Areas of Waterton Lakes National Park remain closed due to safety hazards and infrastructure damage from the Kenow Wildfire. Visit our What's open in 2018 page for an up-to-date list of open areas.
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 the Townsite Campground and at various businesses in the townsite.
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 2018-2019 Fishing Regulations Summary when purchasing your licence. You can download a printable version by following the link.
You now must complete a mandatory self-inspection of your fishing equipment.
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.