About 118 freshwater fish species (PDF 4.41 Mb) (in French) 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 .
You do not know your fishing zone? Use the interactive map 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.
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.
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.
Daily catch limits are not cumulative.
Notwithstanding the above, if you are in a national park, a wildlife reserve, a communal wildlife area, a controlled harvesting zone (ZEC) or on a body of water, you cannot possess, at any time, an amount of fish greater than the catch limit set for this park, wildlife reserve, wildlife area, controlled harvesting zone or body of water.
However, since there are some bodies of water where the catch limit set for these species is greater than the limit set for the zone, you may possess the fish from one of those bodies of water even if this limit exceeds the one set for the zone. These rules apply to rainbow smelt as well.
Possession of dead fish without a licence
A licence is not required to have dead fish in your possession. You may therefore share your dead 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.
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).
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 body of water, select your fishing zone.
The length of a fish is measured in total length, from the nose end to the tail end. In the case of Atlantic salmon, a measure called “fork length” is used. Its length is calculated from the nose to the tail fork to distinguish small salmon (less than 63 cm) from large salmon (63 cm or more).
To check if there are any length limits for certain species in your body of water, select your fishing 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 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 as well as where the fish come from.
Walleye caught in a body of water where a length limit applies must be transported whole or in wallet fillets. To distinguish walleye from sauger and know how to fillet walleye, see the page Specifics of walleye and sauger fishing.
Possession of live fish
Provided you respect the quotas and limits applicable to your fishing site, you may have the live fish you have caught in your possession, only 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.
Unless they are the holder of a transport licence issued specifically for this purpose, no person shall transport live fish (except for a fishing licence holder who is transporting freshwater crustaceans for personal consumption).
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.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Free phone line: 1-844-523-6738
Last update: April 28, 2023