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Boundary Waters BLOG

DNR Caution as Ice Season Starts December 1st

DNR News Release



Dec. 1, 2023

For more information:
Contact the DNR Information Center
by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or call 888-646-6367.



Caution paramount as ice season gets underway

The ice season got off to a quick start in parts of Minnesota in recent days, with ice forming on some water bodies and numerous reports of ice anglers already testing their luck. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone to stay on shore until there’s at least 4 inches of new, clear ice.

Ice conditions this time of year are highly variable and can change quickly. Falling into the cold water can turn tragic fast. Safety officials stress the importance of anyone heading onto the ice to check its thickness for themselves and not rely on other people’s footprints, tracks or social media posts.

While 4 inches of new, clear ice is the minimum recommended thickness for walking, it takes at least 5 to 7 inches to hold a snowmobile or small all-terrain vehicle, 7 to 8 inches for a larger, side-by-side ATV, and 9 to 10 inches for a small car or SUV.

“The beginning of the ice season is always an exciting time for us hardy Minnesotans, but it also can be deadly if you don’t take the proper safety precautions,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “Checking the ice thickness regularly – and for yourself – is absolutely vital and one of the easiest ways to ensure tragedy doesn’t strike when you’re out there.”

Each year, unexpected falls through thin ice lead to serious injury or death. Checking the ice thickness with a spud bar, auger or other device is the best way to prevent falling through. Wearing a life jacket is the best way to avert tragedy, since the initial shock of falling into cold water can incapacitate even strong swimmers. A good set of ice picks can help someone get out of the water, and a cell phone, whistle or other communications device makes it more likely a person can call for help.

General ice safety guidelines

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines ( can help minimize the risk:

  • Always wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure.
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals; conditions can change quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time.
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
  • Parents and guardians should talk with their children and neighborhood children about staying away from the ice unless there’s adult supervision. This includes lakes and rivers, as well as neighborhood ponds, retention ponds and anywhere ice forms.

For more information, visit the DNR’s ice safety webpage ( and the boating safety webpage (


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BWCAW Towboat Usage Comment Period Open

Reminder: Comment Period Now Open on BWCAW Towboat Usage
Please take a few minutes to share your opinion on towboats in the BWCAW.  They are allowed in limited areas and aid in the dispersal of canoeists.  Survey at

The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenters' names and contact information, will become part of the public record. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration. Anonymous comments and comments submitted after the close of the final designated comment period will not provide the commenter standing for administrative review. Comments, or in some cases other expressions of interest, along with respondent's contact information, submitted during the comment period may be necessary to establish a respondent's eligibility to participate in an administrative review for this proposed action. Interested members of the public should review the proposal's information to determine the applicable administrative review process and the eligibility requirements for that process.

Your comments are requested through 1/1/2024 11:59:59 PM (Central Standard Time).

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Superior National Forest Restricts Campfire Use 6-14-23

Superior National Forest Restricts Campfire Use 
Drying conditions continue across Northern Minnesota prompting campfire restrictions
Duluth, Minn., June 13, 2023—Due to continued dry conditions and worsening wildfire danger conditions, the Superior National Forest has issued an Emergency Forest Order - effective June 14 - restricting the igniting, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire, including charcoal grills and barbeques, coal, and wood burning stoves to reduce the likelihood of a wildfire on the Superior National Forest, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (Forest Order 09-09-23-02#). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; St. Louis, Cook, Carlton, and Lake Counties; and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa are also enacting campfire restrictions. 
The restrictions will go into effect beginning Wednesday morning (00:01) a.m., June 14, 2023.
Campfires are allowed ONLY within Forest Service provided campfire structures (fire rings) at designated recreation sites, which include fee campgrounds with campfire structures designed/ installed by the Forest Service as well as designated campfire structures at U.S. Forest Service permitted Resorts, Recreation Residences, or Organizational Camps. A list of designated recreation sites, Resorts, Recreation Residences, or Organizational Camps where campfires are allowed, as shown on Exhibit A of the Forest Order, and a map of the area, as shown on Exhibit B of the Forest Order, available on the Superior National Forest website at
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) designated campsites, no-fee rustic campgrounds, or dispersed/ backcountry campsites are under full restriction and are NOT exempt from this order.
Gas or propane cook stoves are allowed throughout the Superior National Forest and are a safer option than campfires. These restrictions will continue until further notice.
The potential for wildfire is high across all ownerships in Northern Minnesota at this time. It is extremely important that people area careful with campfires in areas where they are allowed. If you are in a location where you can have a campfire, consider if the conditions are right and if you need a fire. Be sure to keep your campfire small and put it out cold to the touch whenever you leave it. All campfires must be attended all times. 
For additional information regarding fire-related and/or forest closures and updates:
see the Superior National Forest website, 
the MN Department of Natural Resources, 
the Minnesota Incident Command System website at 
SNF Forest Orders are available here: 
An advisory has been issued for Eastern Minnesota along with Wisconsin and Michigan for elevated fire risk effective Monday the 12th of June - 
Copy of Press Release 
Copy of SNF Forest Order - Fire Restrictions Eff 6/14/23 
Copy of SNF Fire Restriction FAQ 
The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
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Forest Service News Release - BWCAW Go Live 2023



