Salmon fishing

Québec has roughly one hundred salmon rivers containing very large fish, and offers an outstanding fishing experience for enthusiasts from home and abroad. To ensure the conservation of this much sought-after species, populations are monitored rigorously and stringent rules apply to salmon fishing.

Tagging of salmon

If you want to fish for salmon in Québec, you must hold one of the Atlantic salmon fishing licences. The licences that allow you to fish for and keep salmon are issued with tags for registration purposes.

  • Validity of the tag: Only during the period shown on the licence, provided the annual limit of four salmon has not been reached.
  • When to attach the tag: As soon as you catch and keep a salmon, you must detach the tag from your licence and attach it to the fish (the three consecutive day licence only tags a small salmon).
  • Tagging order: (annual licence only) You cannot keep more than four salmon in any given season. For the first three small salmon, the tags must be used in the order in which they are attached to the licence. If a fourth small salmon is kept, or when one big salmon is kept (where the rules so allow), you must use the tag located at the top of the licence, marked “Grand saumon” (63 cm or longer) or “Petit saumon” (at least 30 cm and less than 63 cm). 
  • When to remove the tag: It is prohibited to have a salmon caught by sport fishing in your possession if it has not been tagged. You must not remove the tag from the fish until you prepare the salmon for consumption.
  • Origin of the tag: Anywhere in Québec where salmon can be caught and kept, the tag must be taken from the licence of the angler who struck the fish, even if someone else handled the fishing rod when the fish was recovered.
  • Where to place the tag: Below are some examples of where the tag may be placed.

Salmon tagged correctly

Mandatory registration of catches

You must personally register any salmon you catch and keep within 48 hours of leaving the fishing site. A wildlife protection officer may also ask you to register your catch immediately.

How to register your catch

The following options are available to you:

Authorized partner

  • Take your licence and your tagged salmon (whole or gutted) to an individual or association authorized by the Department, i.e. an outfitting operation offering salmon fishing, or a wildlife reserve or a salmon fishing controlled harvesting zone (ZEC). In the case of a wildlife reserve, the salmon must be presented whole.
  • The tag from your licence is punched.
  • Your fish is weighed and measured, and samples or other scientific specimens may be taken.

Self-registration at a control point

If this option is available at your fishing site, simply follow the procedure indicated to register your salmon.

By telephone

This option is available for some salmon rivers or river systems. If there is no provision to register your salmon, you must contact the regional office.

Salmon registration logbook

We recommend that you use the Angler’s Logbook (PDF 636 Kb) if you fish for salmon in zones 23 and 24, located in the Nord-du-Québec region.

The logbook can be used to register your catch, and also:

  • to register with an outfitter;
  • to obtain instructions for taking part in the collection of information used to manage the species in the zones in question.

Please note that other special rules may apply if you fish in the Nord-du-Québec region.

Fishing for salmon in a salmon river

Because salmon rivers are usually managed by an organization of some kind, different sectors of the same river may have status as a ZEC, a wildlife reserve, a provincial park, an outfitter with exclusive rights or a private property.

Special conditions may therefore apply, depending on the specific location of the watercourse. In addition to the general rules (fishing periods, quotas and limits, authorized gear), you must therefore make sure you comply with the requirements of the fishing territory concerned.

You have free access to salmon rivers or sectors of salmon rivers that are not managed by an organization or located on private property.

Main prohibitions in salmon rivers

Salmon rivers are regulated to protect the reproduction and migration of Atlantic salmon. Notably, it is prohibited to fish salmon with a harpoon, bow or crossbow. Generally, only fly fishing is allowed.

In a salmon river, for all fish species, you are also not allowed to fish:

  • during the period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise (see the Sunrise/Sunset Calculator of the National Research Council Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.);
  • from a bridge crossing a salmon river or its estuary;
  • within 23 metres downstream from the lower entrance of a fish ladder, an operating fishway, an obstacle or a leaping space designed to facilitate the movement of fish;
  • other than with a fishing rod less than 500 m downstream of any point of the mouth in zones 18, 19, 20 and 27 and on the north shore of the fleuve Saint-Laurent in zone 21.

Fishing for salmon elsewhere than in salmon rivers

You may fish for salmon by means of angling or fly fishing elsewhere than in a salmon river. You will still need a salmon fishing licence and must also comply with the tagging and registration requirements.

For information on the maximum number of salmon that may be caught daily, see the Fishing periods and quotas This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Catch size limit

The catch limit for salmon is expressed in size (“large” or “small” salmon).

Large salmon: salmon measuring 63 cm or longer

Small salmon: salmon measuring at least 30 cm and less than 63 cm

To learn about other limits applicable to Atlantic salmon, select your fishing zone.

Regulatory Information

Last update: March 14, 2024


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