The Newfoundland fishing regulations are strictly enforced with virtually every river being stealthily patrolled. Typical fines average $1000 for each illegally caught fish AND forfeit of vehicles and gear used to transport you to the location and catch the fish. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans coupled with the Inland Fish and Wildlife Division of the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods develop and enforce recreational fishing regulations in Newfoundland and Labrador. Below is a summary of the most pertinent and enforced regulations
All non-residents are required to obtain a salmon license to fish on scheduled salmon waters. Non-residents who retain brook trout while fishing on a scheduled salmon river/stream are required to be in possession of a valid non-resident trout license. In addition, non-residents who fish for brook trout, on both scheduled and unscheduled waters (lakes, ponds or trout streams) are required to hold a non-resident license.
Anglers may start fishing 1 hours prior to civil sunrise and must finish fishing 1 hour after sunset.
Legal and Illegal Gear
A salmon may only be angled by hook and line. The hook has to be a non-weighted artificial fly with a single hook. Bait, metal lures, and double and triple pronged hooks are prohibited. Beginning in 1999, only barbless hooks may be used for angling on all scheduled salmon waters in Newfoundland and Labrador. You may bend down the barb of a hook to make it legal or “effectively barbless”.
There are virtually no restrictions on trout fishing on non-salmon waters other than bag limits. Trout may be fished with bait and/or artificial lures on non-scheduled lakes, streams, and ponds.
Non-Resident Guide Requirements
(1) On the Island of Newfoundland Non-residents shall not fish on any scheduled waters (salmon waters) unless accompanied by a licensed guide or a direct relative who is a resident of the province. Unscheduled waters (non-salmon producing lakes, ponds, and streams): Within 800 meters of a Provincial highway, non-residents may fish unaccompanied on unscheduled water. Beyond 800 meters of a provincial highway, non-residents may not fish unless accompanied by a licensed guide or a direct relative who is a resident of the province.
Bag Limits and Catch and Release Limits
NOTE: ALL SALMON OVER 63cm (24.75 inches) MUST BE RELEASED
Daily – Bag Limit
- Two fish on Class I, II and III rivers
- No fish on Class IV rivers
Daily – Catch -and -Release Limit
- Four fish on Class I, II and III rivers
- Two fish on Class IV rivers
- Four fish in the fall catch-and release fisheries on the Gander River and the Humber River
Field Possession Limit
- Twice the daily bag limit
Season – Retained
- Class I Rivers: On the Humber River only the season retention limit is 6 salmon.
- Four fish on the Gander and Exploits. Tags numbered 1 – 6 may be used.
- Class II Rivers: Four fish. Only tags numbered 1 – 4 may be used.
- Class III Rivers: Two fish. Only tags 1 – 2 may be used.
- Class IV Rivers: No fish may be retained on Class IV rivers; catch-and-release angling only is permitted. (Tags numbered 1 to 7 are valid for catch-and-release angling.)
Rivers are classified by the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans based on the strength of the salmon run.
For the Humber River (on this river only) the season retention limit will be 6 salmon. The Gander and Exploits river has a season limit of 4 salmon. The daily catch and release limit is 4. Class 1 rivers will not be closed to angling as a result of environmental conditions such as low water levels and high water temperatures. The Lower Humber and Gander River will have a fall fishery for trophy salmon which closes in October.
Approximately 130 rivers with healthy numbers where the season retention limit will be 4 fish. The daily catch and release limit is 4. Class II rivers will be closed to angling if water levels are low and water temperatures exceed 220C
Rivers where there are conservation concerns where the season retention limit will be 2 fish. The daily catch and release limit is 4. Class III rivers will be closed to angling if water levels are low and water temperatures exceed 220C.
Rivers which are either closed to angling entirely, or where the only fishing effort allowed will be catch and release. Where catch and release fishing is allowed, the daily catch and release bag limit will be 2 fish. Class IV rivers will be closed to all angling when water temperatures exceed 180C.