Use of bait

In Québec, different types of bait can be placed on a hook and used to attempt to catch fish. However, there are some restrictions on the use and possession of certain types of bait.

It should be noted that bait fish are any fish, molluscs, crustaceans (e.g., shrimp, crayfish), marine animals, and even any part of these animals and, by assimilation, their eggs, sperm, milt, spawn, larvae, spats or offspring of these animals and which are intended for use as fishing bait.

Earthworms, leeches, insects and frogs as bait

Earthworms, leeches, insects and frogs are not considered to be bait fish, and their use as bait is therefore permitted unless otherwise indicated.

When capturing frogs, you must comply with the applicable rules governing frog hunting. Mainly:

  • You must hold a frog hunting licence that allows the holder to hunt Northern leopard frogs, green frogs and bullfrogs from July 15 to November 15, with no bag limit.
  • Frog hunting is prohibited in zones 17, 19 north and 22 to 24, as well as in wildlife reserves and territories in which all hunting is prohibited.
  • Special rules apply to the keeping of frogs in captivity.

Prohibited bait fish

Since April 1, 2017, the use and possession of live bait fish, regardless of species, is prohibited throughout Québec, including during winter fishing periods.

The possession and use of other freshwater fish species from Québec as (dead) bait fish is permitted where fishing is authorized. However, the species listed below cannot be used as dead bait fish.

  • Bass
  • Blueback herring
  • Bowfin
  • Bullhead
  • Burbot
  • Channel catfish
  • Channel darter
  • Char
  • Chinese mitten crab
  • Common carp
  • Freshwater drum
  • Freshwater molluscs
  • Goldeye
  • Goldfish
  • Lake trout
  • Lamprey
  • Longnose gar
  • Mooneye
  • Muskellunge
  • Pike
  • Redhorse
  • Round goby
  • Rudd
  • Rusty crayfish
  • Salmon
  • Sturgeon
  • Stone moroko
  • Sunfish
  • Tench
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White perch
  • Yabby
  • Yellow perch

Use of the following as bait fish is also prohibited:

  • all saltwater species EXCEPT capelin, herring, mackerel, freshwater mollusks and crustaceans;
  • all fish species designated by the Species at Risk Act This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The use of these bait fish can be dangerous to our aquatic environments. They can introduce invasive alien species (in French only) and diseases into a body of water.

Possession and use of dead bait fish

The possession and use of dead bait fish (including shrimp) is permitted, but only in certain zones during winter fishing periods.

See the section entitled Fishing zones to see, in your zone:

  • whether or not you may possess or use dead bait fish;
  • which species are authorized for use as dead bait fish;
  • the periods during which this practice is permitted.

Fishing for bait fish

If you wish to fish for bait fish, you must:

  • have a valid sport fishing licence;
  • fish in the zones and during the periods in which the use of bait fish is permitted;
  • use a lift net or no more than 3 bait traps, except in zones 17 and 22 to 24 as well as in bodies of water reserved for fly fishing;
  • write your name, address and licence number on bait traps left without immediate supervision;
  • comply with the special possession rules applicable to bait fish.

If one or more other people fish under your licence, the number of lift nets and bait traps used by your group must not exceed the authorized limit for your licence.

Importing bait fish

Importing of live or dead bait fish is prohibited.

Regulatory Information

Last update: March 14, 2024


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