Superior National Forest



Christine Kolinski-Public Affairs Specialist

(218) 365-2098/ (218) 432-0953

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Forest Service News Release





Superior National Forest Announces Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Permits On-sale for the 2023 Quota Season


Duluth, Minn., November 30, 2022—The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) permit reservations for the 2023 quota season, May 1 – September 30, will be available beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. Visitors are encouraged to book their reservations online at by calling 1-877-444-6777. To ensure a successful reservation process in 2023, Forest managers encourage visitors to:


  • Plan ahead by having at least three travel options (dates and entry points) in mind before making a reservation. Exploring new destinations is part of a wilderness experience!


  • Select an issue station near your entry point before reserving a permit to eliminate the necessity for extra driving. The BWCAW is over one million acres in size, and entry points and issue stations are widely dispersed across the area. Click the “Issue Stations” tab to view hours and locations at:


  •  Abide by the “One permit per day, per permit holder” rule, as stockpiling permits is illegal. This ensures everyone has the opportunity to make a reservation. When a permit holder makes multiple reservations on the same entry date or has overlapping reservations, all but one permit will automatically be cancelled by the Forest Service.



  • Remember to include the names of alternate group leaders who can pick up a permit if the permit holder cannot go. Select alternates by “checking the box” under a group member’s name. This must be done when the reservation is being created, as alternates cannot be added once a reservation is complete.


  • Thoroughly review the BWCAW Trip Planning Guideand carefully consider whether a primitive wilderness trip is the best option for your group.


  • Visit our Forest websitewhen planning any trip to the Superior National Forest. You might discover a gem of a campsite outside the Wilderness that provides a unique backcountry experience with no fees or reservations required!


The BWCAW is a federally regulated area with rules and regulationsthat you must know prior to your arrival. Permit holders are responsible for sharing the Leave No Trace Video series with their group prior to arrival. 


Non-profit organization

BWCAW Trip Guide

SNF Forest website





USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


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  487 Hits

2023 Gazette

Hi all!

I wanted everyone to know that we are working on the new Gazette and hoping to get those

mailed out to you around Thanksgiving.


Please drop me an email or give us a call if you need to update your address!

Thank you,


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Five Star Review for Steve

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Berst Family trip

The Berst Family thanks you all so much for outfitting us for our unforgettable trip to BWCA! We had such a fantastic time back in June.  We had a variety of experience levels, some have gone many times and others it was their first, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it! VNO played a huge role in the success of our trip, thank you all again!!

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How A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) Can Save Your Life Rick Wallace February 1, 2021

What if there was one simple thing you could do to make a remote camping, hiking, fishing or skiing trip far more safer?

Well the truth is that there is … taking a Personal Locator Beacon, or PLB, with you.

The fact is these beacons have saved tens of thousands of lives in remote country.

But tragically, not enough people who enjoy the great outdoors know about them, or how to use them.

Every year, people die unnecessarily doing what they love when a small investment in obtaining a PLB would have saved them.

So to help those who love the outdoors, and our tireless search and rescue authorities, we wrote this guide to Personal Locator Beacons.

At Tackle Village, we use PLBs whenever we are fishing in a remote environment for safety and for peace of mind. That could be while in the kayaks, hiking in the mountains or just on foot a long way from the car up a remote valley trout fishing when phone reception is limited.



Why should I carry a PLB?

First of all, because it can save your life. If you are injured and immobile – whether that’s from a fall, capsize (if on water), snakebite or onset of illness – your PLB is your lifeline to safety. As discussed below, activating it will trigger a search and allow rescuers to hone in precisely on your location. PLBs can be bought from camping/hiking/adventure retailers or also rented from specialist outlets. Remember, these beacons are small and light, no bigger that a sunglasses case and fit easily in your backpack.


