This page has some useful fishing resources. On this page you will find the following topics:

  • Fishing Regulations – Fishing regulations set by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) for things such as Catch Limits, Size Limits, and Open Season for some of the types of fish that may be found in Big Cedar Lake, along with pictures and brief descriptions of each type
  • Catch-and-Release Handling – Includes general Catch-and-Release guidelines to minimize stress and mortality of fish
  • Consumption Limits – A discussion about the Consumption Limits that are suggested by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for fish caught in Ontario Lakes, as fish can sometimes contain harmful contaminants



>Fishing Regulations

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) sets the fishing regulations for Fishery Management Zone 15 (FMZ 15) of which Big Cedar Lake is a part of, and the full regulations can be found here.

Note that Big Cedar Lake is very close to the border between Fishery Management Zone 15 (FMZ15) and Fishery Management Zone 17 (FMZ17). Thus, although Ston(e)y Lake is in FMZ17, our Lake (Big Cedar Lake), as well as Raccoon and Julian Lakes are all in FMZ15.

Here is a list of fish that may be found in Big Cedar Lake, their identifying features, and some of the applicable regulations from the Big Cedar Lake’s Fishery Management Zone 15 (FMZ15):



Muskellunge, or muskie, have the same general shape and behaviour as northern pike, but tend to be striped instead of spotted. They also grow much larger. Knowing the difference is important, since muskie are much rarer, and consequently have more restrictive size and catch limits. Look for dark markings on a light background to identify this fish.

  • Daily Catch limit of 1(Seasonal Licence) and 0(Conservation Licence)
  • Must be greater than 91cm in length*
  • Season: 1st Saturday in June to December 15

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch

This smaller cousin of the walleye is a very popular panfish and is often found with sunfish. However, they aren’t as tied to structure, and will travel in schools looking for food. So cast widely, and if you find one, chances are you will find lots. Perch take all sorts of natural bait (particularly minnows) and small lures (try spinners and jigs ‘sweetened’ with worm pieces). They are also fine eating.

  • Daily Catch limit of 50(Seasonal Licence) and 25(Conservation Licence)
  • No size restrictions
  • Season: open all year

Black Crappie

Black Crappie

Crappie are one of a number of types of Sunfish, that are tall but thin, almost in the shape of a hand. Aggressive feeders, sunfish take bait readily, fight well on light tackle, and are great to eat. Try fishing near rocks, weed beds, floating docks or anything else that would give them a place to hide. Black crappie in particular seem to like small minnows. However, their mouth tissues are thin, and hooks can pull out unless handled carefully.

  • Daily Catch limit of 30(Seasonal Licence) and 10(Conservation Licence)
  • No size restrictions
  • Season: Open all year



Walleye, sometimes called pickerel, has a mouth full of small, very sharp teeth. Their eyes, which gives this fish their name, are very large and placed toward the top of their head. Because of their light-sensitive eyes, they feed well in cloudy water, but are often found in deeper water than other warmwater fish. During the day, use live minnows or lures such as spinners, crankbaits and jigs. Fish near the bottom around weed beds, boulder shoals, and sunken logs. At night, try your luck in shallower water as well.

  • Daily Catch limit of 4(Seasonal Licence) and 2(Conservation Licence)
  • Not more than one Walleye greater than 46cm**
  • Season: January 1st to March 15th and 3rd Saturday in May to December 31st

** There is a current Proposed Regulation amendment that would see the following:

  • Daily Catch limit of 2(Seasonal Licence) and 1(Conservation Licence)
  • Harvestable Slot size of 40-50cm

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

As the names imply, the easiest way to tell these two fighters apart is the size of the mouth. In largemouth bass, the jaw hinge extends past its large eye. In smallmouth bass, it doesn’t go past the centre of the eye.

While the two species sometimes overlap territories, Largemouth bass are more often found in warmwater weed beds. Largemouth bass like to hide in the weeds and ambush their prey, so drop your lure or bait near the edges or into openings. Worms–real or artificial–often work best. Work your bait around any logs, boulders, or other potential hiding spots.

