Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations

Discover essential Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations for anglers. Learn about licenses, catch limits, and conservation practices to ensure a responsible fishing experience.

Canada’s Northwest Territories boasts pristine lakes and rivers teeming with fish. Anglers and commercial fishers must follow complex rules to protect these natural resources. The Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations guide everyone in preserving a thriving fishery.

These rules shape the future of fishing in this remote region. They cover key aspects like licensing, gear limits, and catch restrictions. Understanding these regulations is crucial for anyone fishing in this captivating wilderness.

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Key Takeaways about Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations

  • The Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations outline the comprehensive rules and guidelines for recreational and commercial fishing activities within the territory’s waterways.
  • These regulations cover a wide range of topics, including licensing requirements, gear restrictions, catch limits, seasonal closures, and the protection of spawning grounds and waterways.
  • Anglers and commercial fishers must adhere to these regulations to ensure sustainable and responsible fishing practices in the region.
  • The regulations are designed to balance the needs of anglers, commercial fishers, and the long-term health of the territory’s fisheries.
  • Variation orders are periodically issued to update the regulations, reflecting the dynamic nature of fishery management in the Northwest Territories.

Interpretation of Key Terms

The Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations define important terms used in the legislation. These definitions are vital for understanding and following the rules. Let’s look at some key terms anglers and commercial fishers should know.

Definitions for Angling, Area, Beneficiary, and More

Angling means fishing with a line in hand or on a rod. The line must have a hook or lure attached. Area refers to the Northwest Territories, including the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

A beneficiary is someone enrolled under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Commercial fishing is fishing to sell or trade. Domestic fishing is catching fish for personal use.

Game fish are species caught for fun. A gill net is designed to catch fish by their gills. Residency rules are also clearly stated in the regulations.

To sport fish as a Northwest Territories resident, you must live there for three months. For commercial fishing, it’s six months. Knowing these terms helps ensure compliance with fishing regulations.

Licensing Requirements

Anglers in the Northwest Territories must get the right fishing license. The rules spell out what licenses fishers need. These licenses cover different types of fishing activities.

For fun fishing, you need a sport fishing license. This lets you fish for yourself, following catch limits and other rules.

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Commercial fishing needs a special license too. It’s for those who catch and sell fish to make money.

Domestic fishing is for personal use only. Residents need a domestic license to catch fish for their own meals.

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The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans gives out these licenses. You pay a fee to get one. Always carry your license when fishing.

License TypeRequirementPurpose
Sport Fishing LicenseRequired for recreational or personal use fishingAllows angling for personal consumption, subject to catch limits
Commercial Fishing LicenseRequired for commercial fishing operationsPermits the catching and selling of fish for profit
Domestic Fishing LicenseRequired for fishing for personal consumptionAllows Northwest Territories residents to harvest fish for their own use

Getting the right license is key for fishing in the Northwest Territories. Following these rules helps protect the area’s fish for the future.

Gear Restrictions and Prohibitions

The Northwest Territories has strict rules on fishing gear and methods. These protect aquatic ecosystems and ensure sustainable fishing practices. Anglers must follow these guidelines to preserve the natural environment.

Guidelines on Gear Usage and Banned Methods

Anglers in the Northwest Territories must follow these gear restrictions:

  • The use of firearms, spears, arrows, and gaffs is generally prohibited, except under the authority of a valid license.
  • Snagging, which involves impaling a fish through its body instead of hooking it in the mouth, is strictly banned.
  • Anglers are required to use barbless hooks, as barbed hooks can cause unnecessary harm to the fish.
  • Dip nets may only be used to land fish that have been caught by angling.
  • Gill nets, a type of entanglement net that can trap and drown fish, are not allowed without a specific license.

These rules protect fish populations and minimize impact on aquatic habitats. By following them, anglers can enjoy fishing while preserving natural resources.

Proper gear management is vital for sustainable fisheries. The regulations aim to balance recreational angling with aquatic life conservation.

“Proper management of fishing gear and methods is crucial for the long-term sustainability of our fisheries,” said a spokesperson for the Northwest Territories Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Understanding these guidelines helps anglers participate responsibly. They can enjoy the sport while protecting the region’s waterways for future generations.

Removing Fishing Structures and Debris

fishing structure removal

Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations cover responsible removal of fishing structures and proper disposal of fish remains. Anglers must remove ice fishing structures when told by a fishery officer. This rule prevents abandoned gear from harming the environment or blocking waterways.

Proper Disposal of Fish Remains and Offal

The rules ban leaving dead fish, remains, or offal in water or on ice. Instead, “gurry grounds” are set up for proper disposal. This keeps waterways clean and healthy.