Can’t I just use a mobile phone?

In many parts of the world where people enjoy adventure sport there is little to no cell phone coverage. Mobile phones, especially in areas where coverage is poor, chew through a lot of battery life maintaining a signal and are apt to go dead right when you need them. We’ve had hikes where the phone’s battery has drained in half a day without making a call. Phones are inoperable if wet and lose battery life quickly in the cold. Plus if you are lost, even if you get through on the phone to authorities you will be unable to pinpoint exactly where you are. They’ll know the general area of course, but not with as much accuracy as they would if you had carried and activated a PLB.

How do PLBs work?

A PLB – when it is activated – connects to specialised search and rescue satellites, which in turn pass that message on to emergency authorities in the country where the PLB is activated.
The best PLBs (the ones we recommend) have the ability for authorities to easily trace where the signal is coming from and provide rescuers with a precise location using the GPS (Global Position System) in combination with the satellite signal.


Which satellites do these beacons use?

PLBs rely on the Cospas-Sarsat satellite network – an international group of satellites that is dedicated to search and rescue purposes. These satellites also conduct monitoring of distress signals from planes, paragliders and other aircraft. PLBs send their signals to these satellites on the 406 Mhz frequency reserved purely for this purpose.

How do you use a PLB?

The first thing to do when you buy, rent or borrow a PLB is to register it with the search and rescue authorities in your country so that if it is activated, they know who they are looking for. The registration info allows search and rescue authorities to be able to see where you intended going (if updated) and which relatives or friends they can contact. (In many countries, you have the ability to update your details with the key search and rescue agency prior to a trip to record where you are going and when.) The beacon’s signal and the GPS will also reveal/confirm the location of course, but maintaining an up-to-date registration helps with liaising with family and confirming it is not an accidental activation.

What beacon do you use?

The beacon we use – a KTI – operates like the majority of models on the market. It comes in a small case and is about the size of a small compact camera.
Before every trip, we test the beacon according to the instructions by unclipping the antenna, raising it and then pressing the test button. You can see from the combination of flashing lights that the beacon is working.
The KTI has a battery life of 10 years and can transmit for 24 hours once activated. It is both waterproof and self buoyant.
We bring it with us on all remote trips into the mountains and remote regions and keep it close to our body so we have it close to hand if – for example – we fall and break a limb or we are tipped out of our Hobie kayak or injure ourselves in any other way.
Just like the fish finder we use on the kayak, the PLB is a vital electronic aid to a good day on the water and gives a great deal of peace of mind while we are doing what can be a dangerous activity.
In our region, the weather is notoriously variable and the wind can swing 180 degrees and gather strength in moments. One minute you are fishing in calm conditions, and the next minute you are dealing with significant swell!

How do you activate a PLB?

If you are injured or lost and need to activate your PLB, you unclip and raise the antenna, slide off the protective cover and push the red button until the green lights on the unit start flashing.
This immediately sends a signal to the satellite network with our position (via GPS). The satellite network can also triangulate the position of the beacon.
The beacon will continue to send this information in short bursts to conserve the battery life. Our model will transmit for at least 24 hours.

What happens next?

Search and rescue authorities will assess the location of the beacon at the time of activation before deciding on the appropriate action. For example, if they can see the signal is coming from your home address, or in an urban environment they will likely assume initially it was activated by mistake and confirm that with you or your nominated contacts by phone.
However if it is coming from somewhere more remote, they will contact the relevant emergency services and get them to commence a rescue operation.

Is there any risk my PLB won’t work?

As we are dealing with satellites, the beacon must have line of sight to the sky. So if it is activated, for example, in a cave or in a car, the signal may have trouble getting through, or not get through at all.

What are the limitations of PLBs?

PLB’s are designed for one sole purpose – providing that signal and location to rescue authorities. So it’s worth noting that they can’t send text messages, you can’t use to place calls. They are purely an emergency beacon.

Have PLBs saved many people?

Yes, PLBs are extremely effective and have saved numerous people’s lives including people stuck in the desert with only a drink bottle. A quick search on the internet shows up a range of recent rescues including a hiker in Norway, a yachtsman who’d fallen overboard during an ocean race and a paddleboarders on Scotland’s Loch Ness! He fell off in a gale – there was no involvement from the fabled Loch Ness monster.
The website of beacon manufacturer ACR includes a host of survival stories from all over the world incorporating the use and deployment of a personal locator beacon by hikers, fishermen and women, hunters and other lovers of the outdoors: These are often told in the person rescued’s own words and offer a really compelling look at how things can go wrong and how having the beacon can be truly a life saver.
According to the Cospas-Sarsat website since its inception in 1982, the system has been used for thousands of search and rescue events and has been instrumental in the rescue of over 35,000 lives worldwide.

