Is This Carpsucker Legal?

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Quillback Carpsucker

I find it so awesome that by looking into one subject, that crazy information machine called the internet can take you in so many alternate directions. In this case, I was writing a piece for an up-coming Fish’n Canada episode about the baitfish that I believed big fall Bay Of Quinte Walleye preyed upon. I know from past talks with an MNRF biologist, that there were Golden Shiner in “the bay”. In doing a Google search, I inadvertently came across the baitfish page of the DFO site (Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Sites like these are extremely useful to anyone who fishes, but especially those who fish with live bait. With so many restrictions pertaining to live bait fishing, you cannot know too much!

The same goes for your provincial Ministry of Natural Resources or fishing and hunting web sites and or the regulations book/PDF. These information sources are the “bible” of fishing rules and regulations.

I’ve been fishing for over 50 years now and I can pretty much guarantee you that I couldn’t tell the difference from a Silver Shiner (as per DFO site, illegal) and an Emerald Shiner (legal with caution), a Lake Chubsucker (illegal) and a Northern Hog Sucker (legal) and so on.

I guess my point is, at the very least, learn and abide by the regulations in your area. For my area, that means laws like:

  • Species listed as invasive fishes under the OFRs cannot be possessed alive.
  • The use of bait is prohibited in some waters.
  • No crayfishes, salamanders, live fishes or live leeches can be brought into Ontario for use as bait.
  • It is illegal to release any live bait or dump the contents of a bait container (including the water) into any waters or within 30 m of any waters (Pete: this is a rule that I’ll bet still gets abused due to anglers not knowing)

In reading this baitfish information, it reminded me of fishing and hunting in general. It pays to read and know the regulations. Pays in the sense of not paying a fine because it could have been avoided and in fining guilty pre-meditated crimes (should be more jail time in my opinion).

There is an incredible amount of charges laid out in hunting and fishing. Some are easily avoidable, some heed studying, while others are either complete stupidity or a blatant disregard for the law.

These are some examples that might make us all understand:

Not knowing new or amended laws: This is the first conviction under the amended Marine Mammal Regulations as part of the modernized Fisheries Act. The new regulations significantly strengthen protections for marine mammals… (not directly related to fishing or hunting but close)

Blatant lawbreakers: Three anglers who ran away and hid in bushes after being caught fishing illegally have received fines… (book em’ Danno!)

This one takes the cake: Fish Poaching Investigation Leads To 41 Charges… (wow!)

BTW, looking back at the title of this piece, that fish is a Quillback Carpsucker. Could you imagine that baby under a big slip-float with a big circle hook through its back for enticing a Muskie or Pike? Well since I couldn’t find it anywhere on the DFO or MNRF sites, I will treat this gorgeous live bait offering as ILLEGAL… If it ain’t listed, don’t use it!

The moral of this intended baitfish story; before sticking that minnow on your hook, make sure it’s legal. It’s not only that little fishy on the line, but your BUTT as well!

Pete Bowman

Pete, one of the most revered and popular anglers in the nation, has a tremendous love for the game… the fishing game. Pete’s vast knowledge of angling and ability to articulate it to audiences worldwide has endeared him to his fans who still see Pete as just “ONE OF THE BOYS”. Pete is also an accomplished and published outdoor writer and photographer as well as a sought-after speaker. In 2012 another of Pete’s ultimate fishing career highlights occurred when he was inducted into the Canadian Angler Hall Of Fame, something he never thought would happen. A Canadian fishing icon.

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