New 2024 Walleye Fishing Regs for Ontario Side of Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods sunset, islands, sceneryHaving a world class body of water that is shared between the U.S. and Canada (Ontario and Manitoba) isn’t so bad.  In fact, it provides anglers and visitors a lot of options and additional fishing opportunities.  There are naturally differences in rules and regs, fish limits, length limits and even some understanding of border crossing.  It isn’t difficult, but necessary to understand.  Whether you are sliding across the border on the Rainy River, along the east side of Big Traverse Bay or up at the NW Angle, Ontario changed some regs when it comes to fishing and it is important to be in the know.

The 2024 walleye opener in Minnesota is Saturday, May 11th.  The 2024 walleye opener in Ontario Zone 5 (Lake of the Woods) is the 3rd Saturday in May, or this year, May 18th.

New Walleye Size Limit Changes, Ontario Zone 5, Lake of the Woods

New 2024 walleye regulations Ontario side of Lake of the WoodsNon-Canadian residents have two options for fishing licenses in Ontario, a sport fishing license or conservation fishing license.  In a nutshell, the sport fishing license costs a bit more, but allows a non-Canadian angler a larger possession limit of fish.

For non-Canadian anglers, the sport fishing license allows a daily catch and retain limit of 2 walleyes.  All walleyes between 43-70cm (16.9 inches – 27.6 inches) must be released.  Not more than 1 walleye greater than 70cm (27.6 inches).   The possession limit is 4 walleyes, none between 43-70cm, and not more than 1 greater than 70cm.

For non-Canadian anglers with a conservation fishing license, the daily catch and retain limit is 2 walleyes, none greater than 43cm (16.9 inches).  The possession limit is 2 fish, none greater than 43cm.

Boating from the U.S. into Canadian Waters

Boating from the U.S. into Canada and back into the U.S. has never been easier.  Basically, when you boat into Canada, as long as you don’t touch land, anchor, moor, or exchange good or services, you can boat into Canada from the U.S. without calling in to clear Canadian Customs.

The same is true upon your return journey to U.S. waters, there is no need to check in with U.S. Customs as long as you didn’t touch land, anchor, moor or exchange goods or services.  Easy!

Traveling via Ice from the U.S. into Canada

CBP Roam App 2024It is important to note, when Lake of the Woods freezes over, ice has different rules vs open water.  Ice is considered land, hence, when you go travel via ice from the U.S. into Canada, it is first necessary to clear Canadian Customs.  Up at the NW Angle, this means calling the 888-CAN-PASS phone number, answering a few questions, and writing down your check in number.

The same is then true on your return trip into the U.S., you must clear U.S. Customs.  Most NW Angle resorts now have an iPad in which you can clear customs if you are ice fishing out of the Angle.

The other option is using the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) ROAM App which is available on both Google Play and Apple Store.  This app allows a U.S. resident to clear U.S. Customs in remote areas, such as the NW Angle.

Other Things to Consider when Traveling via water from the U.S. into Canada

Sliding over the border from the U.S. into Canadian waters offers some great fishing opportunities.  There are additional rules to consider.  It is your responsibility to be dialed in with the rules and regulations.  Also know, for the sake of this article, we are discussing the walleye rule changes for the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods.

-If you are fishing, make sure everyone fishing has a non-Canadian Ontario fishing license.  Each province has their own fishing license.

-When looking at rules and regulations, the Ontario side of Lake of the Woods is Zone 5 in the Ontario Fishing Regulations

-No alcohol allowed

map-No bait can be transported from the U.S. into Canada.  This means alive, dead, frozen or in any other form.  If an angler really wants live bait, they can purchase it while in Canada.  Once that bait is brought back into the U.S., it cannot be transported into Canada again

-There is a small part of Lake of the Woods in Manitoba as well called Buffalo Bay.  It is located adjacent to the NW corner of Big Traverse Bay.  A great piece of Lake of the Woods, but small in comparison to the U.S. portion, and even larger Ontario portion.  Different fishing regs apply as each province is different.  In Manitoba, one difference hooks have to be barbless.  There are others, read up on regs if fishing Buffalo Bay.

Many visitors to Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods will slide over and fish Ontario.  It provides a plethora of world class fishing opportunities.  There are differences in regs, licensing and general rules one must know, however.  For many, especially staying at a NW Angle resort, sliding into the abyss of 14,552 islands is just what the doctor ordered!


Info about the NW Angle

NW Angle Lodging

General info about Lake of the Woods



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