Hunting and Fishing in Canada

Hunting and Fishing in Canada

Canada is an expansive country. It is the second-largest in the world. It offers a wide variety of environments and is also sparsely populated. There are vast areas that are either completely wild or show very little human interference. This sounds like heaven if you like hunting or fishing. And, truth be told, it is.

Should I go DIY?

There are certain “ingredients” for a successful hunting trip. A few of them are:

  • Gear: From clothing and camping equipment to weapons – you will need some.
  • Admin: You will need visas, licences, permits, etc. The list can be quite extensive.
  • Accommodation: Even if it’s a tent, you will need somewhere to pitch it.
  • A guide: They will tell you where to find the game or fish or take you there.

Setting up your hunting- or fishing trip yourself is certainly possible. However, it could become very complicated, especially if you’re attempting this from a remote location. Having to line everything up can be quite a challenge.

Outfitters – The Best Route

Enter the “outfitters”. Simply put, they are similar to tour operators, but they specialise in hunting and fishing. Most of them offer complete packages with gear, accommodation, permits, meals and hunted animals / caught fish included. In fact, with many of them, you just have to pitch up.

That said, there is a wide variety of packages available. Costs can also vary considerably, depending on how rough or luxurious you want to go.

Hands holding a map and compass.

More often than not, a good outfitter is well-connected. For example, they normally have landowners, hunting- or fishing lodges, taxidermists and conservationists in their network. These people have an intimate knowledge of the area in which you want to hunt or fish. They can be worth their weight in gold, especially if you have limited time.

As every person who has gone hunting or fishing knows, there are no guarantees. You might just have to return empty-handed. Perhaps the animals or fish you were after just don’t show themselves. Also, the weather might be impossible. There may be no guarantees, but if you use an outfitter, you’ll simply have a better chance.

Hunting in Canada

Hunting is popular enough in Canada to be considered an industry. As a hunter, you are well catered for. Whether you want to rough it and stay close to nature or retain your little luxuries, there will be a place for you.

Many hunting lodges in Canada follow the same formula that seems to permeate professional hunting operations worldwide. This normally consists of a base camp operation with relatively comfortable, but not luxurious, accommodation. Additionally, these camps have basic facilities for initial processing of the hunted animal. For example, you will be able to do skinning and salting to keep the carcass or trophy refrigerated.

Man sitting in grass with his hunting gear.

What Animals Can I Hunt In Canada?

You have a very wide choice, depending mainly on two things. Firstly, your budget, and secondly, what sort of terrain you are willing to traverse. Incredibly, the following list is far from exhaustive.

  • Wild Goats
  • Wild Sheep
  • Black Bears
  • Cats like the puma (mountain lion), lynx and bobcat
  • Bison
  • Deer like the moose, elk, caribou or white-tailed deer
  • Wolves
  • Birds like geese, duck and waterfowl

Trophy handling

Without the right treatment and paperwork, your trophy will be confiscated at the first border you cross, if not before. Besides, a fresh moose head is hardly something you can take on a plane as hand luggage. You will need special treatment for your trophy. Many outfitters offer skinning and salting as part of the package. Additionally, they can put you in touch with the right taxidermist. In fact, making use of a taxidermist is the only way to go if you want to take your trophy home.

Fishing in Canada

The pristine oceans, lakes and rivers of Canada lend themselves to an excellent fishing experience. Add to that the sheer beauty of many different environments and it becomes clear why Canada is an outstanding choice for your next fishing trip.

As game-fishing is very popular in Canada, you can tap into a large, properly-set-up “industry”. Again, it would be wise to use, or at least consult, an outfitter. Quite often, a fishing outfitter’s main feature would be a fishing vessel, called a charter. Fishing “packages” are usually less elaborate than their hunting counterparts. However, at the higher end of the scale, it could still be costly. For example, landing a giant bluefin tuna.

What Types of Fishing Can I Expect?

1. Deep-sea and coastal fishing

Canada boasts both an Atlantic- and a Pacific coastline, with climates from temperate to polar. These type of fishing trips are ideal for big game fish. Typically, your fishing trip will include a charter vessel that will take you to the appropriate spot.

2. Inland freshwater fishing

With Canada’s massive network of rivers and lakes, teeming with fish, choices abound. You can catch some giant pike in Cree Lake, Saskatchewan, or angle for brook trout in Nova Scotia. Or choose between thousands upon thousands of other great options. Flyfishing makes up a good percentage of freshwater fishing in Canada. In fact, one can even have access to rivers and streams where different species of salmon spawn.

3. Ice fishing

A cliche we often see in cartoons, is a depiction of someone dressed in a fur jacket, sitting next to a hole in the ice, holding a fishing rod. This is not just fiction, dear reader. For a princely sum, you can have an ice fishing experience! It can be somewhat different from the cartoon, though. People erect temporary huts (shelters) over the fishing holes, which makes this icy experience a bit cosier. Besides, having a fishing hole in your living area is quite a novel experience.

What species of fish can I catch?

Canada has over 200 species of fish. Below follows only a small list to wet your appetite.

  • Salmon – Chinook, pink, Coho and Sockeye
  • Trout – Cutthroat, Rainbow, Lake, Pacific, Steelhead
  • Halibut
  • Pike
  • Giant Bluefin Tuna
  • Whitefish
  • Mackerel
  • Shark
  • Rockfish
  • Smallmouth Bass

And finally, one simple question.

Lastly, you need to answer a difficult criteria question to whichever hunting or fishing adventure you have in mind: am I physically up to the challenge? For example, tracking down a mountain goat will take considerable fitness and endurance. Choose an activity that is within your physical means, otherwise, it could turn into a nightmare.

Happy hunting and fishing!