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Free fishing this weekend

'It’s also a great way to get children hooked on fishing'
ice huts callander bay turl
Ice huts on Callander Bay. Jeff Turl/BayToday

Family Day weekend means free fishing.

From February 16 to 18, Canadian residents of all ages can enjoy fishing in Ontario without having to buy a licence. 

“We want to encourage families to enjoy the outdoors by providing a fun and affordable way to connect with each other and with nature,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or a first-timer, this is an opportunity to create lasting memories with family and friends, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this weekend.”                                                                     

Family Day weekend is the first of four free fishing events in 2019.

“Our government is committed to making life more affordable, which is why we have introduced two new licence-free fishing events this year on the weekends of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day,” said Yakabuski. “This is in addition to our decision to freeze fishing licence fees and remove the $2 service fee in 2019.”

With only a week to go before the Family Day weekend, families are encouraged to plan their ice fishing trip, or attend a local event.  A list of events in Ontario can be found here.

“This upcoming Family Day weekend is a great opportunity to experience licence-free ice fishing and is a reminder that fishing is a year-round sport, and not just a summer hobby,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.  “It’s also a great way to get children hooked on fishing.”

Anglers are reminded to stay safe and to check local ice conditions before heading onto the ice to fish. For ice safety tips, please visit the Ontario website.

This year's licence-free fishing events include Mother’s Day weekend (May 11 and 12, 2019), Father’s Day weekend (June 15 and 16, 2019), and Family Fishing Week (June 29 to July 7, 2019).

Ontario’s recreational fishing industry generates $2.2 billion annually.

Additional Resources:

Ice fishing in Ontario