Mountain National Parks in Alberta and British Columbia
April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2023

Aquatic invasive species of concern
General fishing regulations (Canada National Parks Act)
Fishing permits
Open seasons, special restrictions and closed waters
Catch and possession limits
Definitions


We need your help to prevent the spread of invasive species

Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species requires everyone's support. CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY all watercraft and water gear before entering a new waterbody.

CLEAN and inspect watercraft and gear. Feel for very small bumps that could be juvenile mussels attached to your equipment. Remove all mud, sand, plant materials before leaving the shore. Rinse scrub, or pressure wash. Use hot water if possible.

DRAIN on land before leaving the waterbody. Drain by inverting or tilting the watercraft, opening compartments and removing seats if necessary.

DRY the watercraft and gear completely between trips and allow all areas to dry. Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.

Check hiding spots for Aquatic Invasive Species.

Aquatic invasive species of concern

Preventing invasive mussels from entering waterways is a Parks Canada priority. If they arrive, removal is next to impossible.

Whirling Disease

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.

Invasive mussels

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

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.

Eurasian water milfoil

Eurasian water milfoil is a perennial, submersed aquatic plant native to Eurasia and North Africa. Although not currently present in Alberta, new colonies can form from a single stem, seed or leaf. Eurasian milfoil forms thick layers that shade native plants and decrease oxygen levels as they decay.

Report all sightings of aquatic invasive species and fish with whirling disease:
403-762-1470 or 1-855-336-BOAT (2628)


Fishing Regulations Summary - Mountain National Parks
Download the fishing regulations brochure (PDF 1.03 MB)

General fishing regulations (Canada National Parks Act)

When angling, it is unlawful to:

  • Fish without a valid national park fishing permit in your immediate possession.
  • 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;
    • live or dead fish or any parts thereof for use as bait.
  • Fish by any method other than angling.
  • Fish with more than one line at a time.
  • Fish with a line having more than one artificial fly.
  • Fish closed waters.
  • Leave a fishing line unattended.
  • Fish from 2 hours after sunset to one hour before sunrise.
  • 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.
  • When fishing in park waters that allow possession (see Catch and Possession Limits), it is unlawful to:
    • possess more than 2 game fish at one time;
    • continue fishing on any day after having caught and retained the maximum daily catch and possession limit;
    • allow your catch to spoil or to be wasted.

For a complete listing, please refer to the National Parks of Canada Fishing Regulations.


Fishing permits

A national park fishing permit is required when angling in Canada's national parks. Provincial fishing licenses are not valid.

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.

You can purchase your fishing permit at national park visitor centres.


Open seasons, special restrictions and closed waters

Banff National Park (BNP)

Special restrictions

Visit our fees page for permit pricing.

Open seasons
Year round Bow River - from Hector Lake to east park boundary, including associated backwaters and oxbows. No ice fishing on the Bow River.
May 21 to September 5 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 October 31 Cascade River and tributaries above Lake Minnewanka reservoir (excluding closed waters).
July 1 to August 15 Owen Creek
July 1 to October 31 All other waters except closed waters.
Closed waters

The following waterbodies are closed to water activities including fishing:

  • 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 and outlet downstream to confluence with Bryant Creek
  • All tributaries and associated lakes in the Clearwater and Siffleur river systems, excluding Isabella Lake.

 

Boating restrictions for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks

  • Non-motorized watercraft and equipment used in the water such as fishing and diving gear and personal floatation devices are required to obtain a Clean, Drain, Dry self-certification permit.
  • All motorized watercraft must undergo a Parks Canada inspection prior to launching in Lake Minnewanka resevoir. Motor boats (gas or electric) are allowed on Lake Minnewanka reservoir only.
Kootenay National Park (KNP)

Special restrictions

Visit our fees page for permit pricing.

Open seasons
May 20 to September 4 Cobb Lake, Olive Lake
June 15 to October 31 Kootenay River, Vermilion River
July 1 to September 4 Dog Lake, Kaufmann Lake
July 1 to October 31 All other waters

 

Boating restrictions for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks

  • Non-motorized watercraft and equipment used in the water such as fishing and diving gear and personal floatation devices are required to obtain a Clean, Drain, Dry self-certification permit.
  • All motorized watercraft must undergo a Parks Canada inspection prior to launching in Lake Minnewanka resevoir. Motor boats (gas or electric) are allowed on Lake Minnewanka reservoir only.
Yoho National Park (YNP)

Special restrictions

Visit our fees page for permit pricing.