Fishery officers can order anglers to remove structures or dispose of fish waste correctly. Breaking these rules can lead to fines or license suspensions under the Fisheries Act.

Fishing Structure RemovalAnglers must remove any fishing structures they have erected or maintained on the ice when directed by a fishery officer.
Fish Waste DisposalDead fish, fish remains, and offal must be disposed of at designated “gurry grounds,” not left in the water or on ice.

Following these rules helps protect Northwest Territories’ waterways. It ensures healthy aquatic ecosystems for future generations. Everyone can play a part in keeping our waters clean and safe.

“The regulations ensure the responsible management of fishing activities, safeguarding the natural resources and environments that are integral to the way of life in the Northwest Territories.”

Stream Crossing Regulations

stream crossings

The Northwest Territories has rules for stream crossings. These protect waterways and fisheries. Key requirements exist for temporary crossings over ice-covered streams.

  • Individuals must use snow or add to the thickness of the ice using snow or ice before constructing a temporary crossing.
  • Alternatively, individuals must obtain authorization from a fishery officer before building a temporary crossing.

These rules protect fisheries and prevent stream damage. They balance stakeholder needs while safeguarding aquatic ecosystems.

Stream CrossingsNo person shall construct a temporary crossing over any ice-covered stream without using snow or adding thickness to the ice by the use of snow or ice unless authorized by an officer.
Logging and Gravel RemovalThe Minister may authorize the placing of signs at appropriate places on the shore designating waters where fishing would be harmed by operations such as placing logs in or releasing logs into the waters, driving logs in the waters, removing gravel from spawning grounds, among other operations.

The rules stress balancing human activity with nature. They focus on stream crossings, ice-covered streams, and temporary crossings.

“Ensuring the protection of the fishery and the integrity of the waterways is paramount in the Northwest Territories’ stream crossing regulations.”

Following these rules helps protect aquatic environments. Anglers and others can enjoy nature while minimizing impact.

The regulations allow for necessary stream crossings. They also protect the long-term health of Northwest Territories’ waterways.

Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations

The Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations govern Canadian fisheries waters in and near the territory. They also cover tidal waters in Ontario and Manitoba. These rules don’t apply to fishing under Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations.

These regulations manage fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing. They cover licensing, gear limits, catch limits, and seasonal closures. The rules aim to protect fish and their habitats.

The Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (GCLCA) affects sport fishing in the Gwich’in Settlement Area. Fishing on Gwich’in Private Lands may need permission. Restrictions may apply near Gwich’in cabins or fishing spots.

The regulations protect spawning grounds and waterways. They also manage commercial fishing licenses and provide updates on recreational fishing. Following these rules helps preserve the region’s fisheries.

Catch Limits and Seasonal Closures

The regulations set catch limits and seasonal closures for different fish species. These rules vary by region and water body. They consider local ecosystems and conservation needs.

In the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Arctic grayling has a possession limit of 5 and daily catch limit of 3. The Gwich’in and Sahtu Settlement Areas allow 10 possession and 5 daily catch.

Dolly Varden has a 0 possession and 0 daily catch limit in some areas. Other waters allow 7 possession and 4 daily catch. Some species have zero limits in specific waters to protect vulnerable populations.

Following these limits helps maintain fish populations. It also supports the long-term conservation of diverse fish species in the Northwest Territories.

Commercial Fishing Licenses and Requirements

The regulations cover commercial fishing licenses in the Northwest Territories. Commercial fishing is vital for the local economy and supports many communities.

Commercial fishers must follow rules on licenses, gear, and catch reporting. These measures ensure responsible and environmentally conscious fishing practices. They help preserve the health of Canadian fisheries waters.

The regulations allow Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences for Indigenous communities. These licenses support traditional fishing practices, food security, and cultural heritage. They fall under separate regulations.

Understanding and following these rules helps sustain the Northwest Territories’ fisheries. It ensures these resources remain available for future generations.

Catch Limits and Seasonal Closures

NWT fishing rules set catch limits and seasonal closures. These protect fish populations and keep waterways healthy. Anglers must follow these rules to safeguard vulnerable species.

Species-Specific Limits and Closed Times

The rules set daily catch and possession limits for various fish. Anglers can keep 2 Arctic grayling or 5 whitefish per day.

Some waters close during specific times. This protects spawning grounds and vulnerable fish populations.

