Halifax Fishing

[ Background | Equipment | Where ]

Background of the Sport

Fishing off the dock is the easiest way to fish This sport began as a way of catching food, and though it has become a sport, and it's one where you eat what you win (except for "catch & release" fishing)! The concept behind fishing is that you attach either bait or a lure to a line attached to a fishing rod, and the fish will eventually (hopefully) think its food, swallow the bait, get hooked, and you get to reel the fish in. Fishing is a relaxing sport (and requires or teaches patience), helps you to unwind, and you can enjoy your natural surroundings--at least until a fish bites.

Fishing can be done from shore, from a pier, or from a boat. The choice will depend on where you are and what kind of fish you are seeking. Once you have picked a sport, you need to select your tackle, either using bait on a hook or a lure. After attaching it to your line, you need to place the bait where you think the fish are. This is called casting, and is done by extending the line a bit and flicking the rod behind you and then forward to use inertia to get the tackle far out into the water. You then reel in the tackle, trying to mimic the movements of the animal your bait is trying to mimic.

Another popular variant on fishing is ice fishing, where you fish through a hole in the ice (often protected by a heated hut or a tent). This usually uses a shorter rod, and is popular in many parts of the country where longer winters create thick ice giving access to deepwater fishing spots to all.

It is considered sportsmanlike practice to keep only those fish you plan to eat. Return the rest for others to catch. Please respect the environment, by not littering, and by not being overly noisy. You should also make sure you comply with provincial regulations regarding fishing seasons, required permits (more on this later)


Youth getting fishing lures ready In order to go fishing you need a rod & reel and some basic tackle. There are several kinds of rod & reel for either spincasting (best for beginners) or for fly fishing. You can buy these separately, or in combination. You need to select your line to suit your fish and your rod & reel, though today monofilament made of a single strand of plastic is most prevalent. The "terminal tackle" at the fish catching end of the line may include any of a number of elements: the hook for bait or a lure, a snap swivel (particularly when using spinning lures), a sinker (to hold the hook down), a bobber (to keep it up, say above weeds). You will also need a tackle box, needlenose pliers, nail clippers, a bucket, a net (for landing the caught fish), and optionally a camera.

The choice of bait or lures depends on what you're fishing for, the time of year, your fishing philosophy, and sometimes local rules. Typical live bait includes earthworms, minnows and assorted garden "crawlers." Lures tend to be more expensive, but present several advantages: they are durable, you can pre-pack a variety to suit any fishing excursion and they are heavier making it easier to cast in windy conditions. Some of the accessories to help make your fishing trip safer and more fun include: hats (for shade), sunscreen, insect repellent, life jackets (absolutely when fishing from a boat, but also for kids along the shore), a first aid kit, and waterproof boots or waders.


The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has information sheets on over 1000 lakes in the province. Each sheet contains a map of the lake (with depth contours) as well as data on water quality, fish species in the lake, and the recent stocking history. These information sheets are available at a cost of $1.00 each (including taxes). If you would like a copy of the free index, or the available information sheets, please specify which county(ies) you are interested in and write to:
Information Officer
Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
P.O. Box 700
Pictou, N.S. B0K 1H0
Tel: (902) 485-5056

Provincial Licences:
You are required to purchase a general fishing license or a salmon fishing license to angle in the waters of Nova Scotia, with the following exceptions: o No license is required to angle in tidal waters; however, seasons and bag limits are still in effect. (See details for each Recreational Fishing Area, Other Angling Seasons, page 29, and Bag Limits, page 32, for more information.) The boundaries of tidal waters are defined by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Check each Recreational Fishing Area for tidal water closures. o No license is required to fish in legally constructed private ponds or U-fish operations (commercially licensed aquaculture operations), nor do seasons or bag limits apply. Permission to fish must be obtained from the owner.

General Fishing Licenses are available from all district offices of the Department of Natural Resources and from vendors authorized to issue fishing licenses.

Resident $17.25 tax included
Resident-Senior $5.75 tax included (65 years and older)
Non-resident $46.00 tax included
Non-resident (7- day) $23.00 tax included
Resident Salmon Fishing License (16 years and older) $28.75 tax included
Resident Salmon Fishing License (under 16 years) $5.75 tax included
Non-resident Salmon Fishing License (seasonal) $120.75 tax included
Non-resident (7- day) Salmon Fishing License $46.00 tax included

Residents 13 years of age and under have the option of either purchasing their own salmon license and tags or fishing under the supervision of a person who has a valid salmon license and tags. For those persons fishing under supervision, any grilse caught and retained must be tagged with the supervising person's tag.

Salmon Fishing Licenses are available from all district offices of the Department of Natural Resources and selected vendors (8:30 am-4:30 pm, Mon.-Fri.) as well as from provincial camping parks (7 days a week).

Fishing Seasons affecting Halifax County
Moser River, upstream from the highway bridge at Moser River, not including tributaries. May 26 to end of all fishing seasons.
Musquodoboit River, from a point 300 m (328 yds) downstream from the Highway 7 bridge upstream to a point 100 m (110 yds) upstream from the first Highway 357 bridge (Crawfords Bridge), not including tributaries. Apr. 15 to end of all fishing seasons.
West River Sheet Harbour, from the concrete piers located downstream of the Highway 7 bridge upstream to the Killag River, not including tributaries. May 26 to end of all fishing seasons.

Deep Sea Fishing
Deep sea fishing charters normally provide tackle and bait, and have special licences for shark and tuna fishing. You can contact the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 426-3550.

National Parks

Licences for fishing in our National Parks can be purchased at park information centres, administration, campgrounds, wardens offices and some fishing shops. The cost is $13 per year, or $6 for a seven day permit for all persons.

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