In searching for information and guidelines on taking a young person fishing in the Alberta Sportfishing Regulations, we came up blank. As a club, the ODFGA have submitted a resolution to the Alberta Fish and Game Association (AFGA) to ask the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Department (ESRD) to clarify youth fishing in future Alberta Sportfishing Regulations. We are hopeful that this will occur soon.
In conversations with ESRD and Fish and Wildlife employees we have obtained some information:
- Remember that everyone must follow the rules and regulations outlined in the Alberta Fisheries Regulations. These laws and other laws are put in place to protect and conserve fish and their habitat. These laws also govern the conduct, actions, and ethics of fishermen as they enjoy the sport. Each river and lake have their own laws established to protect them. Make sure you are aware of these laws before you go fishing as these laws can change from year to year. These laws and guidelines are contained in the Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations and generally apply from April 1st to March 31st of the next year. The Alberta Sportfishing Regulations can be found at sporting stores, online, or at your local ESRD or Fish and Wildlife office.
- When a young person is under the age of 16 years and is able to actively participate in the "act of fishing", they have their own catch limit. This means that if the limit of trout is 5 per person, the youth fisherman is allowed 5 trout, as is the person they are fishing with. The young person must be "active and involved" in catching the fish and not off at the playground or asleep while someone else fishes the young person's catch limit. When a youth fisherman is no longer active, their rod must be taken out of the water. Remember it is at the discretion of the Fisheries Officer so make sure your actions are above the law to avoid any conflicts.
- A person under the age of 16 years is legally allowed to fish without a license and without adult supervision. A person over the age of 16 years who does not hold a fishing licence may not assist the young person, as this would constitute the "act of fishing". Remember everyone must follow the rules and regulations.
- At this time it is unclear what assistance can be provided to a youth fisherman without negating their capability to fish. The ODFGA has put forward an AFGA resolution to seek clarification on this topic from ESRD.
An Alberta Fishing Education Program can be taken through either your local Alberta Fish and Game Association or through the Alberta Hunting Education Instructors Association.