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Go ‘wild’ in Canada – angling holidays with a difference

With fishing holidays abroad increasingly popular with the more adventurous angler and those after bigger fish than can be found in British waters, fishing venues on the Continent in France, Italy and Spain are now accepted as the places to visit.

A quick search of the Internet will throw up a host of French lakes offering fishing holidays for big carp to 70 and 80lbs whilst further afield specimens of 112lbs have been taken in Hungary.
In even warmer climes, the Extremadura region of Spain is the Mecca of Spanish carp angling hosting three or four of the country’s top carp waters and two of the country’s largest rivers whilst the River Edbro has long been a favourite with Brits looking to haul out giant carp, black bass, zander, perch and catfish.

Canada is renowned for its lakes and rivers

Perhaps less known though is Canada, the world’s second largest country by total area covering 10 million square kilometres with a population about half that of the UK.

Renowned for its lakes, rivers, forests and wild beauty, Canada is a vast sprawling country which offers wild fishing in stunning surroundings from coast to coast.

Home to more than 60 per cent of North America’s top Atlantic salmon rivers, Newfoundland and Labrador are said to offer some of the best walleye, trout and salmon fishing in Canada, whilst in The Great White North wherever there’s lakes, there’s fish!

Top destinations and what you will need

In this article, we’ll go over some of the top fishing destinations in Canada, and provide some general tips for fishing enthusiasts heading abroad, such as getting your permits and eTA.

Eagle Lake – Ontario

In the northern part of Ontario you’ll find Eagle Lake. Like most natural features in Canada the lake is massive, spanning close to 100km long. It’s therefore no surprise the lake is home to a wide variety of fish such as big trout and perch.

But the lake is specifically known for the muskellunge, or muskie, the largest fish of the pike family. Small surprise the name means “great fish”. What’s more, Eagle Lake has one of the best views you’ll find in Canada, so you definitely don’t want to miss it when planning an angling holiday of a lifetime.

Campbell River – British Columbia

In Canada’s western-most province of British Columbia flows the Campbell River. If you’re looking for salmon, look no further, because the Campbell River is also known as the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’.

The river is a natural gateway for salmon heading to their spawning grounds, meaning if you visit anywhere in between July and September you’ll find them easy pickings. All five salmon species are found in the Campbell River.

Nearby you’ll find Canada’s third-largest city, Vancouver, which has all the comfort and entertainment you could want after a long day of fishing out in the wild.

North Lake – Prince Edward Island

If Campbell River has a reputation as the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’, North Lake is without a doubt the ‘Tuna Capital of the World’ – and these beasts come in quite a size at North Lake where they average between 280 to 550 kilo’s – that’s 617 to 1,212lbs to us Brits!

You’ll need to charter a local vessel if you want to have a go at tackling these monsters. Aside from tuna, you’ll also find mackerel in these waters. A benefit of fishing in North Lake is that the fish here can be found relatively close to land.

Lake of the Woods – Ontario

Lake of the Woods occupies parts of both Ontario and Manitoba as well as the American state of Minnesota. In other words it’s big at over 100km long and containing well over 10,000 islands and equally vast amounts of shoreline.

The name already gives away the woodland setting of the lake, which provide it with wonderful views for anglers. Lake of the Woods is primarily known for the walleye, or yellow pike, but it is home to a large variety of fish.

Fishing in Canada – permits and eTA

Canada takes its nature very seriously and that includes fishing. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding fishing, which can be found on the government website. Certain locations require a permit to fish and failure to present one can lead to hefty fines so make sure to read up on what rules apply to your specific fishing spot to avoid any unwelcome surprises.

In addition, if you’re headed to Canada from the UK you’ll need to apply for an eTA Canada before getting on your flight. Without an eTA, you won’t be allowed to board.

The eTA is applied for online via an online application form and is usually approved in a matter of days. Unlike a visa, an eTA is not a paper document you need to print. Instead, it’s electronically linked to your passport.

At the airport, all you need to present is your passport in order to board your flight. An eTA is valid for five years and allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months.

What is an eTA?

An eTA is an automated online requirement which involves completing an obligatory form for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by airplane either for business, tourism or just passing through Canada to reach another destination. By completing the form, the Canadian government can determine whether certain visitors are eligible to enter the country prior to arrival. The authorisation is automatically linked to your passport.

If your Travel Authorisation has been approved and you hold a valid travel document such as a passport, then you will be permitted to travel to Canada. However, simply completing a form does not guarantee your entry as it may be denied. You will receive an email to confirm whether your Travel Authorisation has been accepted or declined.

Valid for five years

Once accepted, the authorisation is valid for five years beginning the date of deliverance or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

If you’re visa-required and eligible for an eTA but already have a valid Canadian visa you don’t need to apply for an eTA. You can travel with your visa until it expires.

The eTA application process

Applying for an eTA is a simple online process. You should apply for an eTA before you book your flight.

1. Get your passport, credit or debit card ready, and read the application help document, which is available in several languages.
2. Use the online form to apply.
3. Pay for your eTA right after you complete the form.
4. Get an email about your eTA application.

How long it takes to get an eTA

It’s best to get an eTA before you book your flight to Canada and most applicants get their eTA approval via email within minutes.
However, some requests can take several days to process if you’re asked to submit supporting documents.

Confirm your passport number is correct

Once your eTA is approved, check that the passport number in your eTA approval email matches the number in your passport. If they don’t match you need to apply for a new eTA.

What to take to the airport

When your eTA is approved it will be linked to the passport you used to apply. You need to present this passport when you check-in to your flight to Canada. You don’t need to print out any special document. The airline staff will scan your passport to confirm that you have a valid eTA. If you don’t have one you won’t be able to board your flight.


An eTA doesn’t guarantee entry to Canada. When you arrive, a border services officer will ask to see your passport and other documents. You must convince the officer that you’re eligible for entry to Canada.

Several things can make you inadmissible, including involvement in criminal activity, in human rights violations or in organized crime.
You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons.

Basic requirements to enter Canada

To visit Canada you’ll need to meet some basic requirements, such as:

  • Have a valid travel document, such as a passport
  • Have a valid eTA or visitor visa
  • Be in good health
  • Have no criminal or immigration-related convictions
  • Convince a border services officer that you have ties such as a job, home, financial assets or family that will take you back to your home country
  • Convince a border services officer that you will leave Canada at the end of your visit
  • Have enough money for your stay. The amount of money you will need can vary. It depends on things such as how long you will stay and whether you will stay in a hotel or with friends or relatives.

Tips before applying

You must hold a valid passport which runs for at least six months after your arrival, have a valid email address and a credit/debit card such as Visa or Mastercard in order to pay the obligatory costs of the form.

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Written by Peter Cliff
With career in Public Relations and journalism, Peter worked for local, regional and national newspapers before moving into Public Relations. A regular contributor to several major angling publications over the years, he launched in 1999.


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