2024 winter sportfishing season underway

Winter sportfishing provides an opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy many lakes and waterways across Nova Scotia beginning Monday, January 1.

“Getting outside at this time of year is fun for established anglers and those discovering sportfishing for the first time,” said Kent Smith, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Whatever your skill level, and whether you fish by yourself or with others, safety should always be top of mind.”

Freshwater species in the areas open for winter sportfishing include brook and rainbow trout, white and yellow perch, smallmouth bass and chain pickerel. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture stocks lakes with trout from three provincial hatcheries to support the season.

A general fishing licence is needed for this activity, except for the annual winter sportfishing weekend, which is February 17-19 in 2024.

Ways to stay safe during winter sportfishing include:

  • monitoring weather conditions
  • checking ice thickness before fishing on a frozen lake
  • wearing a flotation device as appropriate, including when fishing from a boat
  • dressing in layers to stay warm and dry
  • anglers should also tell someone where they will be fishing and when they plan to be back.

Quick Facts:

  • people can buy a sportfishing licence online
  • general fishing licences can be purchased up to March 1 and remain valid until March 31, the end of the season
  • sportfishing adds about $85 million to Nova Scotia’s economy each year

Additional Resources:

Buying a sportfishing licence and other information: https://beta.novascotia.ca/programs-and-services/sportfishing-licensing

Anglers’ Handbook and 2023 Summary of Regulations: https://beta.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/documents/1-2412/anglers-handbook-en.pdf (winter sportfishing information, including lakes that are open for fishing, begins on page 57)

Via Provincial Release

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