St John's Fishing

[ Background | Equipment | Where ]

Background of the Sport

Fishing off the dock is the easiest way to fish This sport began as a way of catching food, and though it has become a sport, and it's one where you eat what you win (except for "catch & release" fishing)! The concept behind fishing is that you attach either bait or a lure to a line attached to a fishing rod, and the fish will eventually (hopefully) think its food, swallow the bait, get hooked, and you get to reel the fish in. Fishing is a relaxing sport (and requires or teaches patience), helps you to unwind, and you can enjoy your natural surroundings--at least until a fish bites.

Fishing can be done from shore, from a pier, or from a boat. The choice will depend on where you are and what kind of fish you are seeking. Once you have picked a sport, you need to select your tackle, either using bait on a hook or a lure. After attaching it to your line, you need to place the bait where you think the fish are. This is called casting, and is done by extending the line a bit and flicking the rod behind you and then forward to use inertia to get the tackle far out into the water. You then reel in the tackle, trying to mimic the movements of the animal your bait is trying to mimic.

Another popular variant on fishing is ice fishing, where you fish through a hole in the ice (often protected by a heated hut or a tent). This usually uses a shorter rod, and is popular in many parts of the country where longer winters create thick ice giving access to deepwater fishing spots to all.

It is considered sportsmanlike practice to keep only those fish you plan to eat. Return the rest for others to catch. Please respect the environment, by not littering, and by not being overly noisy. You should also make sure you comply with provincial regulations regarding fishing seasons, required permits (more on this later)


Youth getting fishing lures ready In order to go fishing you need a rod & reel and some basic tackle. There are several kinds of rod & reel for either spincasting (best for beginners) or for fly fishing. You can buy these separately, or in combination. You need to select your line to suit your fish and your rod & reel, though today monofilament made of a single strand of plastic is most prevalent. The "terminal tackle" at the fish catching end of the line may include any of a number of elements: the hook for bait or a lure, a snap swivel (particularly when using spinning lures), a sinker (to hold the hook down), a bobber (to keep it up, say above weeds). You will also need a tackle box, needlenose pliers, nail clippers, a bucket, a net (for landing the caught fish), and optionally a camera.

The choice of bait or lures depends on what you're fishing for, the time of year, your fishing philosophy, and sometimes local rules. Typical live bait includes earthworms, minnows and assorted garden "crawlers." Lures tend to be more expensive, but present several advantages: they are durable, you can pre-pack a variety to suit any fishing excursion and they are heavier making it easier to cast in windy conditions. Some of the accessories to help make your fishing trip safer and more fun include: hats (for shade), sunscreen, insect repellent, life jackets (absolutely when fishing from a boat, but also for kids along the shore), a first aid kit, and waterproof boots or waders.

National Parks

Licences for fishing in our National Parks can be purchased at park information centres, administration, campgrounds, wardens offices and some fishing shops. The cost is $13 per year, or $6 for a seven day permit for all persons.


Provincial Regualtions
The freshwater (rivers & lakes) are covered by provincial regulation.

On the Island and south of 52 N in Labrador, non-residents wishing to angle for trout or salmon on any scheduled river or angle for trout beyond 800 meters of a provincial highway are required to use a guide or be accompanied by a direct relative.

In Labrador, North of 52, non-resident trout and salmon anglers must engage the services of an outfitting company or fish at a co-operative camp or be accompanied by a direct relative. When visiting a cooperative camp, non-residents may fish without engaging the services of an o utfitter (but must be accompanied by a licenced guide or direct relative) anywhere in the lake or pond the camp is on, or 800 meters above or below the camp, if the camp is on a river. Non-residents may angle in non-scheduled waters unaccompanied and without engaging the services of an outfitter within 800 meters of a Provincial Highway. Non-residents may angle in scheduled waters within 800 meters of a Provincial Highway without engaging the services of an outfitter but must be accompanied by a guide or direct relative. For more information visit the House of Assembly Guide Regulations.

For further information on angling, contact the Department of Fishery and Oceans at (709) 772-4423.

Federal Regulations
The slatwater / ocean fishery is covered by federal regulation.

Atlantic Recreational Licence Program Groundfish (Atlantic cod) requires individuals to have a licence to fish recreationally for groundfish. Fishing is permitted during the published opwn season, one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset. Fishing for the day must cease once the daily bag limit is reached. Persons 16 years of age and older require an individual licence to participate in the recreational groundfish fishery. Fishers under 16 may fish without a licence if accompanied by an adult in possession of a valid licence, and their fish caught count against the licence holder's limits. Licences are available at all Canada Post outlets located in 3Ps, as well as St. John's, Cornerbrook, Clarenville, and Grand Falls - Windsor at a cost of $10, and must be signed by licensee to be valid.

Only handline and angling gear is permitted. Handlines include baited hooks, feathered hooks and artificial lures. maximum of six hooks per line may be used. The use of fishing lures while angling, including those with a gang hook attached (treble hooks), is permitted providing they do not weigh in excess of five ounces/125 grams. The use of Jiggers is prohibited.

Full federal regulations
>Tag rewards
If you catch a fish that has a coloured tag, ther may be a cash reward for returning it. Science Branch DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) Newfoundland Region has released several thousand tagged cod in recent years. Fishers are encouraged in the tags together with recapture information immediately after capture. Most tags (coloured red, yellow or pink) have the value of the reward printed on them as well as a serial number and the DFO return address.

You must provide the serial number (which indicates the tag was released by DFO Science, Newfoundland Region) and if possible state exact date, specific location of capture (latitude and longitude if possible), depth, length (cm), weight (kg) and gear used. Include your return address.

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