Changes to the movement, possession and use of baitfish and leeches in Ontario

Sustainable bait management in Ontario

We are taking steps to protect the province’s lakes, rivers and fisheries from the threat of invasive species and fish diseases, while increasing business certainty for the commercial bait industry in 2022.

New rules coming into effect on January 1, 2022:

  • establishing four Bait Management Zones (BMZs) to limit the movement of baitfish and leeches in Ontario
  • restricting the transportation of baitfish or leeches, whether live or dead, into or out of a BMZ with some limited exceptions
  • anglers fishing outside their home BMZ must purchase baitfish and leeches locally, retain a receipt and use or dispose of their bait within two weeks from when they were purchased
  • harvesting of baitfish and leeches by anglers may only occur in their home BMZ

Read more at Sustainable bait management in Ontario.

Increased winter angling opportunities for lake trout in Fisheries Management Zone (FMZ) 6

Zone-wide seasons and limits

Lake trout

Season: January 1 to September 30
Limits: S-2; not more than 1 greater than 56 centimetres from September 1 to September 30, no size limit the rest of the season, and C-1; no size limit

Additional fishing opportunities

Lake trout

Season: open all year
Limits: S-2 and C-1; no size limit

  • Black Sturgeon Lake (49°19′27″N., 88°51′34″W.)

Lake Nipissing changes for largemouth and smallmouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike and walleye

Waterbody exceptions

Lake Nipissing - including 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 Concession 1 in Caldwell Township; the Lavase River from Lake Nipissing to the Champlain Park Boat Ramp (46°14'31"N., 79°25'11"W.) 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.

  • Closed to all species - from March 16 to Friday before third Saturday in May and December 1 to December 31.
  • Largemouth and smallmouth bass - open from January 1 to March 15 and third Saturday in May to November 30.
  • Muskellunge - open from third Saturday in June to November 30.
  • Muskellunge - S-1 and C-0; must be greater than 137 centimetres.
  • Northern pike - S-4 and C-2; not more than 1 greater than 61 centimetres, none greater than 86 centimetres.
  • Walleye and yellow perch - open from January 1 to March 15 and third Saturday in May to October 15.
  • Walleye - S-2 and C-1; must be between 40-45 centimetres.

Read more in the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary.