Regs on Live Bait Use May Be Changing

by Jeff Helsdon | December 17, 2014

a pail with bait in it

How and where anglers can use live bait for fishing in Ontario’s waters could be changing soon.

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is in the midst of a review of the province’s bait policies. As a part of the review, 2 separate Environmental Bill of Rights postings are currently under review.

Posting 012-2836 is looking at the type of bait anglers can use, the scale at which anglers move, store, and harvest bait province wide.

Posting 012-2835 is looking at the commercial harvest of bait and angler use of bait within protected areas, such as provincial parks and conservations areas.

Conservation group Ontario Nature has made its stance clear on the issue in an action alert it sent to its members, asking them to respond to the posting on bait use in provincial parks and conservation reserves.

“There is ample evidence to support an outright ban of live bait,” the alert said. “Ontario has twice as many invasive freshwater fish as Alberta, and one and half times more than British Columbia. Far ahead of Ontario, most provinces and territories have banned the use of live bait because of known risk and impacts.”

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) sees it differently, stating there is no need to ban live bait in provincial parks and conservation reserves.

OFAH fisheries biologist Tom Brooks pointed out the difficulty of banning bait in a provincial park that is attached to a larger lake or river that is not part of the park. He gives the example of McRae Point Provincial Park on Lake Simcoe and Emily Provincial Park on the Pigeon River.

“Furthermore, there is no credible evidence to suggest that banning the harvest and/or use of bait in provincial parks and conservation reserves would significantly reduce the threat of invasive species introductions,” Brooks added.

Responses to the EBR postings will be accepted until Dec. 19.

Go here to comment on the posting that looks at bait use province wide.

Go here to comment on the posting that is looking at bait use in protected areas.

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  1. TylerCooke wrote: Personally I don't use any live baits when I'm on the hard water or any other time of the year. My only concern would be for the shop owners and hut operators. They depend on that for income and the consistency for their clientele to catch fish creating returning clientele. Would it be possible to ban the use of the public catching their own baits and turn the responsibility over to the shop owners to provide a receipt proving the purchase of clean, non invasive species that would be carried with the angler for the day? Just a thought.
    • Bob B. wrote: TylerCooke... at least that makes more sense than just an outright ban. Looks like live bait will become a thing the past, sad.
  2. trevor moss wrote: starvation tactics i say
  3. Joe wrote: What's next, will we see the banning of boats and canoes on our lakes, and we will all be fishing from the shores. Invasive species like zebra mussels, asian carp and etc... were brought into this country by the european shipping industry, is there a movement out there to ban this high risk?, I don't think so. I have to wonder if there may happen to be a, behind the scenes player pushing this, like the big tackle companys wanting to gain larger shares of the articial bait business ??? I have been an angler and hunter all my life and we are continuously fighting to keep our rights, like I said in the beginning, "what's next".