Fishing in Québec

Fishing is an exciting and relaxing activity that everyone can enjoy. Whether you fish alone, as part of a group or with your family, in a lake or a river, in a natural setting or in a city, there are many different fish species waiting to be discovered. Although Québec’s diverse range of fish is a renewable natural resource, its balance is nevertheless fragile. As a result, there are a number of rules that you must follow before fishing, to ensure the sustainability of this collective wealth.

The regulation presented covers the period from April 1st, 2018 to March 31, 2020. A new regulation is published every two years, on April 1st, but the periods, limits and exceptions are, for their part, updated annually, from April 1st.

Zone-based regulations

Québec’s territory is divided into 29 fishing zones that take species distribution into account. The regulations may therefore differ from one zone to the next, and also depending on the species and period of the year.

To fish in Québec, in addition to holding a valid fishing licence (unless otherwise stated), you must:

If you fail to comply with any of the rules governing fishing, you may be liable to a fine that will vary according to the type of offence you commit.

Important additional information

Hooks

Generally, no more than three hooks may be used on a line. Please consult the Maximum number of hooks and points section.

Fly fishing

Certain bodies of water are reserved for fly fishing. Please consult the Types of fishing and special rules section.

Atlantic salmon

This species is subject to special regulation. Please consult the Salmon fishing section.

Night fishing

You may fish at night, except in salmon rivers where fishing is prohibited between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise. See the applicable particularities to the rainbow smelt fishing with lift net or landing net.

Earthworms and leeches

Unless otherwise indicated, they can generally be used as bait without restriction. Please consult the Use of bait section.

Filleting

If a length limit applies, it is usually forbidden to cut the fish into fillets because they may have to be measured and counted. If filleting is allowed even though a length limit applies, certain conditions must be met. Please consult the How to measure fish and  the Wallet fillets sections.

Fish caught during sport fishing are not intended to be sold.

Understanding the regulatory information

The Québec Fishing Regulation is based on the federal Fisheries Act and allows the Government to amend some of the conditions applicable to sport fishing for freshwater fish in Québec’s waters. Recreational fishing for saltwater species such as capelin, cod and so on, is managed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The new regulation is published on April 1 of each year, but the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) may amend it during the year, among other things to:

  • close a body of water in order to avoid overfishing of a particular species;
  • change catch limits based on a salmon run;
  • open local water bodies to winter fishing;
  • change fishing practices in a given sector following an agreement with an Aboriginal nation or band council.

Before planning your fishing activity, we invite you to consult our Latest News page This hyperlink will open in a new window. for information on these changes.

Introduction to fishing

If you are new to fishing, we have worked with our partners to create a unique Web platform containing a host of information that will guide you through the discovery of your new hobby.

If you would like to discover fishing, learn the basics or try it out, visit the campaign website  La pêche, c'est simple, c'est pas compliqué This hyperlink will open in a new window. (french only).