Are more people using PLBs?

Yes, as awareness grows of the role PLBs have played in rescues and helping people enjoy the outdoors safely, their usage is growing. It is still surprising that some people aren’t aware of the service they can give – our sister in law recently attempted a four-day hike in Tasmania and it was only via me telling her that she took a PLB. As it happened, she didn’t need it but appreciated the comfort it gave her that she could get a rescue message out if injured. She rented a PLB, which is another option for people who hike infrequently and want to avoid the cost of buying a unit. There are many companies that will rent you a PLB and give you a return envelope to post it back in when you have finished using it.

How much are PLBs?

Around $300 will get you a PLB with GPS positioning. This is the kind you want to buy.

Where do you buy a PLB?

PLBs can be bought from both electronics stores and camping and hiking outlets, as well as specialists online retailers. Because they are so small, buying them online is a popular way to purchase a PLB. You can also borrow a PLB from a friend.

Can you carry a PLB on an aircraft?

While there are restrictions on lithium batteries, airlines at this point in time do not actively ban the carriage of PLBs.

How do I register my PLB?

Registration is via search and rescue authorities in your country. Here is a list of links for registering a PLB in a wide range of countries:
United States – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Canada – Canadian Beacon Registry
Australia – Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
United Kingdom – United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
Greece – Ministry of Merchant Marine 
France – CNES
Italy – Stazione Satellitare Italiana – Cospas Sarsat
Netherlands – Agentschap Telecom (NL)
New Zealand – New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre 
International – Cospas-Sarsat International 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database (IBRD)


In general terms, an EPIRB is a beacon that is fitted to a ship or boat (the beacons used for aircraft are known as ELTs). These function in the same way, but must conform to higher standards and have more features than the smaller PLB.

What does EPIRB stand for?

Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon.

What does PLB stand for?

Personal locator beacon.



Rick Wallace

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2020 Voyageur North Gazette

Hi Everyone!


Just wanted to let you know that the 2020 Gazette will be going out in the mail in a couple weeks.

If you have a new address or would rather get an email copy please let us know.


Have a safe & Happy Holiday Season,

Amber & the Vno Crew

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Instagram post 2019

Aaron was featured in Travel & Leisure's Instagram story today about the Boundary Waters, thanks to his friend Ashlea who went with him. She's a big freelancer and captured some great stories of the trip.

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Stephanie's 2019 Lake One to Snowbank Trip

Hi Amber,

We completed our trip last week and I wanted to thank you and everyone else at VNO we interacted with (Lynn, John, Lucas and Big John) for being so hospitable!  We had a great time doing our Lake One to Snowbank Lake trip, and John had great tips about the desirable campsites.  Big John was at our pickup point earlier than 1 pm, which was fantastic considering we made great time and wound up there around 11:30 am!  I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to sip those cold drinks after the furious paddling we had to do in the big, windy portions of Snowbank and Disappointment Lakes.  

We look forward to coming back next year as we already miss the beauty and tranquility of being in the Boundary Waters, and the fantastic service we enjoyed from everyone at VNO.  Have a great rest of the summer, and please give our thanks to everyone!





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January Ice Fishing for the Schnitzlers


What good luck ice fishing for JP & his Dad!

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Killingsworth group 2018 Fall trip

Chris, Tom & Chuck at the start of their 2018 BWCAW canoe trip!

They saw Lynn, Amber & April at the portage from Eugene Lake to Steep Lake.

Chris was really happy that we sat and talked at the portage- said it was nice to chat & take a quick break.

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2018 Vno cleaning crew overnight trip to #14 Little Indian Sioux

Part of our 2018 cleaning crew heading out for an overnight trip!

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Riffe group 2018

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Aedan's Giant Smallmouth

Giant smallmouth explodes on the surface, chasing a top water bait in the rain. 

After 3 attempts to net the big bass he was in the boat. 

After Aedan kissed the bass for good luck he was successfully released back to the lake.


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Sophia - age 2!


Sophia Lee, just 2 years old. She really did catch her limit

of sunfish today and was only helped bring in 2 of them!

This was her first time fishing, ever! Congrats Sophia!

