Fishing regulations summary
Mountain National Parks in Alberta and British Columbia
April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021
We need your help to prevent the spread of invasive species
Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat before arriving.
- Clean off all plants, animals and mud from your watercraft and equipment each time you exit the water and before moving to another water body.
- Drain onto land, all water from bail buckets, ballasts, coolers, live-wells, pumps, motor and bilges. Remove drain plugs.
- Dry the watercraft and all gear completely between trips. Feel for very small bumps that could be juvenile mussels attached to your equipment.
Invasive species of concern
Whirling disease is caused by a parasite that causes skeletal deformities of an infected fish’s body or head, usually in young fish, and the tail may appear dark or black. The disease can be spread to other waterbodies through spores in mud. This disease is not harmful to humans or other mammals but can have significant effects on some fish populations.
Quagga and Zebra mussels are small, fan-shaped, and range from dark brown to white in colour. Just a few mussels can produce millions of eggs. They are very efficient at filtering nutrients from the water, leaving no food for native species. Dense colonies of mussels can clog water pipes and make the shoreline unuseable because of their sharp shells and odour.
Didymo is a freshwater algae that has the appearance of wet toilet paper and the feel of wet cotton wool. It attaches to rocks in streams and can form into large beige to brown mats that completely cover the stream bottom, blanketing important fish and plant habitat.
Felt-soled wading boots (banned in mountain national parks) and other water gear are a common way for didymo to spread. Clean and drain your equipment well, and let dry for at least 48 hours before using it again.
General fishing regulations (Canada National Parks Act)
When angling, it is unlawful to:
- Fish without a national park fishing permit
- Fish with or possess within 100 metres of park waters the following:
- natural bait and chemical attractants
- any lead tackle (sinkers, jigs, lures and flies) under 50 grams
- lures with more than 2 gang hooks
- a line capable of catching more than one fish at one time
- Fish with more than one line at a time
- Fish closed waters
- Continue fishing on any day after having caught and retained the maximum daily catch and possession limit.
- Possess more than 2 game fish at one time
- Leave a fishing line unattended
- Fish from 2 hours after sunset to one hour before sunrise
- Allow your catch to spoil or to be wasted
- Sell, trade or barter any fish caught
- Place or transfer any fish or fish eggs between any park waters
- Place any food for fish in park waters
- Harass fish by throwing objects or impeding their movements.
For a complete listing, please refer to the National Parks of Canada Fishing Regulations.
Anyone under the age of 16 may fish in the national parks without a permit if accompanied by a national park permit holder 16 years of age or older. However, their catch is then included within the permit holder’s daily limit. A valid national park pass is also required when fishing in the mountain national parks
Daily - $ 9.80
Annual - $ 34.30
Open seasons, special restrictions and closed waters
A national park fishing permit is required when angling in Canada's national parks. Provincial fishing licenses are not valid.
Mandatory catch and release in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks, except Lake Minnewanka Lake Trout
Whirling disease was detected in Johnson Lake and the Bow River in 2016. The movement of fish is the leading cause of spread for whirling disease. As a result, Parks Canada now requires anglers to release all fish in these three national parks in the same place they were caught. The exception is lake trout, which are less susceptible to whirling disease.
The possession limit for all fish caught in Banff, Yoho or Kootenay National Parks is now zero. There is one exception: the daily possession limit for lake trout caught in the Lake Minnewanka Reservoir remains at two (2) fish per licensed angler.
Felt-soled boots are not permitted in any water body in Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes, Jasper, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks.
Although they provide a good grip on slimy substrates, felt-soled wading boots are more porous than modern rubber-soled wading boots and are extremely difficult to decontaminate. As a result they create a perfect environment to hold invasive species such as whirling disease spores. The scientific literature has shown that felt-soled wading boots hold more potential to transmit organisms between water bodies than any other piece of angling equipment.
These changes will be re-evaluated next year. We ask for your cooperation in managing the integrity of our native fish populations.
