The baitfish primer
A guide to identifying and protecting Ontario's baitfishes
by Becky Cudmore and Nicolas E. Mandrak
Table of Contents
- Complete Text
- Summary of legislation and regulations related to baitfishes
- Potential impacts of harvest and use of baitfishes
- Baitfish habitat
- Anatomical key
- Pictorial key of Ontario fish families
- Species accounts
- What you can do to minimize impacts to aquatic ecosystems
- Further reading
What you can do to minimize impacts to aquatic ecosystems
- Follow the latest version of the Ontario Fishery Regulations Summary (2017) as it pertains to the harvest, sale, and use of baitfishes.
- Do not release any live bait or dump the contents of a bait bucket, including the water, into any waters or within 30 m of any waters - it is illegal.
- Be cautious in timing of baitfish harvesting. 95% of legal baitfishes in this Primer are known to spawn in Ontario during the spring months (April-June).
- Do not over-harvest one area.
- Use traps instead of nets (note only licensed harvesters can use seine nets), especially in vegetated areas. Resident anglers must only use traps or dipnets.
- Remember, not all small fishes are “minnows”. “Minnows” refers to a specific family of fishes, the Carps and Minnows family (Cyprinidae). All fish species, including sportfishes, are small at some time during their lives.
- Never release species into a waterbody from which they were not harvested.
- If you suspect a species at risk has been harvested, return it immediately to the place of capture.
- Avoid transfer of introduced species - destroy all unused bait at least 30 m from a waterbody.
- Report sightings or capture of introduced species to the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or visit www.invadingspecies.com. The Hotline is operated by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. Any invasive species caught should be immediately destroyed and not released back into any waters.
- To report a natural resources violation, please call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free anytime. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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