A Sport Fishing Licence is required by anyone intending to sport fish in Nunavut other than a beneficiary of the Nunavut Agreement.
Licences are available from the Department of Environment Wildlife Offices or Fisheries and Oceans Canada, most sport fishing lodges, sporting goods, hardware and convenience stores, as well as certain offices of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Non-resident anglers must obey the import laws of their country when returning home. Check with customs officials in your home country about regulations governing the importation and transportation of fish.
Nunavut Resident: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has resided continuously in Nunavut for a period of three months immediately preceding the day they begin to fish.
Resident Canadian: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident who normally resides in any part of Canada other than Nunavut immediately preceding the day they begin to fish.
Non-resident: A person other than a Nunavut Resident or a Resident Canadian.
Note: in 2017 the Government of Canada passed the Service Fees Act (Canada) which requires that authorizations issued under federal legislation to be increased annually. As Nunavut sport fishing licences are issued pursuant to the Fisheries Act (Canada), the fees for these licences have been increased to comply with the Service Fees Act.
*A 3-day licence is valid for 3 consecutive days commencing on the date stated on the licence.
The federal Goods and Services Tax (5%) must be added to all fees. The length of licence (number of days) and fees are subject to change. Please contact vendors for current licence details.
Unless otherwise noted, Sport Fishing Licences are not required by:
- NUNAVUT Residents and Resident Canadians under 16 years of age
- Non-residents under the age of 16 who are accompanied by a person who holds a Sport Fishing Licence
Nunavut Settlement Area (NSA)
Sport fishing in the NSA may be subject to terms and conditions in accordance with the Nunavut Agreement. For further information, contact the local Hunters and Trappers Organization or the local Conservation Officer.
A NUNAVUT Sport Fishing Licence is not valid in a national park. A separate national parks fishing licence is required and may be obtained from a Parks Canada Office.
Parks Canada Offices
- Pangnirtung - (867) 473-2500
- Pond Inlet - (867) 899- 8092
Before You Go Fishing
- Ensure that you have a valid Sport Fishing Licence with validations where required.
- Ensure that your licence has not expired. Expiry dates are indicated on the licences.
- Sign your licence.
- Read this guide thoroughly each year. Regulations and sport fishing limits may have changed.
- Take your licence and this guide with you while fishing.
- Keep your licence in a sealed plastic bag in your tackle box and you’ll never forget it!
The regulations state that:
- You must carry your Sport Fishing Licence and produce it at the request of an officer.
- Live fish cannot be used for bait. Live fish or live fish eggs cannot be put into Nunavut waters.
- During the open water season, you may fish with only a single line or rod. No more than two hooks can be attached to the line.
- While fishing through the ice, you may fish with no more than two lines, or two rods and lines. No more than two hooks can be attached to any line. You must remain within 50 metres (60 yards) of your line or lines.
- You may use a hand net for landing fish caught by angling.
- You may not use or possess a gaff while sport fishing.
- Dip nets may be used for ciscoes and suckers. The diameter of the dip net hoop cannot exceed one metre, and all other species of fish caught must immediately be returned to the water.
- Snagging of fish is prohibited.
- There are special regulations if you intend to spear fish. No person shall engage in spear fishing except while swimming. The use of a kakivak or fish leisters is restricted to Nunavut beneficiaries and their assignees. For more information contact the local Conservation Officer or Fishery Officer.
- It is an offence to waste any game fish which is suitable for food.
- It is an offence to fish within 25 yards downstream from the lower entrance to any fish-way, canal, obstacle or leap.
- It is an offence to sell any fish caught by sport fishing.
- You must not leave fish, fish remains or refuse from fishing in the water or on the ice.
- Except when preparing your fish for immediate consumption, you must leave the skin on the fish to help in determining the species. Fillets must be separated before freezing them. Two fillets are regarded as one fish.
- When fish are stored other than at your permanent residence, the fish must be identified by name and Sport Fishing Licence number of the person who caught them. The name and licence number must also be marked on the outside of the package if you are transporting it.
Should you be convicted for a first offence of the Fisheries Act, you may be liable to a fine of up to $100,000. If you are uncertain about any point, contact a Fishery Officer or Conservation Officer before fishing.
Daily Catch Limits (DCL) and Possession Limits (PL)
For more information, please consult the Sport Fishing Guide:
Catch and Release Fishing
There is a growing trend among conservation-minded anglers towards the use of barbless hooks and the practice of catch and release fishing.
Barbless hooks permit easier removal of the hook, minimizing damage to the fish, as well as reducing handling time and subsequently increasing its chances of survival. Many fish that are released after being caught with a barbed hook later die from excessive handling and/or bleeding. It is recommended that the barbs on your hooks be filed off or pinched down with pliers.
Catch and release fishing allows a fish to be returned to the water to spawn, which helps in maintaining future Nunavut fish stocks.
When releasing a fish, the following steps should be taken:
- Use barbless hooks, since they help reduce handling time and damage to the fish.
- Keep the fish in the water as much as possible while removing the lure. If you must handle the fish, keep your hands wet and hold it gently behind the gills. Do not put your fingers in the gill covers, hold the fish by its eye sockets, or squeeze the belly. Do not use rough, hard-surfaced gloves or mitts as you may remove scales from the fish, increasing the chance of infection.
- When removing the hook, use long-nosed pliers to grasp the shank, working gently back and forth until the hook is free. Do not tear out the hook.
- When releasing the fish, hold it in the water in its normal swimming position, moving it slowly back and forth allowing water to run through its gills. It should swim away under its own power. The time involved in this step may vary from a few seconds to several minutes.
Award for Tagged Fish
Fish in many areas of Nunavut are tagged for fishery management studies. With the information collected from fish tags, fishery managers are able to determine the distribution, movements, relative abundance and growth rates of fish. They are then better able to protect fish from overexploitation and adverse effects of industrial development.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans awards anglers who provide information about tagged fish caught in Nunavut. If you catch a tagged fish, mail the tag to the address below and include a brief note stating:
- where caught;
- when caught;
- sex (if you can determine it);
- lure used;
- and your name and address.
If the fish is strong enough to be released, note the measurements and tag number, and put the fish back in the water.
For fish caught in any waters within Nunavut, send the information and/or tag to:
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
P.O. Box 358
Read the entire guide, updated annually, here: