn Island, Michipicoten Island, St. Joseph Island, and Manitoulin Island. Manitoulin Island is defined as all islands that can be accessed by land south of the causeway connecting Great LaCloche Island and Whitefish River First Nation (known as Swift Current Bridge), including Manitoulin Island, Great LaCloche Island, Little LaCloche Island, and Barrie Island.
  • Northwestern BMZ – consists of FMZ 2 south of the 11th baseline at latitude 51°48’11”N. and east of longitude 89°00’00”W., and FMZs 4, 5, 6, and 7 except the part of FMZ 6 that consists of St. Ignace Island and Simpson Island.

Lake trout changes in FMZ 6

Lake trout’s season has been extended, now from January 1 to September 30 (from two windows February 1 to March 31, fourth Sat in May to September 30 in 2021). Slot sizes remain the same.

Lake Nipissing in FMZ 11

Lake Nipissing will be closed to all species from March 16 to Friday before the third Saturday in May and December 1 to December 31.

This includes the waters of the French River from the Chaudière and the Little Chaudière dams to Lake Nipissing; the west bay of Lake Nipissing in Haddo Township; the northwest bay of Lake Nipissing to the falls of MacPherson Creek; the Sturgeon River from Lake Nipissing to the dam at Sturgeon Falls; the Veuve River from Lake Nipissing to the chutes located in Lot 5 in Conc. 1 in Caldwell Township; the Lavase River from Lake Nipissing to the Champlain Park Boat Ramp in the city of North Bay, the South River from Lake Nipissing to Highway 654; and the entire West Arm of Lake Nipissing, including Cross Lake.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are open from January 1 to March 15 and third Saturday in May to November 30.

Muskellunge is open from third Saturday in June to November 30; S-1 and C-0; must be greater than 137 cm.

Northern Pike slot sizes include S-4 and C-2; not more than 1 greater than 61 cm, none greater than 86 cm.

Walleye and Yellow Perch are open from January 1 to March 15 and third Saturday in May to October 15; S-2 and C-1; must be between 40-45 cm.

Minister’s message

“My ministry is deeply grateful for all the recreational anglers that fish Ontario’s waters; you support our province’s recreational fisheries and contribute to a sustainable industry worth approximately $1.75 billion per year,” MNDMNRF Minister Greg Rickford stated.

Click here for more information on bait management in Ontario

To read the 2022 fishing regulations, click here

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  1. Geri Estabrooks wrote: Would really like to get a hard copy of the regulations. I live in Pickering, Ont. L1W1X4, and would like to know where the closest place is to pick one up. Would really appreciate a heads up on this as I am 71 and have a problem understanding the computer. I got started a little too late in life with the computer. Thanks kindly, Geri
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Hey Geri, They're available at certain Service Ontarios. It's best to call ahead to ensure they're in stock. Here's a link to find one closest to you: https://www.ontario.ca/locations/serviceontario
  2. Michael Kressin wrote: I would like to receive the 2022 Fishing Manual and the Hunting Manuals if possible. Thank you.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Michael, You can find them at select Service Ontario locations. Best to call ahead first, to ensure they’re available. Until then here’s are digital PDF links of the publications for your use: https://files.ontario.ca/ndmnrf-2022-fishing-regulations-summary-en-2021-12-13.pdf https://files.ontario.ca/books/mnrf-2021-hunting-regulations-summary-en-2021-04-01-v2.pdf The 2022 Hunting Regulations Summary should become available mid-April, 2022.
  3. Chantal wrote: Hello- I have 2 marinas and would love 3 dozen of hard copies of the 2022 fishing regulations.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Chantal, You can find them at select Service Ontario locations. Best to call ahead first, to ensure they're available (they get snatched up quickly). Until then here's a digital PDF for your use: https://files.ontario.ca/ndmnrf-2022-fishing-regulations-summary-en-2021-12-13.pdf
  4. Benjamin Michael Lucca wrote: Fish are lovely.
  5. William Campbell wrote: how many fish can i catch and keep if i am 65 without a fishing license
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: William, It would be the same slot sizes as a sport fishing licence (marked by an S- versus a C-) at the bottom of all species across the different FMZs. (The "S" stands for "Sport Fishing" whereas the "C" stands for "Conservation.")
  6. Peter Liedtke wrote: Why do I have to take my minnows back to the store. If I paid for them I should get to use them, dead or alive. So if I purchase 3 dozen minnows, the family and I go fishing, we use 1 dozen minnows. I bring the 2 dozen minnows home. If I don't get out for 2 weeks I have to take the 2 dozen minnows back to the store then buy them back if I want to go fishing again.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Peter, You're not required to return the bait to the store, you're required to try to use the bait up in the two weeks. When you're fishing, are you fishing near your primary residence? Please note, from page 19 of the 2022 Fishing Regulations: "Receipts are not required when an angler is using baitfish or leeches in the BMZ where their primary residence is located or for other forms of bait (e.g. worms). Personal Harvest: Anglers are only permitted to personally harvest baitfish and leeches in the BMZ where their primary residence is located (see page 11)."
  7. David Daley wrote: Please send me information David
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: David, What information were you hoping to be given? Can you please be more specific?
  8. Peter Liedtke wrote: Responding to my comment on January 19th. The store where I purchased the minnows said I had to bring them back to the store. If I do not require a receipt when fishing in my primary residence BMZ. Then I can use the minnows for more than 2 weeks.
    • Jason Bain wrote: Thank you, Peter. As Meghan said, there is no mention in the regulations about having to bring bait back to the store.
  9. Steve Lang wrote: Trying to obtain a hard copy of the 2022 fishing regulations handbook. Seems awfully tough to get a site that offers it anymore. A little upset that my fishing license fees from day one, are not enough to subsidize this necessary guide anymore? I'm almost 66 years old now, and don't want to download tons of pages that are legal structure for what I can and can't do! Just want a small guide, as before, for years and years, that can assist in point of fishing laws. Can we get ca hard copy guide at Canadian Tire anymore? Thanks, Steve
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Steve, There have been Service Ontario locations that have offered them in the past. We suggest calling ahead to ensure they're available: https://www.ontario.ca/locations/serviceontario In the interim, here's the PDF for the digital, should you wish to refer to it (you could even print out the pages that are of most interest): https://www.ontario.ca/document/ontario-fishing-regulations-summary
  10. Brad Erickson wrote: What are the daily and possession limits for walleye and northern pike in Atikaki Wilderness in 2022. Thanks.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Brad, you'll have to check the Manitoba 2022 Angler's Guide, available here: https://gov.mb.ca/fish-wildlife/pubs/fish_wildlife/fish/anglers-guide-2022-en.pdf
  11. Silvano Marcolini wrote: Very good
  12. Mary Criswell wrote: can't locate what the size limit is for zone 18 for bass. I see I can keep 6 but what is the smallest size may keep? Thanks..
    • Jason Bain wrote: No size limit for largemouth or smallmouth in FMZ 18.
  13. ROBERT W GLEASON wrote: looking for slot limit and size of walleye you can keep in zone 20