Fishing Licenses & Regulations
A Sport Fishing Licence is required by anyone intending to sport fish in the Northwest Territories (NWT). An additional validation is also required to sport fish in Great Bear Lake and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
NWT Resident: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has resided continuously in the Northwest Territories for a period of three months immediately preceding the day they begin to fish.
Resident Canadian: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who normally resides in any part of Canada other than the Northwest Territories immediately preceding the day they begin to fish.
Non-resident: A person other than a NWT Resident or a Resident Canadian.
- Non-residents must obey the import laws of their country when returning home. Check with customs officials in your home country about regulations governing the importation and transportation of fish.
Licences are available from the Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, sporting goods, hardware and convenience stores, most sport fishing lodges, and certain offices of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Sport Fishing Licences are not required by :
*NWT Residents and Resident Canadians under 16 years of age.
*NWT Residents and Resident Canadians 65 years and over.
*Non-residents under the age of 16 who are accompanied by person
who holds a Sport Fishing Licence.
Great Bear Lake
In order to conserve the trophy sport fishery, Great Bear Lake and its tributaries have been designated as a Special Management Area. Any person, including those under 16 or 65 years of age and over, wanting to fish in this Special Management Area must have a Sport Fishing Licence and a Special Management Area Licence.
A NWT Sport Fishing Licence is not valid in a national park. A separate national parks sport fishing licence is required and may be obtained from a Parks Canada office.
- you must carry your licence and produce it at the request of an officer.
- live fish cannot be used for bait. Live fish or live fish eggs cannot be put into NWT waters.
- during the open water season, you may fish with only a single line or rod. No more than two hooks can be attached to the line.
- while fishing through the ice, you may fish with no more than two lines, or two rods and lines.
- No more than two hooks can be attached to any line. You must remain within 50 m (60 yds.) of your line or lines.
- you may use a hand net for landing fish caught by angling.
- you may not use or possess a gaff while sport fishing.
- dip nets may be used for ciscoes and suckers. The diameter of the dip net hoop cannot exceed one metre, and all other species of fish caught must immediately be returned to the water.
- snagging of fish is prohibited.
- there are special regulations if you intend to spear fish. No person shall engage in spear fishing except while swimming. For more information, contact the local Renewable Resource Officer.
it is an offence to waste any game fish that is suitable for food.
- it is an offence to sell any fish caught by sport fishing.
- you must not leave fish, fish remains or refuse from fishing in the water or on the ice.
- except when preparing your fish for immediate consumption, you must leave the skin on the fish to help in determining the species. The number of fish must also be identifiable. Fillets must be separated before freezing them. Two fillets are regarded as one fish.
- when stored in an area other than your permanent residence, fish must be marked with the name and Sport Fishing Licence number of the person who caught them. If you are transporting fish, this information must also be marked on the outside of the package.
*There is a vast difference between growth rates in fish from northern and southern waters. This results in an extremely slow replacement rate of fish in northern waters. For this reason, anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release techniques.
For rules and regs info visit the NWT Wildlife And Fisheries website or download Fishing Guide
Note:This is for information purposes only. It is neccessary for all anglers to review the provincial/territory angling regulations for more detailed info on limits and regulations.