MFFP - Sport fishing in Québec including salmon fishing - Main rules
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Sport fishing in Québec including salmon fishing
Main rules - Season 2018-2020
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Fishing methods

Sportfishing usually involves line fishing. However, fishing with bows or crossbows or spearfishing while swimming is allowed at certain sites and to fish for certain species (see the section entitled “ Fishing with bows or crossbows and spearfishing while swimming”). The use of square nets, bait traps, harpoons, spears or landing nets is also allowed under certain conditions (see the sections entitled “ Fishing for bait fish”, “ Rainbow smelt fishing” and “Whitefish fishing”).

Note: Except for fishing for molluscs and crustaceans, any other fishing method is prohibited in sportfishing (see the section entitled “ Fishing for molluscs and crustaceans”).

Angling

For angling, the line may be equipped with artificial lures, fish hooks or flies, baited or unbaited. A fish hook may be simple or multiple. An artificial lure or a fly counts for a single fish hook. The line must not have more than three fish hooks. Specific conditions apply in the following cases:

  • in zone 25 and the portion of Lac Saint-François located west of a line drawn from Pointe Beaudette on the north shore to Pointe Saint-Louis on the south shore (zone 8), four fish hooks may be used;
  • the number of fish hooks is not limited for rainbow smelt fishing in zone 21;
  • when angling is authorized in a salmon river during a period in which salmon fishing is allowed, a line may not have more than one fish hook with one or two points;
  • when angling is authorized in a salmon river during a period in which salmon fishing is prohibited, up to three fish hooks may be used. In the latter instance, the combination of fish hooks used may not have more than three points in total.

An angler must use only one line at a time and constantly, immediately monitor the line. Moreover, the possession of fishing gear is strictly prohibited on a water body on which the use of such gear is prohibited, or less than 100 m from such a water body. Certain conditions apply (see the section entitled “ Sites reserved for fly fishing”). The number of lines authorized differs for winter fishing (see the section entitled “ Number of lines authorized in winter”).

Sites reserved for fly fishing

Certain water bodies, usually located in controlled harvesting zones (ZECs), are reserved for fly fishing.Such water bodies are identified as such at the registrationcentre or near the fishing site.

In such instances, the following rules apply to fly fishing:

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Sport Fishing in Québec - 2018-2020 (including salmon fishing)

Fly fishing areas - Salmon rivers

In most salmon rivers mentioned in this publication, only fly fishing is authorized. In this case, conditions stated above for fly fishing areas also apply.

In such areas, during a salmon fishing period, a single fly totaling a maximum of two points must be used when fishing for any species. Outside this period, up to two artificial flies totaling a maximum of three points may be used, if fishing is authorized for species other than salmon.

When authorized, angling in a salmon river is subject to conditions stated in the Angling section.

Other specific conditions concerning hook size and the use of worms as bait apply to certain stretches of salmon rivers. To obtain additional information on these specific conditions, please consult the search engine on the Department website.

Number of fish hooks and points

The following table summarizes information on the maximum number of authorized fish hooks and points:

When any kind of angling is permitted:

Place and/or period concerned:

Maximum number of hooks or artificial lures

Maximum number of points that the hook or combination of hooks may have

All water bodies, except:

3

unlimited

In zone 25 and the portion of Lac Saint-François located west of a line drawn from Pointe Beaudette on the north shore to Pointe Saint-Louis on the south shore (zone 8)

4

unlimited

In zone 21, for rainbow smelt fishing 

unlimited

unlimited

In a salmon river when salmon fishing is permitted 

1

2

In a salmon river when salmon fishing is prohibited 

3

3

When only fly fishing is permitted:

Place and/or period concerned:

Maximum number of artificial flies

Maximum number of points that the hook or combination of hooks may have

In water bodies reserved for fly fishing (elsewhere than in a salmon river)

2

3

In a salmon river when salmon fishing is permitted 

1

2

In a salmon river when salmon fishing is forbidden  

2

3

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Sport Fishing in Québec - 2018-2020 (including salmon fishing)

The following table indicates the maximum size (the distance between the point of the hook and the shank) of artificial flies according to the number of points.

Note : There is no restriction on shank length..

