Is bait fish a thing of the past in Ontario




MNR reviewing live bait policies for sport fishing, does this mean the next time we hear about this it will be on the EBR telling us we can no longer use live bate fish in Ontario. It seems every time MNR does not understand something, like how to stop invasive species, they come up with brilliant ideas like this. Do you have a comment?


THUNDER BAY — A review into the provincial regulations for live bait has some worried there could be major changes coming in the sport fishing industry.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is in the middle of reviewing the current policies for the use of live bait in sport fishing to determine if there need to be recommendations made to further protect Ontario waters from invasive species.

Among those expressing concern is John Kaplanis, executive director of Northwestern Ontario Sportsman’s Alliance, who wants the province to keep the regulations that are currently in place.

“We’re opposed to any changes. We would like to see the status quo continue on the usage of live bait in Ontario,” Kaplanis said.

The review is examining potential changes such as limiting what kind of bait can be used as well as whether it should be banned in specific areas such as provincial parks and conservation areas.

Conservation groups have been advocating the province to adopt stricter regulations to combat baitfish from entering new waters and affecting ecosystems.

It is currently illegal to dispose of live bait in any waterway.

However anglers don’t believe targeting bait, such as minnows, used by sport fishers is the most effective way to halt invasive species.

“We don’t see that as seriously addressing any significant threat due to invasive species,” Kaplanis said of any changes.

“Nowhere in the review have we identified a threat that has been pointed out and highlighted that could be attributed to the usage of live bait.”

News of the review has sparked speculation Ontario could be looking at an outright ban on live bait, which would follow the lead of some other provinces and territories.

The live bait industry is said to contribute more than $20 million to the province’s economy annually.

Gary Turpin, owner of Rockwood Bait and Tackle, said changes to legislation could have significant impacts on bait shop owners as well as those who make a living trapping the bait that is sold.

“I would just have to shut down. I don’t see any compensation coming our way if they do decide to ban it all together,” he said.

Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro described the review as a “risk assessment” to explore whether further safeguards need to be implemented to protect provincial waterways.

Any talk of significant legislative overhauls is premature.

“There are no changes as we stand here today,” Mauro said. “There is a group that has been reviewing and coming forward with policy options and that will happen over the next period of time.”

Comments by 8 readers;

People have been using live bait for hundreds of years and now the MNR has a problem with it ? They should be more worried about the Asian Carp invasion that is slowly swimming our way . If those fish hit Superior you can kiss goodbye all fish in it and any tributary waters flowing into it .


My big suggestion is to make sure that bait fish is not sold out of certain administrative districts. This would mean that we set up stations at the border to make sure that our American fishermen purchase all bait in Canada. One can only do that by checking all vehicles entering from down there. Worms/leeches etc sold at chain stores like Wally world would have to be locally sourced. These are the big issues. We cannot and should not let some supposedly conservation groups ( aka antifishing groups) dictate things. Involve the OFAH, and other local interested groups as part of an education and administration process.But that is not the way OMNR works.


Why is it ok for the MNR to introduce introduce invasive species? Take Pacific Salmon for example. Why are they now swimming in Lake Superior and competing with our precious Brook Trout for spawning grounds in the fall? I’ve seen it with my own eyes. If you want to catch a Pacific Salmon, go to the Pacific Ocean. Does the MNR just throw a bunch of scenarios into a hat and pull one out and decide to act on it? And while I’m ranting, what’s the idea of the “outdoors card”?? It’s a freaking licence to buy a licence. Unreal. Maybe they should introduce an Ontario card, that you have to purchase before you buy your “outdoors card”..


The liberals appear to be doing a great job at putting Ontarians out of work. Leave this issue alone.


Parks and conservation areas I can see bans on using live bait. Quetico Provincial Park has been bait free and barbless for a while now and I still enjoy fishing there.

The problem with today’s MNRF is that, in an agency decimated by cuts and the so called recent “Transformation”, the ministry is full of personnel fighting for relevancy as their mandate and focus changes. There is also no shortage of “crusaders” and persons chasing causes, particularly in the Emerald Palace in Peterborough. This results in policies which are not very reflective of the needs of the people that depend on our natural resources to make a living.


Wrong, there has not been enough cutbacks considering the number of forestry companies that have been closing over the past decades. While it is only 1 facet of what they do, it was the biggest and most spread out requiring the most manpower. Any why are there so many big offices and people working in Southern Ontario in OMNR. It is time to close down unnecessary operations and begin by focusing in Southern Ontario.


Dynamiter appears to not know MNRF very well and has no idea what the recent so-called transformation has done. There are still FMA’s despite the downturn in forestry and management/licensing issues to deal with in addition to reduced staff and an expanding mandate.

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