Ontario Fishing Licenses

by Cameron ; Updated October 03, 2017

A man fly fishing in a river at sunrise.

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Before you head to one of the 400,000 lakes, rivers and streams to fish in Ontario, you'll need to obtain proper licensing. Residents and nonresidents must obtain a plastic Outdoors Card and a fishing license tag. The same license, obtained through the Outdoor Card Centre of Ontario, allows you to flyfish, ice fish or fish for salmon year-round.

Applying for a Card

An Ontario Outdoors Card by itself is not an official fishing license; it must be accompanied by a fishing license tag, which is either affixed to the card or accompanies the card. You'll need to supply your first and last name, mailing and residential address, date of birth and height and eye color to obtain the card. You can buy the cards and tags either online or in person at participating Service Ontario Centres.

Requirements for a License

Ontario residents must apply for an Outdoors Card and pay for a fishing license tag in order to get a full fishing license. In order to obtain a fishing tag, residents must use a form of valid payment to purchase the fishing tag -- credit and debit cards are accepted online. A mail-in application can take up to four to six weeks to be processed. If you apply in person, you will be issued a temporary fishing license that is valid immediately while you wait for the official licensing tags and card to come in the mail.

Exceptions for Licenses

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 64 must have an Outdoors Card and fishing tag while fishing and must have on hand. If you are fishing for one day only, you don't have to buy a card, but must obtain a one-day sport fishing license. Residents younger than 18 and older than 65 are not required to have either an Outdoors Card or a fishing tag. Nonresidents 65 and older do need to obtain the Outdoors Card and fishing tag. They must have an official government-issued identification with their name and date of birth, however.

Where to Apply

To request an application for an Outdoors Card, contact the Outdoors Card Centre at 800-387-7011. Residents can renew their Outdoors Cards and pay for their fishing tags online at the The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Store. To make a purchase at the MNR online store, you must have your Outdoors Card's number and your date of birth. The Ministry of Natural Resources states that nonresidents who have never had an Outdoors Card can buy a temporary fishing Outdoors Card and application from one of more than 1,800 license issuers across the province.

Expiration and Renewal

An Outdoors Card is valid for three years. After that, residents and nonresidents are contacted via mail by the Outdoors Card Centre to renew their expired licenses. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Sciences recommends renewing the card once the renewal package is received; this package is automatically mailed out to residents in the fall of the year in which the card expires. Residents are directed to the Outdoors Card website, where they can renew the card with a payment. Card renewals can also be done by calling the Outdoors Card Centre. You can buy fishing tags that are valid for one or three years, or just one day.

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