March 09, 2013

Smelt Dipping Season is Here

It's that time of year again. Smelt dipping season has arrived in Northern Ontario.

While I have not heard of any runs yet, now is the time to get ready.
  • Are you waders in good shape? No holes or rips to repair?
  • What about your nets? Same question. No holes or rips to repair?
  • Are your lamps and lanterns in good condition? New mantles? New batteries?
  • And do you know your regulations?
Here they are, copied right out of the Ontario 2013 General Fishing Regulations:
Residents and non-Canadian residents with a valid recreational fishing license may fish with one dip net or one seine net.

Dip nets may be no more than 183 cm (6 ft.) on each side if square, or 183 cm (6 ft.) in diameter, if circular.
Seine nets may be no more than 10 m (32.8 ft.) long and 2 m (6.5 ft.) high.

Smelt, Dip net and seine, (day or night)
March 1 to May 31
Fishing Zones: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (except Algonquin Park), 16, 18, 19, 20
No limit

2nd Saturday in May to May 31
Fishing Zone: 17
No limit

No open season in Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Algonquin Park in Zone 15

Download your copy of the 2013 Ontario Fishing Regulations


  1. Thanks for this helpful information about northern Ontario fishing. I love fishing in the lake with my friends that we have a lot of fun together.

  2. Hi Deb,

    If I provide you with my email. Would you consider pointing me to a location where I can find these smelts. I am in Southwestern Ontario. It's a long drive from where I am to Northern Ontario. If I going to drive that far, I hope to get at least 1-2 buckets. Your response is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Kim

      I go mostly north of Sault Ste Marie to Batchawana Bay. Then you are dipping in the streams of Lake Superior. Or sometimes I go east of Sault Ste Marie to an area around Iron Bridge or Blind River. Here you are dipping in the streams of the North Channel or Lake Huron. Businesses in either area can keep you updated on when the smelt are running. You'll have to be able to drop everything and travel fast once you hear the smelt are running. Dip in small creeks and streams, not the larger rivers. I am sure there are other locations in N. Ontario, but these are two of my favorite. Have fun!