Ontario has thousands of lakes and rivers. The waterways have provided the low key and avid angler for many years, a lot of assortment of fish and fishing fun times for generations. Though the sport of fishing is still very much a part of cottage country, often the provincial guidelines are ignored. As property owners, the burden of this type of responsibility ultimately falls on their shoulders. However, just because a cottage renter is not aware of the rules, does not indemnify them either from liability. Be accountable, is the message here. Know the rules whether you rent out your cottage or are in the process of renting a cottage. Lake associations do not take kindly to people who do not respect eco systems and abuse the nature’s hospitable offerings in its waterways.
- You MUST have a fishing license if you are above the age of 18. Casting off of a dock, rock or land is still considered fishing. “Helping” or “assisting” your 8 year old child with his/her cast or to reel in a very large catch is still fishing. Do not be irresponsible. Take the time to look into it. You will be pleasantly surprised that it does not cost as much as you think. Plus you are provided with FREE resources from the Ministry that will help you fish wiser and better. Carry your license with you at all times when you are fishing.
- DO NOT fish during spawning season. Not only is it illegal, it’s just not fair to the fish and bad for the eco system. The cycle of life in the waterways, especially during ever changing climatic times, is very fragile. Mess with it and you could greatly impact a lake’s livelihood.
- Look for signs. If the shoreline is protected and is a conservation area, it will often have signs telling you there is NO FISHING permitted. There are many reasons for this, most of which have to do with common sense. However, not all shorelines are owned by the province, some are in fact “privately owned” and henceforth may have strict guidelines, what is or is not permitted.
- Cottage owners should include fishing guidelines in their user agreements for renters. It’s just common sense again, if you know what your lake rules are for fishing; put it in your contracts so that your rental guests know in advance what those rules are.
- Conservation offices can search vessels both, with or without a warrant if they believe immediate action is required. Don’t kid yourself, these people mean business and they have an entire province on your side. They can inspect the boat, any container on the boat, and they have the power to arrest and charge anyone they believe to have committed an offense.
- Know the boundaries. Free resources on the provincial site will provide you with maps as to where you can and cannot fish. So take some time and do some homework. You will be better off and enjoy yourself more if you take the time and be proactive.
- Know the GEAR RESTRICTIONS. There are different allowances in different parts of the province for what you permitted to use for number of lines, types of bait, nets etc. and in addition, different times of the year as to what is or is not permitted for gear.
Our lakes and rivers have worlds of their own that need a focused group of protectors that have the law behind them. The last thing anyone wants is to see the fish populations disappear, or the eco systems damaged because of some ignorant users. True anglers and avid outdoor folk know the rules. It is important to ensure that the vacationers learn them as well when doing Ontario cottage rentals. Be smart and fish smart.