Fish Free From Interference (Part 2)

In Part 1 we talked about how it is illegal to intentionally interfere with someone in the act of lawfully fishing in Ontario

In Part 2 we discuss how notifying someone of trespassing, without authority to do so, is also considered a form of interference.

By G, Chambers, SFBCA Vice Chairman

get off

NO NEED TO YELL: private property owner giving anglers notice that they are trespassing

A couple of years ago, a fellow SFBCA member and I were fishing a section of the Ganny on opening day. Within a few minutes of wetting our lines, we had a guy on our tails taking photos of us and yelling that he was going to call the cops and have us charged with trespassing.

Were we trespassing ? I doubt it since we were wading in a public body of water at the time. Not willing to risk a $100 fine for trespassing though,  we packed up our rods and left for friendlier waters

There’s  been times when I’ve been accused of trespassing even though I have permission from the private property owner or  I know the lands are public.

Unfortunately, it seems some people just don’t like anglers around (often for good reason) and are willing to lie just to get us to move on. Fortunately, anglers and hunters in Ontario are protected from unauthorized threats of trespass under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation (1997)

13. Notice without authority

Section 13 (2) A person shall not purport to give notice that entry to premises is prohibited for the purpose of hunting or fishing or that hunting or fishing is prohibited on premises unless the person has authority to give the notice.  1997, c. 41, s. 13.

For the most part signs don’t lie. If a property is posted, I accept that the signs were legitimately placed there by the owner or his agent and I follow whatever restriction he has imposed (i.e. No Trespassing, Access with some exceptions, etc.).

Unfortunately some people do lie, especially if they don’t want anglers around. If someone claims that I’m trespassing and must leave, I politely ask,”Are you the owner or his agent?” If they answer “Yes,” I politely ask for permission to stay and fish.

If they Answer “No, I’m not the owner”, I politely ask if they know who the owner is so I can talk to him after I finish fishing. If they get testy, I remind them that it’s an offence to give notice of trespass without authority.

Trespassing is a violation of someone’s property rights and is punishable by a set fine of $100. Likewise, falsely claiming property rights and accusing others of trespassing is a violation of Section 13 (2) of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act and is punishable by a set fine of $150…which suggests  accusing someone of trespassing  when you don’t have the authority to do so,  is a more serious offence than the actual act of trespassing itself.  Go Figure.

March 30 2009 Download



  1. Posted “No Trespassing”
    The property owner or his agent can post “No Trespassing” signs and/or paint red dots on trees, posts, etc. at the main access points to the property. by installing these visual markers, the property owner has notified you that you are not permitted on his property for any reason.*NOTE: Even if a property is posted “No Trespassing” Section 3.(2) the Trespass to Property Act (1990) allows you to enter the property for the purposes of accessing the main door of the dwelling. Basically you wouldn’t be trespassing if you walked to the front door of a home on posted property and tried to ask for permission to fish. You may not get permission to fish, but you can’t be arrested for trying to do so.

  2. Posted with Exceptions:

    TAKE THE HINT: Get lost!

    A property owner may be okay with some activities on their land but not others. For example, if a property is posted “NO HUNTING” you would be entitled to access the property for all other lawful activities (Fishing, hiking, etc.) except hunting.
    A yellow dot painted at main access points is also used to indicate that the property has some “No Trespassing” exceptions. If you only see a yellow dot, but no signage, you should contact the property owner (i.e. knock on his door) to find out what the exceptions are before proceeding.

  3. Verbal Notification:
    If a property is not posted, you are permitted to access it to undertake any lawful activity. If the property owner subsequently decides he does not want you on his property he or his agent must give you verbal notice to leave. Once this verbal notice is given, you must leave.

Note: Some properties do not have to be posted to prohibit trespassing. These include:

  • Garden, fields or any other land under cultivation
  • Lawns
  • Orchard
  • Vineyard
  • Anywhere with trees planted that average less than 2 meters in height
  • Any fenced-in area






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Anglers’ Rights: Fish Free from Interference (Part 1)

THANKS JERKS: Canoeists oblivious to guy fishing

By. G. Chambers, SFBCA Vice Chairman

Has something like this happened to you?  You silently approach a favourite  fishing hole. Keeping  a low profile, so as not to spook the fish, you make a couple of whisper soft false casts. Then just as the fly hits the water POW! Somebody throws a tennis ball in the water, followed by a  dog in hot pursuit.

I hear countless stories of quiet fishing days interrupted by nitwits roaring through rivers on ATVs, or throwing rocks into the water or simply walking too close to anglers and scaring the fish. Continue reading

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Wild Leeks: A Springtime Delicacy

Wild Leeks: Field of garlicky dreams

By G. Chambers, SFBCA Vice Chairman

Spring brings with it two of my favourite seasons : trout season and Wild Leek season.

Like most things in the Scarborough Fly and Bait Casting Association, the elusive Wild Leek was introduced to me by our President, Gord Deval. As an  aficionado of all things wild, edible, and free Gord is happy to share his secret Wild Leek location, provided of course you’re willing to do the work, dig them up and bring him a bunch too.