  • The seasonal NWT Sport Fishing Licences expire each year on March 31.
  • Maximum of 2 lines are allowed for ice fishing with no more than 2 hooks per line.
  • Diameter of the dip net cannot be bigger than 1 meter for ciscoes and suckers.
  • Fish must be placed in refuse containers and not disposed of in water or on ice.
  • Fillets must be separated before freezing them, and two fillets are considered as one fish.
  • The regulations summarized apply to anglers who are NWT residents, Canadian residents, and non-residents.

Find detailed info on closures, quotas, and size limits at

These rules protect NWT’s aquatic ecosystems. They ensure fishing catch limits, seasonal fishing closures, and game fish regulations are enforced.

By following these rules, anglers enjoy fishing while supporting sustainability. This helps preserve NWT’s sport fishing resources for future generations.

Commercial Fishing Licenses and Requirements

The Northwest Territories regulates commercial fishing with strict guidelines. To sell or barter fish, you need a commercial fishing license. These rules ensure responsible management of fisheries resources.

Here are the commercial fishing license fees in the Northwest Territories:

License TypeFee
NWT Resident Fishing License$12.05
Resident Canadian Fishing License$24.12
Non-resident Fishing License$48.25
3-day Resident Canadian Fishing License$18.09
3-day Non-resident Fishing License$36.18
1-day Resident Canadian Fishing License$12.05
1-day Non-resident Fishing License$12.05
Great Bear Lake Special Management Area License$12.04

The Licensing Policy for marine fisheries in Eastern Canada aims to boost economic viability. It reduces fishing capacity to prevent overcapitalization and resource depletion. These reforms are part of federal plans for sustainable and profitable commercial fisheries.

The Fisheries Act was updated in 2019 to improve regulations. It now considers social, economic, and cultural factors in fisheries management. Since April 2021, key inshore licensing policies are part of Atlantic and Maritime Provinces Fishery Regulations.

Indigenous people get special access to commercial fisheries for economic growth. They’re exempt from some eligibility rules for replacement licenses.

A fishing license allows harvesting specific species under certain conditions. It’s not a property right and ends when it expires. The Commercial Fisheries Licensing Policy for Eastern Canada has important goals.

These goals include balancing capacity with resources and promoting sustainable harvesting. They also aim to foster economic viability and industry self-reliance.

Recreational Fishing Updates and Variation Orders

Anglers in the Northwest Territories need to stay up-to-date on fishing rules. The Fishing Regulations often change through variation orders. These orders address conservation needs and adjust catch limits for sport fishing.

Find the latest updates on the Government of Canada website. You can also contact local Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices for more info.

Variation orders help fisheries managers respond quickly to environmental changes. They can adjust fishing gear rules, close times, and quotas. These orders also modify size and weight limits for different fish species.

Recent variation orders have changed recreational fishing rules in the Northwest Territories:

  • Arctic char: No variations reported in Hornaday River and its tributaries.
  • Arctic grayling: Daily catch limit is 5 and possession limit is 10 in specified areas within settlement regions; no variations in other waters.
  • Burbot: Daily catch limit of 5 in Dolomite Lake, no variations in other designated areas or the rest of the Northwest Territories.
  • Ciscoes: Catch limit of 175 at Dolomite Lake and general waters excluding specific regions within settlement areas.
  • Dolly Varden: No variations within settlement regions, daily catch limit of 4 and possession limit of 7 in other waters.
  • Inconnu: Daily catch limit of 5 and possession limit of 10 in specified areas; no variances in other locations.
  • Lake trout: Varied catch and possession limits at different lakes and tributaries; ranges from 1 to 5 depending on locations specified.
  • Northern pike: Catch and possession limits range from 1 to 5 in specified locations within settlement areas and different rivers and lakes of the Northwest Territories.
  • Rainbow trout: Standard 1 catch and 2 possession limits across all waters of the Northwest Territories.
  • Walleye: No variances in specific areas within settlement regions; limits range from 1 to 5 depending on the designated waters.
  • Lake, Broad, and Round Whitefish: Varied limits of 10 to 20 for catch and possession in specific settlement regions and lakes; limits in Dolomite Lake are set at 10 for catch and 20 for possession.

Always check the latest fishing variation orders before you go fishing. This helps you follow the most recent sport fishing regulations in the Northwest Territories.

Protecting Spawning Grounds and Waterways

The Northwest Territories’ fishing rules protect fish habitats and spawning grounds. The Minister can stop harmful activities in certain waterways. This helps keep fisheries sustainable for the long term.

The rules focus on protecting fish spawning grounds and waterways. Fall spawners breed from mid-August to November. Spring and summer spawners breed from March to early July.

Winter spawners, like Burbot, breed from December to mid-January. Their eggs hatch in 30 days to 3 months.

