Q: I know it is illegal to use live yellow perch as bait in Ontario, but can perch pieces like tails, eyeballs, and fillets be used?
-Bob Ekholm, Thunder Bay
A: You’re right, the Ontario fishing regulations restrict the use of live fish as bait to only listed baitfish species. That does not include live perch.
As for using perch pieces, yes you can, with some exceptions. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act prohibits the wastage of fish flesh which is suitable for human consumption (by the person who has taken the fish). So, in general terms, a person may use the “parts” of fish (tails, fins, skin, eyes, etc.) as bait, but anglers should not use entire fish they have harvested, other than baitfish, as bait.
One alternative to using angler-caught fish is to buy fish from a commercial fisher or someone else who can legally sell yellow perch; the “flesh wastage” provision does not apply to fish that have been purchased.
Please also be aware that there are areas, like Fisheries Management Zones 2, 4, and 5, where the use of dead smelt is prohibited and there are also specific waters where only artificial lures can be used, and others where only artificial flies can be used. Anglers should always consult the Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary for zone and lake-specific rules before they go fishing.
–Mark Robbins (Provincial Enforcement Specialist, MNRF)
This is archived content. Ask a CO is a regular feature in the print edition of Ontario OUT of DOORS.