  • Daily Catch limit of 6(Seasonal Licence) and 2(Conservation Licence)
  • No size restrictions
  • Season: 4th Saturday in June to November 30th **

** There is a current Proposed Regulation amendment that would see the following:

  • Season: 3rd Saturday in June to December 15th

As far as bass go, the OFAH has seen that this species is a “winner” as a result of climate change. They have noted strong numbers in all bass lakes and as such they are looking at extending the season. Walleye on the other hand are a cool water fish and as such they are challenged by climate change so their populations are seen to be dwindling. As such the OFAH is looking at restrictions for Walleye fishing.

[Note – There is no timeline for the approval of any of the above suggested amendments.]
Identification of other fish, as well as informative topics such as “Tackle and Other Gear”, “Getting a Fishing Licence”, “How to Filet Your Catch”, “Staying Safe”, “Ethics and Respect”, and other “Tips and Techniques” can be found here: Learn to Fish – Guide |



>Catch and Release Handling

Catch and Release Best Practices

The use of catch-and-release practices by anglers is increasing. This increase is a result of anglers viewing the process as a conservation technique. In Ontario, size limits are used as a management technique in many waters for a variety of fish species. Fish may be required to be released if they are under a minimum size limit, over a maximum size limit or within a protected slot size. Despite the widespread use of catch-and-release, there is generally a lack of understanding regarding the mortality caused by the practice and how variation in catch-and-release techniques may affect the level of mortality. There is the assumption that fish which are released actually survive the experience. This assumption comes from the observation that when fish are released after being caught, they generally swim away, apparently unharmed. However, research indicates that most mortality occurs some time after release, thus fish that appear healthy upon release may later exhibit injuries or distress caused by catch-and-release practices.

While catch-and-release is physiologically stressful, stress and therefore mortality can be minimized by following some general catch-and-release guidelines. Gear should be appropriate for the species being angled, allowing for quick retrieval. The use of barbless hooks and circle hooks should be considered to reduce the amount of time required to release fish. Air exposure should be minimized, and fish should be released quickly. Depth of capture, hooking location and bleeding should be considered when deciding on whether or not to release a fish.

Fish have a protective slime coat that protects them from disease and infection. If you are handling fish, make sure to wet your hands before touching them to prevent removing this protective layer. Some fish have sharp spines or teeth, so be careful when handling them. If you are practicing catch and release, avoid touching their gills or eyes and get them back into the water as soon as possible.
When performed correctly, catch-and-release can be successful with minimal harm to the fish and is encouraged.

Due to the variation among species in response to catch-and-release techniques, it is recommended that guidelines on how to properly handle fish when catch-and-release fishing be reviewed prior to going out on the Lake. This information can be found here: Catch-and-release fish handling.



>Consumption Limits

There are consumption guidelines for eating fish, that are set by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for fish caught in Ontario Lakes. Although eating fish is part of a healthy diet, fish can sometimes contain harmful contaminants from natural sources or human activities. Based on their size, type and location, certain fish may be more suitable to eat than others. This guide helps to understand which fish are safe to eat, while minimizing exposure to toxins.
They have not tested fish in Big Cedar Lake; however it would seem reasonable that the information for Raccoon or Julian Lakes could be used for Big Cedar.

The advisories for Raccoon Lake can be found here: Raccoon Lake Fish Consumption Advisory.
The advisories for Julian Lake can be found here: Julian Lake Fish Consumption Advisory.

As an example of a guideline, the general population should not eat more than 16 large-mouth bass caught from Raccoon Lake in a month, due to trace amounts of mercury found in the fish samples taken by the MNRF and other agencies. The issue is that, for the vulnerable population made up of young children and anyone who is pregnant or may become pregnant, the limit is only 4 per month. So, if locally-caught fish are a regular part of your diet, please check out this information.

All of the guidelines and additional information for interpretation of the recommendations can be found here: Guide to Eating Ontario Fish.