Invasive mussel prevention measures in Waterton Lakes National Park
Parks Canada is protecting Waterton Lakes National Park’s aquatic environment from invasive mussels by instating a mandatory 90-day quarantine for all motorized and trailer-launched watercraft. Special permitting required for all hand-launched watercraft and equipment used in the water such as fishing and diving gear and personal floatation devices
Banff National Park (BNP)
- Reduced possession limits
- Ban on Felt-Soled Wading Boots
- Minnewanka Boat Launch Restriction
|Year round||Bow River - from Hector Lake to east park boundary, including associated backwaters and oxbows. No ice fishing on the Bow River.|
|May 16 to September 7||Ghost Lakes (3), Lake Minnewanka reservoir, Two Jack Lake reservoir, Vermilion Lakes (3) and adjacent inflow streams and beaver ponds.|
|July 1 to August 31||All tributaries of the Bow River except the Cascade River (see below).|
|July 1 to November 1||Cascade River and tributaries above Lake Minnewanka reservoir (excluding closed waters).|
|July 1 to August 15||Owen Creek|
|July 1 to November 1||All other waters except closed waters.|
- Motor boats (gas or electric) are allowed on Lake Minnewanka reservoir only.
- Motor boats launching in Banff National Park require an Alberta inspection certificate if they have been in waters outside Alberta or British Columbia in the last 30 days. Launching without a required permit is subject to fines up to $25,000.
- Bow River from Bow Lake outlet to Hector Lake inlet
- Babel Creek
- Johnson Lake reservoir and surrounding waters including outflow creek to confluence with Cascade River
- Helen Creek
- Little Herbert Lake
- Marvel Lake
- Mystic Lake and outlet downstream to confluence with 40-mile Creek
- Outlet Creek
- Sawback Lake
- Sawback Creek
- Rainbow Lake
- Elk Lake
- Cuthead Creek
- Spray River above Spray Lakes reservoir
- Castleguard River - the upper portion of the river located in the Zone I - Special Preservation Area
- Cave and Basin marsh system
- Fish Lakes - the two Fish Lakes nearest campsite Mo 18
- Lake Agnes
- Luellen Lake - outflow stream from fisheries’ boundary markers, downstream to the confluence of the outflow stream and Johnston Creek
- Marvel Lake - downstream from line formed between fisheries’ boundary markers to confluence of Marvel and Bryant creeks
- All tributaries and associated lakes in the Clearwater and Siffleur river systems, excluding Isabella Lake.
For updated information: parkscanada.gc.ca/banffnp-closures
Kootenay National Park (KNP)
- Zero possesion limits
- Ban of felt-soled wading boots
|May 20 to September 6||Cobb Lake, Olive Lake|
|June 13 to November 1||Kootenay River, Vermilion River|
|July 1 to September 6||Dog Lake, Kaufmann Lake|
|July 1 to November 1||All other waters|
Yoho National Park (YNP)
- Zero Possession Limits
- Ban on Felt-Soled Wading Boots
|Year round||Kicking Horse River - downstream from the confluence of Kicking Horse River and Yoho River to park boundary|
|May 16 to September 7||McArthur, Ottertail, Summit, Sink and Wapta Lakes|
|July 15 to November 1||North bay of Lake O’Hara and Cataract Brook for 1.6 km downstream from Lake O’Hara|
|July 1 to November 1||All other waters except closed waters|
- Yoho Pond
Jasper National Park (JNP)
- Ban on felt-soled wading boots
Open seasons - rivers and streams
|Year round||Sunwapta River|
|April 1 to September 7 and October 31 to March 31||Fiddle River, Maligne River (below Maligne Canyon), Miette River, Rocky River, Snake Indian River, Snaring River|
|August 1 to October 1||Fly fishing only: Maligne River from a point 420 m downstream from the Maligne Lake Outlet bridge to Medicine Lake including that part of Medicine Lake within a 180 m radius of a point in the middle of the Maligne River where it enters Medicine Lake|
|July 1 to September 7||All other rivers and streams except closed waters|
Open seasons - Athabasca River
Note: The Athabasca River has three fisheries management zones.