The rules set timing windows for in-water activities in different zones. In Zone 1, avoid work in spring and summer from April 1 to July 15. For fall, avoid work from September 15 to June 30.

Zone 2 has similar rules, except for fall, which starts August 15. Zone 3 has specific fall timing windows from September 15 to June 30.

Table 3 shows timeframes for all spawning types or unknown fish species. For Lake Trout spawning areas, the timing window starts August 15. Dolly Varden in Rat River start spawning in mid-August.

There’s a special window from July 16 to August 14 for lakes with spawning Lake Trout. This also applies to the Rat River. It protects sensitive fish habitats during critical times.

“The act specifies that ‘serious harm to fish’ is defined as the death of fish or any permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat.”

These rules protect the Northwest Territories’ fisheries and waterway conservation efforts. They ensure the long-term health of this vital natural resource.


The Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations guide the management of the territory’s fisheries. These rules help anglers and commercial fishers act responsibly. They also ensure fish populations stay healthy for future generations.

Following these regulations is crucial for anyone fishing in the region. They cover licensing, gear limits, catch limits, and seasonal closures. These rules promote responsible angling and sustainable fisheries management.

The regulations also protect spawning grounds and waterways. This shows the territory’s dedication to preserving aquatic ecosystems. The Northwest Territories works with Indigenous groups and stakeholders on these rules.

Together, they keep the fishing regulations summary relevant and effective. This helps preserve the region’s fisheries for years to come.

For an overview of fishing regulations and licenses in Canada, please check this guide

FAQ about Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations

What are the key regulations and guidelines outlined in the Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations?

The Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations cover many fishing aspects. They include licensing, gear rules, catch limits, and seasonal closures. These rules aim to promote sustainable fishing in the region.

What are the key definitions used in the Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations?

The regulations define terms like “angling,” “area,” and “game fish.” They also explain “commercial fishing” and “domestic fishing.” Understanding these terms helps in applying the rules correctly.

What are the licensing requirements for fishing in the Northwest Territories?

Anglers need a sport fishing license. Commercial fishers require a commercial license. Those fishing for personal use need a domestic license. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans issues these licenses.

What are the restrictions and prohibitions on fishing gear and methods in the Northwest Territories?

The rules limit the use of firearms, spears, and gill nets. These are generally banned without a license. Snagging is also not allowed. Anglers must use barbless hooks.

What are the regulations regarding the removal of fishing structures and the disposal of fish remains and offal?

Anglers must remove ice fishing structures when told by a fishery officer. They can’t leave dead fish or remains in water or on ice. Special “gurry grounds” must be used for proper disposal.

What are the regulations for constructing temporary crossings over ice-covered streams in the Northwest Territories?

People must use snow or ice to build temporary crossings. They can also get permission from a fishery officer. This protects the fishery and keeps waterways safe.

How do the Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations apply to different fishing activities and areas?

The rules cover Canadian fisheries in and near the Northwest Territories. They also apply to tidal waters in Ontario and Manitoba. Aboriginal fishing licenses have different rules.

What are the catch limits and seasonal closures for fish species in the Northwest Territories?

The rules set catch limits and seasonal closures for various fish. Some waters are closed at certain times. This protects game fish like trout and Arctic grayling.

What are the requirements and procedures for obtaining a commercial fishing license in the Northwest Territories?

Commercial fishing licenses allow people to sell or trade fish. The rules explain how to get these licenses. Commercial fishers must follow regulations to protect fish resources.

How are the Northwest Territories Fishing Regulations updated and where can anglers find the latest information?

The rules are updated through variation orders. These can change daily catch and possession limits. Anglers should check the Government of Canada website for updates. Local Fisheries offices can also provide more information.

How do the regulations protect the fishery and its habitats, including spawning grounds?

The rules protect fish habitats from harmful activities like logging and gravel removal. The Minister can ban these activities in at-risk waters. This helps ensure long-term sustainability of the territory’s fisheries.

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Ethan Belanger is a passionate explorer and writer, deeply connected to the natural beauty and adventure opportunities Canada offers. With a background in Journalism, Ethan has dedicated his career to uncovering the finest fishing, hunting, and wildlife experiences across the country.

His articles are not only informative but also inspire readers to embrace the great outdoors.

Ethan’s work with Canada Fever allows him to share expert tips, prime destinations, and thrilling stories, ensuring that every adventurer, from novices to seasoned outdoorsmen, can find valuable insights and inspiration.

When not writing, he enjoys hands-on exploration, constantly seeking new adventures to share with his audience.

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