This is a friendly reminder to operators that new regulations came into effect with the release of the new Ontario Bait Management Strategy this year. A few operators have recently reached out to us as Conservation Officers are currently looking for baitfish receipts from anglers. This is part of the new regulations that came into effect January 1st, 2022.
Ontario is divided into 5 Baitfish Management Zones (BMZs). You can view the baitfish management zones map by clicking here.
With very limited exceptions, baitfish or leeches, whether live or dead, must not be transported in or out of a BMZ. For the most part, BMZ boundaries follow Fisheries Management Zone (FMZs) boundaries that are detailed on each FMZ webpage.
If you are using bait outside of your area of residence (for example, I go fishing in Longlac (FMZ 7) – located within the Northwest Baitfish Management Zone, but my fishing licence and other ID’s clearly say I’m from North Bay (FMZ 11) – located in the Northeast Baitfish Management Zone), I would need to keep a receipt of where I purchased the bait on me at all times while fishing and show it to a conservation officer upon request.
The receipt must list the location and date it was obtained from the commercial licence holder, the business name, commercial licence number, and quantity of baitfish or leeches obtained.
We recommend having guests keep their receipts, even if they are locals, that way it’s easier for both the Conservation Officers and guests.
You can read more about new regulations surrounding Baitfish by clicking here.