Get important fishing information, tools, and tips in one spot for all of your Saskatchewan fishing adventures.
1. Packaging your Fish for Transportation
In order to enforce limits, conservation officers must be able to count and measure your fish. Approved methods of transporting fish include: (1) whole (round); (2) headless dressed; and (3) fillets.
- Anglers must package their fish for transport in such a way it can be readily unwrapped, separated, identified, measured – and counted.
- It is illegal to can or block freeze fish outside of the home.
- All dressed fish and fillets must have a minimum 2.5 cm (1 in) square patch of skin with scales intact from a portion of the body other than the belly. Fish packaged in this manner can be easily identified.
- Fillets must remain intact or whole for transport and cannot be cut into pieces.
Anyone transporting legally caught fish out of Saskatchewan must possess a valid Saskatchewan angling licence. The only exceptions are First Nations or Métis people who have an existing Aboriginal right to fish for food in Saskatchewan waters, as well as children under the age of 16 and Saskatchewan resident seniors. If fish are shipped before or after you leave the country, your name, address, angling licence number and a list of contents must be attached to the outside of the container. Fish transported from Saskatchewan must be easily identified according to species, number and length. Non-resident anglers from the United States should check with U.S. Customs officials or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for information on regulations governing the importation and transportation of fish into the country.
2. Ethical Angling
Ethical anglers learn to fish responsibly because they consider the rights of others and the need to protect and conserve our natural heritage.
- Know and obey fishing regulations, which serve to protect the resource and spread the harvest among all anglers;
- Understand the need for a personal code of unwritten laws since laws cannot cover all situations;
- Know that fish are a valuable resource and do not waste them;
- Learn techniques to handle fish to ensure their survival, if released;
- Co-operate and are courteous with all resource users, including other anglers, swimmers, boaters and landowners;
- Appreciate the environment and keep it clean, leaving fishing sites in good condition;
- Protect all waters from the threat of aquatic invasive species by practicing Clean, Drain, Dry on all watercraft and related equipment when moving between waters; and
- Ensure good fishing for future generations by limiting their overall catch.
Limiting your Overall Catch
When large numbers of fish are caught and released, you should consider voluntarily limiting your overall catch. When practicing catch-and-release techniques, you can kill in excess of your daily limit. A fish may appear healthy or swim away upon release; however, delayed mortality may occur due to physiological stress or injury. To estimate delayed mortality, count one fish killed for every 10 fish released. This mortality, combined with the number of fish kept, will provide an estimate of total fish kill. When your total fish kill equals the daily limit for a particular species, you should consider stopping fishing or directing your attention to another species.
Be conservation wise and know when to limit your overall catch!
Most Saskatchewan angling waters are open to the public; however, access may be restricted in some cases, including:
- A fishing licence does not entitle you to fish on private property without the owner's permission. Doing so would constitute trespassing.
- The owner's permission is required to fish any privately stocked waters or where fish are being raised under a fish farming licence.
- Permission from the First Nation Chief or Band Council is required to fish on First Nations reserve lands.
3. Aquatic Invasive Species
Learn more about how you can help protect Saskatchewan waters from aquatic invasive species.
4. Boat Safety
Anglers should be prepared and vigilant when fishing on Saskatchewan waters.
Make sure you are aware of boat safety before your next fishing adventure with these helpful tips:
- Always wear a Canadian-approved lifejacket while boating. Make sure it fits properly and that all buckles, straps, zippers and fabric are in good condition.
- Be prepared. Ensure all safety equipment is onboard, works well and is within easy reach.
- Take a boating safety course to learn basic boating safety knowledge and understand the "rules of the road."
- Check local weather forecasts and change your plans if the weather turns bad.
- Know the waterway. Reefs, stumps, rocks, changing water levels and sandbars are examples of hazards. Carry a local marine chart(s), if available, or ask someone who knows the waterway well about any hidden hazards.
- If operating a boat powered by motors 7.5 kW (10 hp) or more, a Pleasure Craft Licence is required. This licence is free and is valid for 10 years. In an emergency, search and rescue personnel can access information about your boat using the licence number. Have your proof of competency onboard.
- Tell someone you trust where you are going and when you will be back.
- Check your fuel supply: 1/3 to go, 1/3 to return and 1/3 in reserve.
- Respect the limits of your watercraft. Follow the guidelines on the boat's compliance label. Don't overload or carry more weight or people than listed.
- Boat sober. Operating a boat while impaired is dangerous, and an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.
5. Ice Fishing
In Saskatchewan, nearly 20 per cent of all angling occurs during the winter months.
Ice safety should be your number one priority before and during your ice fishing adventures. Check ice thickness regularly, as water does not freeze uniformly and is unpredictable. Check out the ice thickness guidelines below.
Ice fishing equipment can be very basic, requiring only a line, lure and an ice auger/chisel.
The following apply when winter fishing in Saskatchewan:
- Two lines may be used when ice fishing, but they must be within sight and 25 metres (27.3 yards) of the person who set or is using them;
- The limits are the same for the ice fishing and open water seasons;
- Only gaffs with a J-hook end may be used to land fish while ice fishing, but they cannot exceed 1.5 metres (1.6 yards) long. Use or possession of a spear on ice-covered waters is prohibited;
- Ice fishing shelters left unattended on the ice must have the owner's full name, address and phone number in legible letters that are at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) high on the outside of the shelter;
- Ice fishing shelters south of Highway 16 must be removed from the ice no later than March 15. Shelters north of Highway 16 must be removed from the ice no later than March 31. If necessary, owners may be directed to remove ice shelters earlier than these dates;
- Storing or leaving ice fishing shelters on public land, or on private land without the landowner's consent, is prohibited; and
- It is illegal to leave litter on the ice.