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Greg & Kevin 2018 Winter fishing

Greg & Kevin came up a few times again this winter!

Here are a few pictures:  Greg with 2 trout & Kevin with a nice Pike.


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Ontario Fish & Wildlife News - April 2018

Ontario Fish and Wildlife News – April 2018  
headline graphic

Anglers and hunters,

Welcome to the FIRST edition of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's (MNRF) Ontario Fish and Wildlife News. This is your quarterly peek at how your licence dollars support Ontario's fish and wildlife resources. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a current or recent Outdoors Card holder.

Check out the topics in this edition:
Lynx    Licensing service    Fish ON-line    Moose    Muskellunge  

Did you know?

When you buy a fishing or hunting licence in Ontario, 100% of your fees go directly into the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account. It costs over $100 million annually to pay for our fish and wildlife programs and services, of which the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account pays for about two-thirds. Programs supported by the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account include fish culture and stocking, wildlife population studies, research and enforcement.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date between newsletters.

Ontario's lynx and bobcat mystery

comparison of lynx and bobcat
The Canada lynx is a classic Canadian species.This snow-and cold-loving carnivore has super-sharp vision, allowing it to spot mice 75 metres away, and an acute sense of hearing, which is sharpened by those cool ear tufts. It also has extra-large feet with toes that can be fanned out like snowshoes, allowing them to spring through the snow with ease. Snowshoe hare is the favourite meal for lynx, and historically their populations have gone up and down along with that of the hare.

Now, something else besides hare populations is affecting lynx. MNRF scientists and partners have discovered that the range of lynx in Ontario has been shrinking. In fact, since the 1970s, the southern edge of this species’ range has moved about 175 km north! At the same time, the climate has been warming and snow depth has been reduced, but scientists don’t yet have enough evidence to put all the blame on climate change.

Another possible culprit is not-so-friendly competition from bobcat, a lynx cousin. While the southern part of lynx range has been shrinking, the range of bobcat has been expanding up from the Great Lakes states into Ontario. Scientists have also found that lynx and bobcat can interbreed, although that’s pretty rare. In the future, if such inbreeding continues, it could result in loss of genetic diversity especially in lynx, the more vulnerable of the two cats.

What we are doing

To help improve our understanding of what’s happening between lynx and bobcat in Ontario and why, MNRF scientist Jeff Bowman, and partners from Trent University and the University of Toronto, are studying two possible scenarios:
  1. Canada lynx is pulling back from the southern edge of its range due to climate change (avoiding areas with reduced snow depth), leaving an opening that the bobcat is only too happy to take advantage of.
  2. Bobcat is taking advantage of milder winters to move farther north, and lynx is pulling back in response to having a savvy competitor.
So where are scientists testing these scenarios? They are focusing mostly along the north shore of Lake Huron between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, which is one area where lynx and bobcat ranges currently overlap.

We will report back on findings of these studies as they become available. This research is made possibly partly through funding from Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account, and will help those who make management decisions about lynx and bobcat.

Renewing Ontario's licensing service

licensing service headline graphic

Fish or hunt in Ontario? Changes are coming this fall for Ontario anglers and hunters. Here are some highlights.

Updating our fish and wildlife licensing service

This November we're making updates to our licensing service. Our goal is to make it easier for you to buy fishing and hunting licences. A couple of exciting features in the new service include:
  • A single version of the plastic Outdoors Card. (Hunter accreditation will no longer appear on the Outdoors Card; it will be tracked in the new service.)
  • A Licence Summary that lists all your valid fishing and hunting licences.The Licence Summary can be printed from home but you also have the option to store it on a digital device such as your smartphone.

Future regulation changes

Next, we're making improvements to some fishing and hunting rules. Fishing regulation changes will come into effect in November 2018, and hunting regulations will change in January 2019. Here are some things that will be different for hunters:
  • In 2019, game seals will be replaced by "tags". You'll have the option to print your tag from home, making it easier to prepare for hunting season. Plastic see-through luggage tag holders can help protect your tags from the elements.
  • Reporting rules for hunters are also changing. All hunters who are issued a tag in 2019 will be asked to submit a report whether or not they hunted or harvested an animal. This new mandatory hunter reporting will replace the current mix of hunter/harvest reporting and voluntary hunter questionnaires.

Apprentice hunters

Also starting in 2019, all hunters between the ages of 12-14 will be considered apprentice hunters. Apprentice hunters will buy their own Outdoors Card and continue to hunt under the direct supervision of a mentor, with a shared firearm. Apprentices will have the option to buy select licences and tags not obtained through a draw.

