The Ontario Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary regulates the hooks, lines and lures you can use. Gear restrictions can apply:

  • across the province
  • throughout a fishing zone
  • only in certain lakes or rivers
  • only at certain times of the year

In some cases, there are exceptions to the type of gear you can use in specific zones.

You can see the complete set of rules on fishing gear (including exceptions) in the Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary.

Rules for hooks and lines

These regulations apply across the province:

  • you can attach up to 4 hooks to your fishing line
  • you can use only 1 line

Certain exceptions exist, depending on where and how you are fishing.

Great Lakes

You can use 2 lines when fishing from a boat in the Great Lakes, however exceptions and restrictions apply.

Ice fishing

In most waters, you can ice fish with 2 lines as long as:

  • you stay within 60 metres at all times of any line or tip-up
  • you have a clear and unobstructed view of your lines at all times

Rules for lead sinkers and jigs

You can’t use lead fishing sinkers or jigs in Canada’s national parks and wildlife areas. When birds and other wildlife swallow them, they can get lead poisoning.

Learn about the fishing rules in individual National Parks.

Rules on artificial flies

You may fish with only artificial flies in the following waters:

  • East Goulais River from Laughing Lake in Menard Twp. to the Goulais River (FMZ 10)
  • Garden River from Ranger Lake to Garden Lake (FMZ 10)
  • Arrow River between the dam on Arrow Lake (Hardwick Twp.) and the Robbins/Hartington Township line (FMZ 6)

Fisheries management zone 10

Fisheries management zone 6



  • a single-pointed or multiple-pointed hook on the same shaft
  • lures can have multiple hooks — each hook on a lure counts toward your 4-hook limit
  • snaggers and spring gaffs are not hooks

Barbless hook

  • a hook made without a barb
  • a hook with its barb completely removed
  • a hook with its barb flattened against the shaft of the hook

Organic bait

  • any part of a plant or animal
  • common baits like worms and minnows
  • animals like frogs, crayfish, crickets, hellgrammites, etc.

Artificial lures

  • spoons
  • plugs
  • jigs
  • artificial flies

Artificial flies

  • a lightweight lure dressed with silk, tinsel, wool, fur or feathers
  • can have a single or multi-pointed hook
  • includes wet flies, dry flies and streamer flies
  • does not include an artificial lure or organic bait

Find out more in the Take a Kid Fishing Guide