Limits, possession and identification

About 118 freshwater fish species This hyperlink will open in a new window. are found in Québec's lakes and rivers, among which more than thirty being coveted by fishermen. Although this diverse range of fish is a renewable natural resource, its balance is nevertheless fragile, hence the need to apply some rules.

What are the applicable quotas in your zone?

For details of the maximum number of fish that may be caught daily, including in provincial parks, wildlife reserves and ZECs, please see the Fishing periods, limits and exceptions page This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You do not know your fishing zone? Use the interactive map This hyperlink will open in a new window. to locate it.

Definition of limits

When you fish in Québec, you must comply with four different types of limits or quotas, depending on the species of interest and the location of your fishing site.

Daily catch limit

The daily catch limit is the maximum number of fish of the same species caught and kept in a given day by you and by all the other people fishing under your licence. It also includes fish caught and consumed on that day. Fish that are released are not included in the catch limit, except in the case of salmon, which are also subject to a catch-and-release limit.

You must stop fishing once you have reached the daily catch limit applicable to the body of water and species concerned. However, you may continue to fish for the same species for the rest of the day, provided you move to another body of water where the catch limit is higher.

Example: In the lake where you are fishing, the daily catch limit is 15 trout. You catch 8 trout in the morning and eat 5 for lunch. Although you now have only 3 trout in your possession, you cannot catch and keep more than 7 additional trout on that day. However, you may continue to fish for another species for which you have not yet reached the daily catch limit.

Daily catch limits are not cumulative.

For details of the maximum number of fish that may be caught daily, including in provincial parks, wildlife reserves and ZECs, please see the Fishing periods, limits and exceptions page This hyperlink will open in a new window..


You do not know your fishing zone? Use the interactive map This hyperlink will open in a new window. to locate it.

Catch weight limit — Char

The catch limit for char in zones 17 and 22 to 24, located in the Nord-du-Québec region, is expressed by weight.

For fish that are not whole, the weight limit is calculated as shown below :

  • Gutted fish weight × 1.25
  • Gutted and headed fish weight × 1.66
  • Filleted fish weight × 3.5

The product must not exceed the authorized weight limit.

Possession limit

The possession limit is the number of fish of the same species that you may have in your possession at any time and at any place, whether it be at the fishing site, on the road or at your home. The possession limit is usually the same as the daily catch limit.

You may have, in your possession, a number of fish caught while sport fishing that exceeds the quantity stipulated for the zone, provided the surplus fish:

  • come from other zones;
  • were caught in compliance with the catch limits for those zones.

In no case may you exceed the highest catch limit established in Québec for a given species.

Example: The daily catch limit for a given species in a particular zone is 15 fish. The possession limit for that species, at that site, is therefore also 15 fish. If you fish in more than one zone, the authorized possession limit for the species in question is equivalent to the highest zone limit.

Possession of fish without a licence

A licence is not required to have fish in your possession. You may therefore share your fish with someone who does not have a fishing licence. However, you must still comply with the daily catch limit, and the person to whom you give the fish must also comply with the authorized possession limit. Upon request of a wildlife protection officer or assistant, you must indicate where your fish has been caught.

Limits applicable to Atlantic salmon only

On top of the size notion applicable to Atlantic salmon catch limits, this species is regulated with other particular limits.

Catch-and-release limit

This quota, when it exists, applies only to Atlantic salmon, and corresponds to the number of salmon that you may catch and release in any given day, on the body of water concerned.

Annual possession limit

You cannot keep more than four salmon during a given season (full details are available in the section on Salmon fishing).

Length limit

In addition to catch and possession limits, length limits may also apply to certain species and certain places.

To check whether the species of interest to you is subject to a length limit in your fishing zone, see the section entitled Particular rules for each zone.

How to measure and fillet fish

Fish measure and fillet

The length of a fish is measured in "total" length, from the tip of the mouth to the tip of the tail. However, in the case of Atlantic salmon, the length is measured in "fork length", from the tip of the mouth to the fork of the tail.

Wallet fillets

To comply with the length limit applicable to walleye, the fish must be transported whole or in “wallet fillets” if filleted.

How to wallet fillet

You must make sure the skin is left on the flesh, and cut the fish as shown below:

  • Make an incision at the front of the pectoral fin (at the opercle).
  • Run the knife along the spine towards the tail.
  • Stop the cut just before the caudal fin.
  • Repeat the operation the other side.
  • Cut the spine keeping the two fillets attached to the caudal fin.

To learn more about this technique, have a look at our video Comment couper le doré en filets portefeuille This hyperlink will open in a new window. (french only).

Length of the fillets

Wallet fillets are compulsory, so that the species can be identified and the length determined where necessary. The accepted length of the fillets depends on the authorized length range (see how to measure fish).

For walleye between 32 cm and 47 cm inclusively 

The 2 fillets must measure between 24 cm and 35 cm, measured from the tip of the caudal fin to the rear point at which the pectoral fin attaches to the fillet. These fins must remain attached to the fillets.

For walleye between 37 cm and 53 cm inclusively 

The 2 fillets must measure between 28 cm and 40 cm inclusively, measured from the tip of the caudal fin to the rear point at which the pectoral fin attaches to the fillet. These fins must remain attached to the fillets.

For walleye of a maximal length of 47 cm inclusively

The two fillets must measure 35 cm maximum, measured from the tip of the caudal fin to the rear point at which the pectoral fin attaches to the fillet. These fins must remain attachet to the fillets.

Note that it is prohibited to transport or possess elsewhere than the permanent residence filleted walleye from zone 25.

To check whether the species of interest to you is subject to a length limit in your fishing zone, see the section entitled Particular rules for each zone.

Possession and identification of fish

When you transport fish caught during sport fishing, or have them in your possession elsewhere than at your permanent place of residence, the fish must be in a state that allows you to determine:

  • the source;
  • the species (for example, by leaving enough skin on the flesh to be able to identify the species);
  • the length (when a length limit applies);
  • the number.

A wildlife protection officer or an assistant may stop you and check these elements.

Live fish

Provided you respect the quotas and limits applicable to your fishing site, you may have the fish you have caught in your possession, at the fishing site, while you are fishing.

This does not apply to salmon; in this case, you must comply with the tagging and registration conditions for the species.

Leaving Québec with fish caught here

You cannot send fish caught here to a destination outside Québec, because the sale of fish caught by anglers is prohibited.

However, you can carry with you the number of fish caught by you or given to you (up to the authorized possession limit for each species) and any tagged salmon caught by you or another angler, or given to you.

Questions about fishing rules