Want more info?


Look no further: Fish ON-line

Close up of a cell phone showing Fish ON-line website

Are you looking for a fishing spot? Boat launch? How about where Ontario is stocking fish?

Fish ON-Line, is Ontario’s mapping tool for anglers that can get you all the information you need to plan your next fishing trip. Last year more than 400,000 anglers accessed Fish ON-Line! We continually improve the tool to give anglers across the province current information about what’s swimming in the lakes and rivers near them.

Fish ON-Line is also a great way to access fishing regulations information. One click on the waterbody where you’ll be fishing and it will show all the regulations that apply to those waters. Sanctuaries appear on the map for quick reference.

Fish ON-Line is one example of how the MNRF is using your fishing and hunting licence dollars through the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account to provide you with an efficient and quality service. Other valuable contributions to fish and wildlife management include monitoring and assessment, enforcement, regulation and policy, licensing, fish culture and habitat management. We are working to continually improve your fishing and hunting experiences and make sure that you have the tools and information that you need for your next trip.
Thank you for your continued contribution to the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account through your fishing and hunting licence dollars.

Moose aerial surveys

moose in the snow

If you're a big game hunter you probably have your eye on the calendar. In April the moose draw opens and by August you'll know the results. But did you know that it is the work MNRF biologists do over the winter that tells us where moose numbers are strong and where they need help? Aerial surveys are one tool we use to better understand Ontario’s moose populations.

Here are five things to know about moose aerial surveys:
  • These surveys help us track trends by estimating the number, age and sex of moose.
  • Surveys are flown in mid-winter, when moose are most easily seen.
  • Most surveys are done from helicopters.
  • We have done these surveys every year since 1975.
  • The last three years of data show that the province has about 92,000 moose.
Ontario’s moose population is generally healthy, but has decreased in some areas over the last 15 years. Changing climate, habitat, hunting, predators and parasites are some of the reasons for this decline. The results of this winter's surveys will tell us more.

Tag – you're it!

surgery to implant a tracking tag in a muskie

With spring now in their sights, many anglers are counting down the days until the opening of the fishing season for their favourite species. Muskellunge (or muskie) season dates are set to allow fish to wrap up their spawning period before being targeted by anglers. Avid muskie anglers have to wait only until the first Saturday in June in most of the southern part of Ontario, and the third Saturday further north.

Muskies are the undisputed top predator in Ontario lakes and rivers. In fact, Ontario is a premier fishing destination for muskie hunters.

One prime spot for a record-breaking catch is Lake St. Clair along the Ontario-Michigan border. But there are so many unknowns. What habitats do these muskies use? Where do they move? How long do they live?

Tag team research

In 2016, we forged a partnership with Michigan, Ohio, the US Geological Survey and Muskies Canada to answer some of these questions.

In May 2016, 20 muskies were tagged in the Detroit River. In October 2017, we tagged 19 near the mouth of Ontario’s Thames River. Another 20 were tagged in Lake St. Clair in 2017.

The tags should track the movements and habitat use of these fish for the next 7 years. We’re already receiving interesting data. For example, one athletic Detroit River muskie swam the entire length of Lake Erie in 2016!

This is just one of the many valuable programs that support effective fish and wildlife management. All are made possible with funding provided by your fishing and hunting licence dollars.
smartphone calendar

Save the date!

  • March 1, 2018: Antlerless deer draw opened and will accept applications until July 3
  • April 18, 2018: Moose draw opens and will accept applications until May 31
  • June 30-July 8, 2018Licence-Free Family Fishing Week
View the current Ontario Hunting Regulations Summary

View the current Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary

Visit the automated licensing website to:
  • Purchase Ontario hunting and fishing licences or your first fishing Outdoors Card
  • Renew an existing hunting or fishing Outdoors Card
  • Apply to big game draws
  • Check draw results
  • Submit your hunter activity/harvest report
Visit Fish ON-line to plan your next fishing trip:
  • 18,000+ waterbodies
  • Customizable fish stocking lists
  • 2,000+ fishing access points


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Greening July 2017 trip

Lynn/John -


I just wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful trip with my son and grandson!   You all made everything easy and the equipment top-notch.   Thanks to Grant for driving us out and picking us up.  I will tell all my friends about your shop and we will use you again!

Thanks again,

Dennis, Wade and little Jack GreeningGreening_boys_July_2017.jpg

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