MNRF Fishing survey returns

by Steve Galea | January 19, 2021
angler survey fresh out of the envelope

Approximately 32,000 anglers and a sample of seniors across Ontario were asked to complete the Survey of Recreational Fishing in Ontario sent out on Jan. 12.

The eight-page survey, which was first implemented in 1975, and has been conducted every five years, since provides the Ministry of Natural of Resources and Forestry critical information about fishing activity, behaviours, opinions, and expenditures of licensed anglers as well as a sample of seniors who held a valid fishing licence within the last five years. Recipients were asked to complete the survey by April 30, 2021.

Info informs fishery management

MNRF Senior Media Relations Officer Jolanta Kowalski said, “The results of the survey are used to provide fisheries managers with information on angler investments and expenditures, fishing pressure, and fish harvest by area as well as feedback on any programs and policies covered in the questionnaire.

This information is then used for making fisheries management decisions and as input into assessments of programs and policies. Expenditure information is used to provide an overview of the economic activity generated by recreational fishing, which is also used for funding programs, assessing policies, investment projects, tourism marketing, etc.”

Previous results available

Results from the (last) 2015 Survey of Recreational Fishing in Canada are now available online here.

It showed:

  • Anglers spent 1.75 billion dollars on trip expenses and investments to fish in 2015.
  • 1.5 million anglers fished in Ontario in 2015; 1.2 million adult anglers over the age of 18 years and 324,000 children.
  • 68% of anglers over the age of 18 years are Ontario residents, 27% originate from the United States and 5% from other provinces.
  • Visitors took 607,000 trips to Ontario to fish, resulting in 1.9 million nights of accommodation.
  • The average age of adult anglers fishing in Ontario is 51 years and 81% are male.
  • Anglers spent 14.4 million days and 74.6 million hours fishing in Ontario.
  • Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron & Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe, Lake of the Woods, Lake Nipissing, Ottawa River, St. Lawrence River, Grand River, Lake St. Clair and Rice Lake were the most frequently fished water bodies.
  • Walleye is the most targeted species.
  • Anglers caught approximately 72 million and harvested 13 million fish in Ontario.
  • Walleye, bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and northern pike were the most caught and harvested species.
  • 79% of anglers reported their fishing experience as excellent, very good or good in Ontario.

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  1. Robert P. DeGraff wrote: I am making plans for this coming spring & summer and need to know the latest outlook for the border being open to US anglers this year and what restrictions might be in place. In the past (before 2020), we have usually made two trips per year to 2 different parts of Ontario for fishing. In 2020 we had to cancel reservations for both trips. I have had 2 tests for Covid 19 - both negative and had 1st vaccine shot & waiting for 2nd shot later this month. I am a handicapped senior (84 yrs. old) and am very careful to avoid exposure to myself or others. I probably won't have many more future chances to go fishing in Canada and hope 2021 will be open to me. Please advise latest regs. & restriction plans.
    • Meghan Sutherland wrote: Robert, It would be ill-advised to make any predictions on spring and summer border travel at this time. Southern Ontario itself, at this time, remains in a province-wide lockdown. Please check back at for more updates. Stay safe.
  2. Khamla lam wrote: Everting is good But I might not participate this year