6. Size-based Limits
Size-based limits are used in Saskatchewan to regulate fishing pressure and harvest of fish. The appropriate use of a specific size limit depends on factors such as fish reproduction, growth, mortality rates, habitat and fishing pressure.
Upper (maximum) size limit: (reduced or zero harvest of fish over a certain length)
- Protects spawning-sized fish to increase natural reproduction and abundance.
- Widely applied to Saskatchewan's waters for walleye, northern pike, lake trout, arctic grayling and channel catfish.
Minimum size limit: (fish under a certain length must be released)
- Allows small fish in populations with poor reproduction to reach maturity before being subjected to harvest.
- Applied to Saskatchewan's waters on a limited basis.
Protected slot limit: (fish within a designated length range must be released)
- Typically used in populations with good natural reproduction where growth of small, densely populated fish is slow.
- Applied to Saskatchewan's waters on a limited basis.
7. Competitive Fishing Events
Competitive Fishing Events are defined as any fishing event with 25 or more participants who angle for fish for the purpose of winning prizes or money on the basis of fish caught. If you are hosting a competitive fishing event, you must meet requirements or hold a competitive fishing event licence.
8. Fish of Saskatchewan
9. Same Fish, Different Waters
10. Weighing Your Fish
Fish may be harmed when weighed. To protect your fish, take a length measurement. With this chart, you can quickly determine the approximate weight of your fish using a ruler or tape measure.
|Approximate Weight (kg)
11. Catch and Release
Catch-and-release fishing continues to increase in popularity in Saskatchewan. It is important to follow best practices to limit injuries or death. Factors such as handling, hook placement and environmental conditions can influence post-release mortality.
Factors such as handling, hook placement and environmental conditions can influence post-release mortality. More information about catch and release tools and techniques can be found in our Publications Centre.
12. Free Fishing Weekends
Free fishing weekends are July 8-9, 2023, and February 17-19, 2024. Please note:
- Angling limits and all other sport fishing laws remain in effect.
- The free fishing weekend does not apply in national parks.
- Anyone planning to take fish out of the province must buy a licence.
13. Fun Facts
- Saskatchewan has approximately 94,000 lakes with an estimated 50,000 lakes that contain fish.
- There are 69 species of fish in Saskatchewan, with approximately 21 commonly sought after by anglers. The other 47 species are much too small for angler interest!
- Approximately 25 per cent of Saskatchewan residents are anglers.
- Saskatchewan is home to three world sport fishing records.
- The largest lake trout in the world was taken from Lake Athabasca in 1961 by commercial fishermen, weighing 46.27 kg.
- One of North America's largest brown trout was taken from Lake Diefenbaker in 1996 by spear fishing, weighing 17.01 kg.
14. Angling Definitions
- Angler: a person who angles or fishes.
- Angling: fishing with a line and hook or a rod, line and hook; bow fishing; or underwater spear fishing.
- Bait: any substance used to attract fish by scent or flavour.
- Barbless hook: a hook without barbs or one that has its barbs completely compressed against the shaft of the hook so that the bards are not functional, not including those barbs on the shank of the hook that are intended for holding bait.
- Canadian Armed Forces Veteran: a veteran is a Saskatchewan or Canadian resident who is a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, has successfully undergone basic training and has been honourably discharged.
- Canadian resident: a person who has a principal residence elsewhere in Canada and is a Canadian citizen or who has lived in Canada for 12 months immediately preceding the date of licence purchase.
- Competitive fishing event: an angling competition, including a tournament or derby, where there are 25 or more entrants, and prizes are awarded on the basis of fish caught.
- Derby: a competitive fishing event where fish are caught and killed.
- Fish: fin fish, shell fish and crustaceans in any life stage, including eggs.
- Fishing: to acquire, capture, catch, harvest or take any fish from or in any water, and includes any attempt to acquire, capture, catch, harvest or take any fish by angling, commercial/sustenance net fishing, bait fishing and dip net fishing.
- Note: A Saskatchewan resident 65 years of age or older who produces proof of age and Saskatchewan residency does not require an angling licence, but must meet all other fishing regulations. Out-of-province seniors require a licence.
- Hook: a single or multi-pointed hook on a common shaft or an artificial lure that has one or more single or multi-pointed hooks attached as part of it.
- Immediate family member: one's father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, child, spouse or common-law spouse.
- Length: the distance from the tip of the fish's nose to the end of the tail, with the lobes of the tail compressed or pinched together.
- Limit: the maximum number of fish you are allowed to retain or have in your possession.
- Non-resident: a person who is not a Saskatchewan or Canadian resident.
- Retained: a fish that is not immediately released to the body of water from which it was taken, including fish given away or eaten for shore lunch.
- Saskatchewan resident: a person who is a Canadian resident with a principal residence in Saskatchewan and has lived in the province for three months immediately preceding the date of licence purchase, or is a regular member of the Canadian Armed Forces who was a Saskatchewan resident when recruited or deployed from the province.
- Senior: a person 65 years of age or older.
- Shore lunch: fish consumed on the day it was caught.
- Snagging: fishing with a hook or hooks manipulated as to intentionally pierce or hook a fish in any part of the body other than the mouth.
- Tournament: a competitive fishing event where fish are caught and released.