Some areas in Waterton Lakes National Park are now open to the public. Please see our updated list of open and accessible areas. All other front-country and back-country areas (including trails) are closed and are being assessed for safety hazards due to the on-going Kenow Fire. At this time, camping is not permitted anywhere in Waterton Lakes National Park. All other roads in the park are closed to the public as we assess and action hazards that are a result of the Kenow Fire. Contact the Information Line (403-859-5109) for more information.
A national park fishing licence is required to fish in Waterton Lakes National Park. This may be purchased for one day or as an annual permit - see our fees page. Annual licences expire on March 31 of each year.
Fishing licences may be purchased at the visitor centre, at various businesses in the townsite and the Cameron Lake Boat Rentals.
A number of restrictions exist, and different opening and closing dates and catch limits apply, so be sure to pick up a copy of the 2017-2018 Fishing Regulations Summary when purchasing your licence. You can download a printable version by following the link.
People planning to fish Wall and Forum Lakes in Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Park, must purchase a British Columbia provincial fishing licence.
There has been a recent shift in the attitudes of anglers and park managers to a more conservation-based approach to fishing. Values have changed over the past century, as the impacts of earlier choices have become clear. For example, anglers used to consider it a point of honour to catch and keep their limit. Recent surveys have shown that the majority of anglers now prefer to conserve native fish and release some or all of their catch.
Past practices also resulted in heavy angling pressure in some lakes and streams, leading to shoreline damage, as well as altering the age and size class of native fish populations. More easily caught native fish such as cutthroat and bull trout and northern pike have gradually been replaced with non-native species. How can park managers restore aquatic ecosystems, while enabling anglers and park visitors to enjoy and benefit from them? Some changes have already been made. These include:
- reduction of catch limits for bull trout to zero
- closure of some bull trout spawning habitat to angling;
- lowering the daily possession limits on all native fish
- lowering the aggregate daily catch and possession limit
- banning the use of all types of lead weights less than 50 grams in mass
- eliminating the use of natural bait
Proposed changes include:
- changing regulations to promote harvest of non-native fish, while protecting native fish
- ensuring native fish can be released by anglers with minimal harm
- monitoring and evaluating water quality and aquatic community structures, and conducting research on rare and unique species
- enhancing education and public viewing opportunities relative to aquatic wildlife.