|Year round||Zone 1: From Athabasca Falls upstream|
|April 1 to September 7 and October 31 to March 31||Zone 2: From 12 Mile Bridge (km 22, Hwy 16 East) upstream to Athabasca Falls|
|May 30 to September 7 and October 31 to March 31||Zone 3: From 12 Mile Bridge (km 22, Hwy 16 East) downstream to east park boundary, including all side channels, Pocahontas Ponds and other connected wetlands|
Open seasons - lakes
|May 16 to September 7||Annette Lake, Beaver Lake, Dragon Lake, Long Lake, Lorraine Lake, Moab Lake, Mona Lake, No Name Lake (Hwy 93 South, km 48), Pyramid Lake, Lakes Three, Four and Five in the Valley of the Five Lakes|
|May 16 to September 30||Maligne Lake, Talbot Lake, Edna Lake|
|July 1 to November 1||Fly fishing only: Medicine Lake|
|July 1 to November 1||All other lakes except closed waters|
- Maligne Lake Outlet/Maligne River (the portion including the part of Maligne Lake within a 100 m radius of a point in the middle of the Maligne River where it leaves Maligne Lake, to a point 420 m downstream from the Maligne Lake Outlet bridge)
- Jacques Lake and Jacques Lake Outlet stream between Jacques Lake and the Rocky River
- Mile 9 (Km 15) Lake, Highway 16 (East)
- All streams emptying into Amethyst Lake
- That part of Amethyst Lake situated within a 180 m radius from a point in the middle of the outlet stream from the southeast end of Amethyst Lake
- That part of the Astoria River situated between Amethyst Lake and a point 400 m downstream from Amethyst Lake
- Osprey Lake
- The outlet stream from Moab Lake to its junction with the Whirlpool River, including that part of Moab Lake situated within a 180 m radius of a point in the middle of the outlet stream where it leaves Moab Lake
- The outlet stream from Beaver Lake to its junction with the Maligne Lake Road
Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks (MRGNP)
* Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks require a separate fishing permit from other mountain parks.
- Ban on felt-soled wading boots
|July 1 to November 1||All lakes|
- All rivers and streams
Waterton Lakes National Park (WLNP)
* Waterton Lakes National Park requires a separate fishing permit from other mountain parks.
- Ban on felt-soled wading boots
|May 16 to September 1||Akamina Lake, Cameron Lake and Creek, Crandell Lake, Waterton Lakes (Upper and Middle)|
|July 1 to October 31||All other waters except closed waters|
- Mandatory 90-day quarantine for all motorized and trailer-launched watercraft
- Special permitting required for all hand-launched watercraft and equipment used in the water such as fishing and diving gear and personal floatation devices
- Only use barbless hooks. See “Definitions”
- Angling restrictions
- Sofa Creek, Dungarvan Creek, Maskinonge Lake and inlet
- Blakiston/Bauerman creeks and their tributaries
- North Fork Belly River and its tributaries
Natural bait ban: you can only use lures made of feathers, fibre, rubber, wood, metal or plastic. No edible material (plant or animal products), scented lures or chemical attractants are permitted.
Barbless hook: this includes a hook the barbs of which are pressed against the shaft of the hook so that the barbs are not functional.
Fly fishing only: means only artificial flies may be used.
Artificial fly: this is a single or double hook on a common shank, dressed with silk, tinsel, wood, fur, feathers or other materials (no lead), or any combination thereof without a spinning device, whether attached to the hook or line.
Tributary: any water course which flows into another body of water. This includes a tributary to a tributary. Lakes are excluded unless otherwise specified.
Trout: for the purposes of this summary, the word trout includes char species.
Report suspicious activities: 1-888-WARDENS (1-888-927-3367).