Number of lines authorized in winter

Depending on the zone, up to five or ten lines may be used for winter fishing during the periods indicated in the following table. The angler must constantly monitor the lines. Moreover, when one or more individuals fish under the licence of a sportfishing licence holder (see the section entitled “Fishing licences”), the number of lines used by the group may not exceed the number of lines that the licence holder is authorized to use. In this case, the total number of fish caught and kept per day must not exceed the number that the licence holder is authorized to catch and keep.

It should be noted that the dates indicated in the following table are not fishing periods. To find out about the fishing periods applicable in the zones, please consult the section entitled “Fishing periods and catch limits”. The catch and possession limits indicated apply.

Zones
Number of lines authorized in winter
1 to 6a, 9 to 11, 15, 21b, 25c to 27d 5 lines, from December 20 to March 31
7, 8e 10 lines, from December 20 to March 31
12, 13f, 14, 18, 19 south, 20, 28 and 29 5 lines, from December 1 to April 15
16, 17 5 lines, from December 1 to April 26 in 2018, to April 25 in 2019 and to April 23 in 2020
22 to 24
5 lines, from December 1 to April 30

a) Five lines are authorized in Lac Memphrémagog (zone 6), from December 20 to March 31, if fishing through ice. Under other circumstances, fishing is only allowed with one line.
b) The period extends from December 1 to April 15 for waters in zone 21 located east of the Rivière Saguenay and within 1 km of zones 18, 19 and 20 and islands and islets located in these zones.
c) Only two lines are authorized in Lac Témiscamingue (zone 25).
d) 10 lines are authorized in the rivière Sainte-Anne (zone 27), between the upstream side of the Highway 363 bridge, at Saint-Casimir, and the downstream side of the Highway 138 bridge, at La Pérade.
e) Only five lines are authorized in the portion of Lac Saint-François (zone 8) located west of a line drawn from Pointe Beaudette on the north shore to Pointe Saint-Louis on the south shore.
f) Only two lines are authorized in Lac Clarice and Lac Raven (zone 13).
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Sport Fishing in Québec - 2018-2020 (including salmon fishing)

Fishing with bows or crossbows or spearfishing while swimming

In most zones, fishing with a bow or crossbow is permitted, as is spearfishing while swimming (snorkeling or diving with our without a diving apparatus). However, such fishing gear is prohibited for salmon, striped bass, landlocked salmon, muskellunge, lake trout and sturgeon. Bow, crossbow and spear are also prohibited for any fish species at the following sites:

  • in zones 17 and 22 to 24;
  • in water bodies reserved for fly fishing;
  • in salmon rivers;
  • within 500 m downstream from any point at the mouth of a salmon river in zones 18 to 20, 27 and 28, or from a salmon river in zone 21 located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Allowing exception, it is also forbidden to fish walleye with bows or crossbow or spearfishing while swimming in zones 3 to 16 and 26 to 28. 

Fishing striped bass with bows or crossbows or spearfishing while swimming is forbidden in all zones.

Fishing with spears and harpoons

The use of spears or harpoons is permitted to fish for American eel year-round in the waters of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Fishing for bait fish

In the zones where and during the periods when the use of bait fish is permitted, the holder of a sportfishing licence may use a lift net and no more than three bait traps to catch bait fish. This rule does not apply in zones 17 and 22 to 24, or in bodies of water set aside for fly fishing. The holder must enter his or her name, address and licence number on any bait traps that are not under immediate supervision. When one or more individuals fish under the licence of another individual, the number of devices used by the group as a whole must not exceed the number that the licence holder is permitted to use.

Fishing for whitefish

Specific conditions apply at certain sites to fishing for whitefish. A sportfishing licence holder may fish for whitefish with a landing net or a lift net under the following conditions:

  • from October 13 to 26, 2018 and from October 19 to November 1, 2019, 50 whitefish per day in the Rivière Touladi between the downstream side of the Ruisseau à Mac and Lac Témiscouata (zone 2);
  • from October 25 to November 7, 10 whitefish per day in the Rivière Saint-François between Lac Aylmer and the second bridge upstream (zone 4).