Open seasons
Year round Kicking Horse River - downstream from the confluence of Kicking Horse River and Yoho River to park boundary
May 21 to September 5 McArthur, Ottertail, Summit, Sink and Wapta Lakes
July 15 to October 31 North bay of Lake O’Hara and Cataract Brook for 1.6 km downstream from Lake O’Hara
July 1 to October 31 All other waters except closed waters
Closed waters
  • Yoho Pond

 

Boating restrictions for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks

  • Non-motorized watercraft and equipment used in the water such as fishing and diving gear and personal floatation devices are required to obtain a Clean, Drain, Dry self-certification permit.
  • All motorized watercraft must undergo a Parks Canada inspection prior to launching in Lake Minnewanka resevoir. Motor boats (gas or electric) are allowed on Lake Minnewanka reservoir only.
Jasper National Park (JNP)

Special restrictions

  • Ban on felt-soled wading boots

Visit our fees page for permit pricing.

Open seasons - Rivers and streams
Year round Sunwapta River
April 1 to September 5 and November 1 to March 31 Fiddle River, Maligne River (below Maligne Canyon), Miette River, Rocky River, Snake Indian River, Snaring River
July 30 to October 2 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. Use artificial flys only.
July 1 to September 5 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 5 and November 1 to March 31 Zone 2: From 12 Mile Bridge (km 22, Hwy 16 East) upstream to Athabasca Falls
June 1 to September 5 and November 1 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 21 to September 5 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 21 to October 2 Maligne Lake, Talbot Lake, Edna Lake
July 1 to October 31 Fly fishing only: Medicine Lake. Use artificial flys only.
July 1 to October 31 All other lakes except closed waters
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)

Special restrictions

  • Ban on felt-soled wading boots

Visit our fees page for permit pricing.

Open seasons
July 1 to October 31 All lakes
Closed waters
  • All rivers and streams
Waterton Lakes National Park (WLNP)

Special restrictions

  • Ban on felt-soled wading boots
  • Use barbless hooks only. This is a hook in which the barbs have been removed or pressed against the shaft so they are non-functional.
  • Additional restrictions may be in place. Check the Important Bulletins online.

Boating restrictions

  • 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.

Visit our fees page for permit pricing.

Open seasons
May 21 to September 5 Akamina Lake, Cameron Lake and Creek, Crandell Lake, Waterton Lakes (Upper and Middle)
July 1 to October 31 All other waters except closed waters
Closed waters
  • Sofa Creek, Dungarvan Creek, Maskinonge Lake and inlet
  • Blakiston/Bauerman creeks and their tributaries
  • North Fork Belly River and its tributaries

Attention
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. 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. 

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 is required for all hand-launched watercraft and equipment used in the water such as fishing and diving gear and personal floatation devices

Catch and possession limits

Possession limits for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks reduced to zero except for Lake Minnewanka lake trout.

The possession limit is zero for many native species. You must correctly identify your catch. If you are not sure, release it immediately.

Species Limit
Lake trout from Lake Minnewanka reservoir, BNP 2
All other species: BNP, YNP, KNP 0
Arctic grayling, rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, lake trout, northern pike, mountain whitefish, lake whitefish: JNP, MRGNP, WLNP 2
Lake and mountain whitefish from Lac Beauvert, JNP 0
Westslope cutthroat trout: JNP, *WLNP 2
* WLNP - Exceptions with zero (0) limit: Belly River and Waterton River and their tributaries, Upper, Middle, and Lower Waterton Lakes, Goat Lake 0
Westslope cutthroat trout: all other parks 0
All species not mentioned above 0
Maximum daily catch and possession limit 2

(If a fish has been filleted, two fillets will be considered one fish.)

Definitions

Angling: Fishing with a hook and line held in the hand or with a hook, line and rod held in the hand. It does not mean fishing with a set line.

Artificial fly: 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.

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.

Tributary: Any water course which flows into another body of water. This includes a tributary of a tributary. Lakes are excluded unless otherwise specified.

Trout: For the purposes of this summary, the word trout includes char species.


Wildlife watch

Report suspicious activities:

Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes
1-888-927-3367

Jasper, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier
1-877-852-3100