View Full Version : Fishing - licenses, etc.

06-21-2010, 03:38 AM
I have two characters that I want to send fishing in Muskoka (central Ontario, Canada). I've found websites about fishing licenses, but I still have some questions. Can anyone help?

1 - I found that the seasons were different for different species - my story is set in early May, so I'm thinking trout (rainbow, brown, brook, and others are all apparently fishable at that time of year). But I think I want to have my guys sitting in a boat, and when I think of trout fishing, I think of fly fishing. Help? What would people fish for in a medium-sized lake in central Ontario in May? (And how bad is it if I send them fishing in mid-afternoon? I know that dawn and dusk are preferred, but is afternoon at all workable?)

2 - How uptight are fishermen about licenses? (local knowledge would be great, but I'll take any information I can get). This is a sort of a spur-of-the-moment activity. One of the guys is American, and wasn't planning on fishing, but the other one is a local, and an outdoorsman. Would it be totally unheard of them for them to share the local guy's license? And/or to go fishing without one?

3 - How do you avoid catching a fish that isn't legal at that time of year? I assume you'd tailor your methods to whatever species IS legal, but that can't be 100%, can it? If you accidentally catch an out-of-season fish, I assume you release it. But what if it is injured? (fish swallow the hook sometimes, right? Or get the hook in some tender part of their bodies?) Does a responsible fisherman go for the humane approach and kill the fish to prevent suffering, or does he put it back in the water in case it could somehow make a recovery?

4- what is the rationale behind different seasons for different fish? Is it based on rareness, or on breeding season, or something else?

Thanks for any information. If I'm missing something totally obvious, please add to the questions as needed!

ETA: I bumped the setting a couple weeks later, so now the pike fishery will be open. That's more of a sitting and casting, or trolling fish, right?

Drachen Jager
06-21-2010, 09:20 AM
1) Can't speak for Ontario fish but the BC ones bite all day long in the good lakes (although fishing is better in shaded areas during the heat of the day). Trout go for spoons just fine in my experience too. Most fish will, fly fishing is more a preference than a need for any specific type of fish.

2) It's not good to get busted but you can just pay online with a credit card and print out the license from your home computer here in BC, I imagine it's the same in Ontario. I went fishing with some out of country friends with the arrangement that if we saw anyone coming I'd take over the rod since it's much more expensive for non-citizens. But we only had one line.

3) You release it, hooks almost always catch in the mouth area. I've never heard of a hook catching where it would result in certain death. It's just a fish, their brains are too small to understand suffering.

4) I don't know, what you said sounds about right.

As I said you can cast or troll for nearly any kind of fish. Fly fishing is just the way some people prefer to do it. AFAIK there are fish who don't respond to flys but there are no fish that won't bite trolling/casting lures.

Don't forget the worms or other bait! Having forgotten myself and tried fishing without it's damn tough to catch anything if there's nothing tasty on the hook (but once you get one you can use it's guts to get the next one).

06-21-2010, 10:24 AM
I would imagine the fishing seasons are set to avoid fishing of populations during the breeding seasons to keep the populations up. For populations that are popular to fish, but in low supply in the area, they will often be limited to catch-and-release and have minimum sizes to ensure the young fish are not harvested too early to make their contributions to the future.

Make sure to check the regulations for the specific fish you decide to have them go for re size limits, if they can be harvested, etc. Don't know about Canada, but for some US states, it is against the law to harvest many species, and legally caught fish must be transported with the head and tail intact (presumably so any fish and game warden can easily check that they are above the minimum size). There also usually limits on how many of any particular fisherman can catch.

For how uptight the fishermen themselves would be, it depends on the person really. I know folks who love to fish and could care less about licenses, but they usually fish in the ponds of friends so it isn't as big an issue. They would not attempt to fish at a lake or other more official waterway without a license, because a fish and game warden who catches you without a license is not nice at all (and you will usually lose everything you caught, at least in the US). And if you caught something on the protected list, it can be a ton of trouble. So most fishermen who are fairly serious about it know the rules well and would want everyone properly licensed, educated, etc.

06-21-2010, 04:18 PM
We've been to central Ontario fishing - and sat on a lake for most of an entire day (for several days in a row). Northern pike and walleye were the two types of fish everyone was after.

Many of the small Ontario lakes are in little valleys and pretty deep so they are well suited to the fish above. Smaller Trout usually like flowing water (brown trout and lake trout obviously not quite the same thing).

A license is a must for any honorable fisherman - and most of the little towns and fishing lodges have them to issue. Not sure about Canada - but in the states you don't have to have a license to fish on your own property.

Cast and retrieve or trolling are two methods used for walleye and northerns. Northerns are aggressive and fighters. Trolling can be hazardous if you don't know the lake and know where there might be submerged rocks close enough to the surface to catch a boat propeller.

One of the neatest things about fishing on the Ontario lakes is the loons that are also on the water - listening to them is a sound you never forget. There are also bear and moose around - also unforgetable. There's a lot of information about fishing in Ontario available on line (including Ontario tourism).

Hope my responses help. Puma

06-22-2010, 03:27 AM
Excellent information so far, guys - thanks!