Winter Sportfishing Season is Here!

Again this year, anglers will have even more winter sportfishing opportunities in Nova Scotia. Beginning January 1st, four additional lakes have been added to the growing number of winter fishing opportunities.

Hutt Lake and Beck Lake, Lunenburg County, Dryden Lake, Pictou County and Beaver Dam Lake, Shelburne County have all been open to brook (speckled) trout and rainbow trout fishing.

Freshwater lakes open for winter will give anglers a chance to fish for brook, brown or rainbow trout, white or yellow perch and chain pickerel. The bag limit for trout is two fish per day, except the Cape Breton Highlands Management Area where anglers can keep 10 fish per day. The daily bag limit for perch and chain pickerel is 25.

A 2015 general fishing licence is required to winter fish and can be purchased at Department of Natural Resources offices. Licences are valid until March 31, 2016. Anglers may also purchase one-day licences at a reduced rate.

Anglers can take advantage of the annual winter sportfishing weekend, February 13-15th, when residents and non-residents can fish in open winter sport fishing areas without a general fishing licence.

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The following is a list of open waterways, and restrictions for winter sportfishing Jan. 1 to March 31, 2016, unless otherwise noted:

Brook trout: bag limit of 10 trout -- Victoria County: Cape Breton Highlands Special Trout Management Area

Brown trout and Rainbow trout: bag limit of two fish per day
-- Cape Breton: Tidal waters of the Bras d'Or Lakes (see note)

Rainbow and Brook trout: bag limit two fish per day
-- Antigonish County: Cameron Lake and Gillis Lake
-- Colchester County: Deyarmont Lake
-- Cumberland County: Angevine (Dewars) Lake, Isaac Lake and Harrison Lake
-- Cape Breton, Levers Lake and No. 20 Dam (Beacon Street Pond)
-- Digby County: Everitts Lake
-- Guysborough County: Goose Harbour Lake and Pringle Lake
-- Hants County: Meadow Pond and St. Croix Pond
-- Halifax Regional Municipality: Albro Lake, Round Lake, Lewis Lake, Maynard Lake, First Lake, Cow Bay Pond and Penhorn Lake
-- Inverness County: Petit Lac
-- Kings County: Silver Lake and Sunken Lakes
-- Lunenburg County: Hutt Lake, Beck Lake and Sucker Lake
-- Pictou County: Dryden Lake and Gairloch Lake
-- Queens County: Hidden Hills Lake and Victoria Lake
-- Richmond County: Eco Trail Pond on Isle Madame
-- Shelburne County: Beaver Dam Lake

Chain pickerel, White and Yellow Perch: bag limit of 25 fish per species -- Colchester County: Shortts Lake
-- Digby County: Meteghan River, including all lakes and tributaries
-- Halifax Regional Municipality: Morris Lake, Russell Lake, Grand Lake, Fish Lake, Bissett Lake, Grand Lake, Powder Mill Lake, Micmac Lake, Red Bridge Pond, Beaver Bank Lake, Beaver Pond(near Kinsac Lake), Lake Egmont and Kinsac Lake
-- Hants County: Lily Lake (Cogamun Pond)
-- Kings County: Lake George, Nicholas Lake, North River Pond and Lake Paul
-- Pictou County: Black Lake and West Branch Lake
-- Queens County: Louis Lake
-- Shelburne County: Walls Lake, Lake George, The Ponds in Port LaTour and Bakers Flats on Cape Sable Island
-- Yarmouth County: Annis River and Kiack Brook (near Belleville South), including all lakes and tributaries

White and Yellow Perch: bag limit of 25 fish per species
-- Annapolis County: Springfield Lake
-- Cumberland County: Long Lake and Smith Lakes
-- Hants County: Woodward Sanford Lake

NOTE: The minimum size limit for rainbow trout in the tidal waters of the Bras d'Or Lakes is 35 cm (13.8 in) all year. The tidal waters of the Bras d'Or Lakes do not include the waters inside the Boom Channel, including Deny's Basin, North Basin and River Deny's, which remain closed to trout angling.

Also closed for all angling in the Bras d'Or Lakes during winter are waters:
-- of the Baddeck River upstream from the Highway 105 bridge
-- northeast (inside) of the East Bay Sandbar
-- upstream from Black River bridge in Dundee
-- upstream from Crowdis Bridge in River Deny's Basin
-- upstream from MacKenzie Brook bridge near South Side Basin of River Deny's