Provincial Fishing

The province manages four major zones throughout Alberta, Northern Boreal, Parkland Prairie and Eastern Slopes. Hundreds of lakes are stocked each year to help sustain or create new angling opportunities. Visit My Wild Alberta for a list of stocked lakes in Alberta.

Licenses and fishing regulations expire every year on March 31st. New regulations are in effect April 1st, and you are required to renew your license to continue angling.

Licenses

You are required to have a fishing license and W.I.N. (Wildlife Identification Number) to fish in Alberta. Regardless of whether you are not keeping fish or on private land, you still need a license and W.I.N. Both of which can be purchased online or at supporting retails outlets. Alberta fishing license purchase.

Rules & Regulations

The provincial government has created rules and regulations of when, where and what you're allowed to fish for. Every body of water in Alberta is subject to fishing regulations. When fishing, you are required to know the name of the body of water, the management zone, the fish found in that body of water and all regulations applied to that location. All this information can be found here: 2021/2022 Alberta Guide to Sport Fishing Regulations.

National Park Fishing

Alberta is host to five national parks, three of which provide good angling opportunities for various Trout in Banff, Jasper and Waterton Lakes. Wood Buffalo has limited angler access and inadequate conditions for thriving fish populations, with the exception of the major river systems. Angling is prohibited throughout Elk Island.

Licenses and fishing regulations expire every year on March 31st. New regulations are in effect April 1st, and you are required to renew your license to continue angling.

Licenses

Each national park issues their own fishing license, which are not transferable between other national parks. Your provincial license is not recognized inside any national park. Licenses are purchased in person within the park.

Rules & Regulations

For official detailed explanation of the national parks rules and regulations, visit one of the following links below:



Proper Fish Handling For Catch & Release

Fishing is an exciting sport, however, it can have a negative impact even if you practice catch and release. Consider this... you hook in to a fish; that fish is running a marathon fighting for it’s life. You successfully land the fish that is already tired and out of “breath”. Now you take it out of the water so you can take a picture, this might take a few seconds if you're prepared, but more often probably twenty to thirty seconds at best. Put yourself in the fins of the fish, you fight for your life, you’re out of breath, then you’re forced to hold your breath for 20-30 seconds. That would be difficult for a human to achieve and our bodies can hold substantially more air. Research shows on average about one in ten fish released end up not surviving. So to help reduce negative impact on our fish populations consider the following:

  • avoid taking the fish out of water especially in winter when their gills can freeze in one breath
  • don’t handle the fish with dry hands
  • keep the fish in a horizontal position if you pull it out of the water
  • consider single barbless hooks for easier removal
  • if you can’t remove a hook easily just cut the line, the hook will naturally dissolve (exception: stainless steel hooks will not dissolve)
  • don’t fish deeper then 30 feet, you run the risk of causing barometric trauma (exceptions: Lake Trout and Lake Whitefish can self regulate)
  • if you don’t know for certain what species you’ve caught, release it and avoid excess handling to figure out what it is. Test your knowledge with AHEIA's fish identification quiz.
  • don’t measure or weigh your fish, you’re probably not a tournament angler or a biologist
  • take a picture of the fish in the water
  • don’t just throw a fish back in the water, give the fish lots of time to gain it’s energy back and make sure it can swim away