Fishing is so much more than just a sport, it’s a time-honoured tradition that connects generations and creates life-long family memories.
There’s a calmness being out on the water and surrounded by nature. And the art of fishing requires skill, patience and awareness to land the ‘big one’. Then there’s the undeniable thrill of the catch.
But don’t forget there is also swimming, bonfires, s’mores, barbeques, and lots of laughter during a family fishing vacation.
Bonding over a family fishing experience with your kids, nephews, nieces or grandkids is simply priceless.
Quick guide to family fishing
How to get your fishing licence
Residents of Ontario, Canadian residents outside of Ontario and non-resident visitors require an Outdoors Card and a fishing licence to fish in Ontario.
You can buy them online, in person at a participating ServiceOntario location or a licence issuer, or over the phone by calling 1-800-288-1155.
Licence-free Ontario family fishing events
Designed to encourage families to experience the fun of fishing, Canadian residents can enjoy licence-free fishing in Ontario during four designated periods throughout the year.
In 2023, these fall in February to coincide with Family Day, May 13-14 for Mother's Day weekend, June 17-18 to celebrate Father's Day and for the full week of July 1-9.
Learn to fish program
Learn the basics of fishing, from how to rig, bait and cast a rod to identifying local species with free, hands-on training introducing kids, teens and adults to the sport.
A fully guided and outfitted fishing charter is a great option for your next family fishing trip. All the planning, fishing gear and safety equipment is provided so you can relax and focus on your catch.
Planning your family fishing trip? Get started with these helpful articles.
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Know before you go
Safety on the water
Whether you’re fishing from your own boat or canoe or you’re out on a charter boat trip, always make sure each person is wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket. And you’ll want to confirm it’s the correct fit for kids.
Fishing bait rules
In some areas of Ontario and on many individual bodies of water, you cannot use nor possess any kind of live bait. Read more on fishing bait rules.
Ontario fishing regulations
This annual guide to the rules and regulations for recreational fishing in Ontario contains information about recreational fishing licences, open seasons and catch limits, as well as up-to-date fishing regulations for each fishing zone.
Last updated: March 23, 2023