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 This hyperlink will open in a new window.  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.

Generally speaking, if you wish to fish in Québec 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.
  • Fly fishing: Certain bodies of water are reserved for fly fishing.
  • 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 exception for smelt fishing).
  • Earthworms and leeches: Unless otherwise indicated, they can generally be used as bait without restriction.
  • 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.

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 fishing periods, limits and exceptions are updated on April 1st 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 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.