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Updated changes for catch and release fishing for Ontario.

Updated changes for catch and release fishing for Ontario.

Current fishing regulations for LOTW are under review and recommendations would see reduced limits, and changes to the slot sizes for 2024. The current regulations do not differentiate between possession and taking picture/ weighing a fish. Taking a picture or weighing a fish is considered to be the same as possessing it.

Currently, under the Ontario Fishery Regulations, 2007, anglers are required to immediately release any fish where retention or possession is prohibited. If the fish is alive, it must also be released in a manner that causes the least harm.
There are many reasons why retaining or possessing a fish might be prohibited, including fish was:
caught out of season
over daily catch or possession limits 
a restricted size
improperly hooked (such as snagged)

There is an additional initiative for 2025 to allow anglers to document fish that they would otherwise not be able to possess. Based on the way the law is currently written, any activities that delay the release of these fish such as posing for photographs, measuring and weighing are against the rules. While the current law allows us to effectively enforce seasons, catch and size restrictions, it is also a barrier to some fishing activities including:
catch-photo-release tournaments
fisheries management tools such as community science programs
enjoying angling experiences by photographing catches

Once the proposed rules around documenting (photographing / weighing) are changed the ability to keep a large fish could be eliminated without harming tournaments. New regulations would see updated rules around documenting fish to allow anglers to document a “catch of a lifetime” while remaining within the rules. The link to the proposed updates is attached. Please refer to them for details. These changes would be in place for the 2025 angling season.
There is a survey link at the bottom of the page to capture anglers opinions. That survey wraps up April

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