Fishing according to the rules
All the information you need to fish in compliance on Quebec’s salmon rivers
TO BE IN COMPLIANCE ON SALMON RIVERS
Sport fishing for Atlantic salmon is governed by a number of specific regulations that must be respected.
Most rivers have their own code of ethics, often posted on their website.
You must have a salmon fishing licence to fish on a salmon river, even if you are fishing for another species. In addition, you must always carry your licence while fishing.
There are three types of licences: annual catch and release licence, annual salmon retention licence and short term and other licences.
To learn more about salmon fishing licences, click here.
Once you have your fishing licence, you will need a right of access in order to fish the river.
RIGHT OF ACCESS
The right of access is your “day pass” to the river. It gives you permission to fish in a designated area.
The right of access is mandatory. It demonstrates proof of payment for the day’s activity and indicates the sector that is allocated to you on the river. It is mandatory that you place it legibly on the dashboard of your vehicle or carry it with you and display it upon request by Wildlife Officers or Assistant Wildlife Officers.
Access rights are available at the river’s front desk and, in some cases, online.
Access rights allow access to two types of sectors, either limited access (reserved), or public.
LIMITED ACCESS AND PUBLIC SECTORS
Most rivers have both public and limited access sectors. Public sectors have an unlimited number of anglers, while limited access sectors have a limited number of anglers per day. In order to fish on reserved waters, one must first enter and win a draw.
- Generally speaking, each year, the Atlantic salmon sport fishing season lasts from May 15 to September 30 in Quebec. Fishing periods vary depending on the river. To find out the fishing dates by area, click here.
- Regardless of the sector and the river, it is always forbidden to fish from a bridge that crosses a salmon river or its estuary.
- It is forbidden to fish at night. You may fish 1 hour before and 1 hour after sunset.
- Only fly fishing is allowed during the salmon fishing season.
- Only one fly with either a single or a double hook is allowed on the line.
- Specific rules on fly lines and types of flies also apply. For more information, visit the following link.
CATCHING A SALMON
Since salmon are a fragile species, the Quebec government regulates their exploitation.
There is a daily catch and release limit of 3* fish. In other words, if you have caught and released 3 salmon in the same day, you have reached your quota and will not be able to fish again that day.
Why not? Because despite being released, salmon are still impacted by the fight they put up and there is a proven mortality rate associated with catch and release. It is partly for this reason that it is strongly recommended that you register every fish you catch and release with your river manager. This data is essential for salmon conservation.
In the event that you wish to retain your salmon, there are several rules that must be observed, otherwise, angling for the species could be considered as poaching. For salmon tagging regulations, click here.
* Warning: some rivers have adopted codes of ethics suggesting a maximum of 2 releases per day. We advise you to comply with the code of ethics of the river you are fishing on.
* With the exception of rivers in Northern Quebec and those east of Natashquan, where no catch and release limit apply.
For a complete list of regulations pertaining to salmon fishing in Quebec, click here.
For more information on the management of Quebec’s salmon rivers, consult the Atlantic Salmon Management Plan 2016–2026.