No live or dead bait allowed into Canada

The new rules quietly went into effect when U.S. residents couldn't get into Canada.

Golden shiner
A golden shiner in a bait bag. New bait restrictions are in effect in Ontario that include no live or dead bait allowed to cross the border form the U.S., including no frozen minnows and no nightcrawlers.
Contributed / Don Schreiner, Minnesota Sea Grant
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ONTARIO — While U.S.-based anglers were locked out of Canada for nearly 18 months in 2020 and 2021, both the Ontario provincial government and Canadian government tightened regulations on bringing live bait across the border and moving live bait within the province.

The new regulations are aimed at slowing the spread of invasive species. The Ontario fishing season starts Saturday.

Essentially, no live or dead bait are allowed to be brought across the border. That includes frozen minnows which had been allowed across the border through 2019.

The rules are less clear on nightcrawlers, which had previously been allowed into Canada if packed in bedding and not soil. Last August and into the fall, as the border reopened to U.S. citizens, Canada Border Services Agency agents were refusing to allow any nightcrawlers to be brought into Ontario. A Border Services agent on Wednesday said the prohibition will continue, based on federal regulations, and no nightcrawlers will be allowed into Canada again this year. U.S. residents will have to buy their worms in Canada.

Bait must be purchased in the newly established Ontario bait zone where you're going to fish and can’t be moved out of that zone at any time. That means you will have to purchase all of your live bait near where you plan to fish in Ontario. You will also need to retain a receipt for the bait that includes date of purchase, name of the business where purchased, their commercial license number, location of purchase and quantity of bait purchased.


Chicken, eggs can’t cross road into Canada

If you’re heading north for the Ontario walleye opener, note that Canada Border Services will not allow any raw chicken or poultry products into the country, including eggs. The ban also includes raw pet food that contains any poultry products.

The new regulations are aimed at curbing the spread of avian influenza.

Also a reminder that, in addition to your passport or enhanced drivers license, you will need to preregister for your crossing into Canada on the ArriveCAN app or website . It's free. You also will need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

This story was updated at 8:01 a.m. May 18 to clarify the situation with nightcrawlers. It was originally published May 17.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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