Where to Find:
Of course, once you know what to look for, finding Wild Leeks is not that difficult. A common trick for locating Wild Leeks is to find a patch of wild Trilliums. Wild Leeks and Trilliums tend to be the first green leaved plants to pop out of the ground in Spring and they both prefer the shady growing conditions found in wooded areas. Basically, find a Trillium and chances are Wild Leeks will be growing nearby. Continue reading

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By T. Gordon

If when fly fishing for steelhead you notice that the fish don’t want to take traditional flies, then it is time to play dirty and switch to an egg fly.  Fish egg flies have been around for a long time, and although looked down upon by the most traditional fly fishermen, they do work.  Often times steelhead will prefer an egg fly over a nymph.

There are multiple egg fly patterns out there, but most can be covered with the three shown below. Continue reading

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Dry Fly Fishing Mayflies


By T. Gordon SFBCA Member.

The splash of a brown trout taking a fly of the surface of the water is the kind of stuff dreams are made of for a fly fisherman.  We live for that moment.  We spend hours tying what we think would be the perfect fly.  We go to bed late dreaming of the beautiful fish striking that very fly… jumping out of the water while we hold the line tight.

If you have ever seen fish rising in a stream, you know they are coming up to catch insects that are hatching on the surface of the water.  Often, these insects hatch in large numbers, so abundant that the trout would lock on to them and take nothing else.  This “locking” onto a specific insect species is also a good reason for the fly fisherman to lock on that same species in what is called “matching the hatch”. Which is nothing more than matching the appearance of the insects hatching at the moment. Continue reading

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Spring Fishing Checklist

By G. Chambers

With Spring here and ice soon off Ontario Lakes, now’s the time to get prepared for the long fishing season ahead. . .

1. Renew Your Fishing License

Don’t leave home without them. In Ontario, if your are between 18 and 65 year of need to purchase an Ontario Outdoors card and a fishing license. If you have them, check to see they are still valid. If not, you can buy them online. Continue reading

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Is Cobourg Considering A Fishing Fee?

By G. Chambers

Recently Port Hope mothballed its plan to charge anglers a $40 fee to fish from public lands, but now it seems Cobourg is going down the pay-to-fish road.

This coming week, Cobourg is holding a public meeting to discuss issues related to fishing on Cobourg Creek. This consultation meeting is being held March 28 , 2017 at 4 p.m. at Cobourg Public Library (200 Ontario St.). Muncipal officials, MNR staff and police will be in attendance

It seems that some local residents are upset with creek users who illegally park on local streets, throw garbage around and illegally catch fish.

As an angling club, the Scarborough Fly and Bait Casting Association supports responsible angling, including respecting the rights of nearby property owners. We agree that anyone who illegally catches fish or violates local bylaws should be punished to the full extent of the law. We hope, however, that Cobourg Council and Cobourg residents make the distinction between responsible anglers and poachers. Responsible anglers respect the environment and their prey. Poachers are selfish lawbreakers.

Cobourg benefits from the tourism dollars that anglers inject into the local economy. Go after the poachers, by all means, but don’t punish anglers, and your economy, by implementing a fee to fish from municipal lands.






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Port Hope Council Defers $40 Fishing Fee

By G. Chambers, SFBCA Vice Chairman

At it’s meeting on March 7, 2017 Port Hope Council voted overwhelmingly to defer, for 1 year,  a planned $40 fee for licensed anglers to fish from municipal lands abutting the Ganaraska River. Instead the matter will come back before Council in Spring 2018 for debate.

The rationale for the $40 fee stems from the fact that it cost Port Hope $19,965 last year to provide toilets, do regular clean ups of the shoreline and to have City police enforcing the fishing regulations. Continue reading

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SFBCA opposed to $40 Fee to Fish Ganny

phbd_welcome_fnl_heritage-copyBy G. Chambers SFBCA Vice Chairman

The municipality of Port Hope is finally getting tough on people who snag fish, leave fish to rot on the riverbanks and generally create a mess on the municipal lands that abut the Ganaraska River. Good news right? not so fast.

The bad news is, the costs of enforcing the conservation laws, cleaning up the parks, providing toilets, etc adds up to $19,965 a year in costs to Port Hope taxpayers. Unfortunately for anglers, Port Hope is seeking to recoup those costs on the backs of responsible anglers by charging them a $40 access fee to fish from lands owned by Port Hope and the Ganaraska River Conservation Authority (which owns Sylvan Glen Park). Continue reading

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Fishing is a Right in Ontario (Part1)

By G. Chambers, SFBCA Vice Chairman

“1. (1) A person has a right to hunt and fish in accordance with the law”
Ontario Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act (2002)

We all think of hunting and fishing as sport or a hobby, but it is actually a protected right here in the ProviNo Fish For Younce of Ontario.

The Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act (2002)  recognizes that recreational hunting and fishing have played important roles in shaping Ontario’s social, cultural and economic heritage, and more importantly that these activities will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, there are people, organizations and even lawmakers who seek to undermine our rights as hunters and anglers. Continue reading

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