Fish for Free this Family Day Weekend in Ontario

In Upcoming Events
Two friends, Dave Fudge from Markham and Tim Leblanc from Sutton came down for a day of ice fishing in the Ganaraska River on February 13, 2018 in Port Hope, ON. Fudge is originally from Newfoundland and said today's weather was like a "back home heat wave." Within 30 minutes the pair got four on, but only managed to bring in one, which Fudge was proud to show. Pete Fisher/Today's Northumberland

Province Offering Free Fishing February 17 to 19

This Family Day weekend, families and friends can go fishing anywhere in Ontario without having to purchase a licence or carry an Outdoors Card.

“Fishing is a family-friendly activity that is easy to learn and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities on thousands of lakes and rivers in Ontario,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Family Day weekend is a great time to get out with your family and enjoy this fun activity. Just remember to stay safe and fish responsibly.”

Check out the family fishing events planned across the province, or plan your own family event and get a free digital fishing package by visiting You can also enter to win a $500 fishing prize pack.

If you are fishing for free during the free period, all conservation licence catch limits, size limits, sanctuaries and all other fishing regulations and rules still apply.

No matter what the winter weather brings, ice conditions can be deceptive and unpredictable. If you plan on going ice fishing, it’s important to put safety first and check that the ice is thick enough.

Quick Facts

  • This weekend is the first of four times when Canadian residents can fish for free throughout the year. The other three times are: Mother’s Day weekend (May 11 and 12), Father’s Day weekend (June 15 and 16) and Family Fishing week (June 29-July 7).
  • Canadian residents participating in free fishing periods must carry identification issued by the provincial or federal government, showing their name and date of birth.
  • Outside of free fishing periods, anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 must have an Outdoors Card and a fishing licence.
  • All veterans and active Canadian Armed Forces members residing in Ontario can enjoy free recreational fishing in the province, whenever and wherever fishing is allowed.
Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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