Fishing for rainbow smelt

Specific conditions apply to rainbow smelt fishing at certain sites. Lift nets and landing nets are permitted subject to the conditions indicated below. It should be noted that in a portion of a salmon river where rainbow smelt fishing is permitted, fishing for the species is permitted at night from December 1 to April 26 in 2018, to April 25 in 2019 and to April 23 in 2020.

Residents without a licence or non-residents who possess a sportfishing licence may catch up to 120 rainbow smelt per day* using a landing net or a lift net from April 1 to May 31 in zone 21, except:

  • in the waters of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the Rivière Ouelle between the downstream side of the highway 132 bridge and a straight line linking the point of the Rivière Ouelle and the mouth of Ruisseau Gagnon;
  • in the Ruisseau de l'Église in the municipality of Beaumont;
  • in the waters of zone 21 where the daily catch limit is 60 rainbow smelt and which are described among the exceptions respecting zone 21;
  • in the Rivière Saguenay between a line perpendicular to the current running from the upstream side of the spit (48° 26' 23" N 70° 54' 08" W) located near the municipality of Saint-Fulgence and the downstream side of the Dubuc Bridge in Saguenay.
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Sport Fishing in Québec - 2018-2020 (including salmon fishing)

A sportfishing licence holder may catch up to 120 rainbow smelt a day* using a landing net or a lift net:

  • from May 1 to 31 in the Rivière Bonaventure between the downstream side of the former highway 132 bridges and the Rapide Malin;
  • from April 1 to May 31 in zones 9 and 15, except for Lac Archambault waters including bays and tributaries and Lac Tire (Zone 9);
  • from April 1 to May 15 in the waters of zones 4, 5 and 6 except for the following waters:
    • Zone 4 - Rivière Ashberham (Noire) from Petit lac Saint-François to Grand lac Saint-François; Rivière Coulombe from the highway 161 bridge to its mouth in Lac Aylmer, including the small bay facing its mouth; Rivière aux Bluets, Rivière aux Indiens, Rivière de l’Or and Rivière aux Rats Musqués from Grand lac Saint-François to the second bridge upstream from the lake; Rivière Saint-François from Grand lac Saint-François to Lac Aylmer; Rivière Victoria and its tributaries; Lac Mégantic and Lac Elgin and their tributaries;
    • Zone 5 - Ruisseau Castle and Ruisseau Perkins from their source to Lac Memphrémagog;
    • Zone 6 - Rivière Magog from the Dominion Textile dam in Magog to the highway 55 bridge; Rivière Massawippi, the part between the dam located 1,6 km from lac Massawipi and the first curve downstream; Rivière Niger from its mouth to highway 143; Ruisseau Taylor (tributary from Lac Memphrémagog); Lac Memprhémagog; Lac Massawippi and its tributaries; and Ruisseau Castle.

A sportfishing licence holder may catch up to 500 rainbow smelt a day* using a landing net or a lift net:

  • from May 1 to 31 in Lac des Écorces (zone 10) and Lac Chaud (zone 11) and in their tributaries;
  • from April 15 to May 20 in the Rivière aux Rats between Lac aux Rats and latitude 49° 30' N (zone 28).

* To obtain information on the authorized possession limit, please refer to the section entitled “ Possession limit”.

Burbot fishing with a burbot fishing licence in Lac Saint-Jean

Specific conditions apply to burbot fishing in the waters of Lac Saint-Jean encircled by routes 169, 170 and 373, but excluding the portions of La Grande Décharge (downstream of the Isle Maligne dam and the Lac Saint-Jean water retention structures) and Rivière Petite Décharge (the portion situated between its mouth in the Saguenay and the Lac Saint-Jean water retention structures). At this location, a burbot fishing licence holder may fish for the species from December 20 to March 31, with no catch limit, using two night lines with no more than 10 fishhooks each, lying continuously on the bottom. In addition, the licence holder must affix a tag, issued with the licence, to the identification marker for each of the night lines used.

Fishing for mollusks and crustaceans

Fishing for freshwater mollusks, except for zebra mussels and quagga mussels, is prohibited. Fishing for freshwater crustaceans is permitted by hand, using a landing net, a bait trap, a lift net or other common means with no catch limit during the fishing periods stipulate for “Other species,” except in zones 17 and 22 to 24, where only angling is permitted for all species.

Also see