July 24, 2024

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Prince Edward Island Fishery: The Complete Guide

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Fishing on Prince Edward Island is an angler’s dream come true. While some might know PEI for Anne of Green Gables and red sand beaches, seasoned fishermen recognize this gem of the Great White North for its rich heritage and fishing grounds.

Nestled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, PEI boasts a diverse marine ecosystem. From its bays to offshore waters, the island is teeming with fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. All this is only amplified by quaint lighthouses, rugged cliffs, and historic fishing villages. This small province has long become one of Canada’s most visited destinations.

In this guide, we’ll unravel the fishing mysteries of Prince Edward Island. We’ll explore the top species that call these waters home and delve into the best fishing spots that locals cherish. As well as that, you’ll get a breakdown of the techniques to land your desired catch and the best fishing seasons. Are you ready to dive into the maritime wonders of Prince Edward Island? Keep on reading.

Top Prince Edward Island Fish Species

The coastal views of Prince Edward Island aren’t just for postcards. Bluefin Tuna might steal the spotlight but, delve deeper, and you’ll discover many other incredible fish species. With 1,100 miles of coastline, bays, estuaries, rivers, and streams, there’s always something biting in Prince Edward Island.

Saltwater

Among many treasures of the Gulf of St. Lawrence is North Lake Harbour, locally known as the “Tuna Capital of the World.” There are, of course, other trophies apart from 1,000 lb Tuna, such as Cod and many others. Let’s delve deeper:

Tuna

Two men standing wither side of a large Bluefin Tuna hanging upside down on a dock on Prince Edward Island, with one angler holding a sign of the charter company on a cloudy day
Photo courtesy of Ernie’s Charter Fishing

Bluefin Tuna is the crowning glory of Prince Edward Island, a species that has cemented the area’s reputation on the global angling map. These titans of the deep blue are famed for their unparalleled fighting spirit and remarkable speed. Plus, they’re delicious.

A typical encounter with a Bluefin in PEI’s waters will involve a lot of trolling and a lot of patience. Bait such as squid works well when targeting Tuna. If you’re after a catch weighing anywhere between 200–600 pounds, head out of North Lake Harbour.

Bluefin Tuna fishing on Prince Edward Island usually takes place from late summer to early fall. Anglers need to pay attention to their migratory patterns and only keep fish within the size and bag limits. In any case, the reward is definitely worth it.

Cod

An angler in a baseball cap, neck bluff, and red life vest holding a Cod and pretending to kiss it with the water visible behind them
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Tours

Cod stand out as some of the Gulf of St. Lawrence’s saltwater treasures. These fish, with their flaky white meat and mild flavour, have been a staple for PE islanders for generations, both as a culinary delight and an interesting target. Cod have played a central role in the fishing culture of the East Coast for a while, influencing the island’s culinary scene, economic activities, and local traditions.

Cod fishing on Prince Edward Island often leads to catches ranging from 5 to 20 pounds. Their seasonal window might be brief, lasting from mid-summer to early autumn, but it’s a pretty active and productive period. This is when the Gulf comes alive with anglers – local and tourists alike – seeking the prized fish.

Atlantic Mackerel

A young boy with blonde hair in a yellow jacket and red life vest holding up a small Mackerel to the camera aboard a fishing charter near Prince Edward Islanf
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Tours

While Tuna and Cod might dominate the scene, Atlantic Mackerel offer a unique angling experience on Prince Edward Island. Mackerel, with their iridescent scales and streamlined bodies, aren’t just a visual treat but also offer an exhilarating fight.

Typically, Mackerel range between 10 and 16 inches in length. Their smaller stature, however, doesn’t describe the challenge they present. These fish are known for their aggressive strikes and rapid runs, often surprising novice and experienced anglers alike.

Mackerel fishing on Prince Edward Island also presents an opportunity for family outings. Their abundance, combined with the ease of the techniques used, makes them an ideal species for introducing young ones to the joys of fishing! The lack of a daily bag limit on legally-sized catches further adds to the fun.

Freshwater

Naturally, fishing on Prince Edward Island isn’t limited to the saltwater realm. The Morell, Valleyfield, West, Naufrage, and Trout Rivers are home to Brook Trout, White Perch, Rainbow Trout, and even Salmon. Let’s take a closer look at them…

Trout

A view from above of a Trout in a net on the shore after being caught on a river fishing trip on Prince Edward Island
Photo courtesy of Hare Bay Adventures

Trout fishing on Prince Edward Island offers an intimate connection with nature. Thanks to the island’s pristine rivers and streams, anglers from all over come to experience fishing here. Brook Trout, often referred to as “Speckled Trout” by locals, are indigenous to the island and hold a special place in every angler’s heart.

Brookies are often found in clear, cold streams, typically weighing between 1 and 3 pounds. However, in the right conditions, some can grow up to 6 pounds. On the other hand, Rainbow Trout – an introduced species – also flourish on PEI.

Fly fishing is the most popular technique for both Trout species. Popular spots include the Morell and Valleyfield Rivers for Brook Trout, while Rainbow Trout are often available in stocked ponds.

Perch

A man in full winter gear, including a Russian hat, and holding a Yellow Perch by its mouth while standing on a frozen lake in Canada on a clear day
Photo courtesy of Ice Fishing Out of the Blue

Perch might not have the reputation of Trout or Salmon, but White Perch, especially, hold their own place in Prince Edward Island’s freshwater scene. Found in the warmer waters of the island, these fish have seen a steady rise in their populations over the years.

White Perch usually average around 8–10 inches, with a compact body and silvery hue. Their size makes them perfect for light tackle spin casting with small lures or bait fishing with worms. White Perch fishing is also an excellent choice for a family trip, similar to Mackerel in saltwater.

And, while they’re not native to PEI, Yellow Perch are also stocked in colder bodies of freshwater on the island. These are popular targets when ice fishing, so come in winter to get your hands on these beauties.

Types of Fishing on Prince Edward Island

Now that you know what to catch, it’s time to talk about the how part. The island, dotted with bays, estuaries, and freshwater bodies, is a testament to Canada’s rich angling heritage. From chasing giant Tuna in the deep blue to a calm freshwater fly fishing experience, PEI is an angler’s dream come true. Let’s delve into the different fishing types:

Prince Edward Island Shore Fishing

A view towards a big bridge on Prince Edward Island with snow visible on the shoreline in the foreground and the river partly iced in the distance on a crisp winter's day

Prince Edward Island’s coastline, with its sandy beaches and rocky outcrops, is ideal for shore anglers. The tidal rhythms of the island attract Atlantic Mackerel, Cod, and Flounder, to name a few.

Numerous spots, such as the shores of North Lake Harbor and the bays of St. Lawrence, offer anglers the chance to cast their lines without boarding a boat. Techniques such as surfcasting and fly fishing are the most popular, with bait fish patterns and lures mimicking the local prey.

One of the joys of shore fishing in PEI is the beautiful backdrop. Moreover, the island’s numerous fishing festivals and events often feature shore fishing competitions, providing both novice and experienced anglers an opportunity to show off their skills.

Prince Edward Island Fly Fishing

A view across the waters of a river on Prince Edward Island towards a wooden fishing boat with an angler fly fishing from it on a clear day, with green trees visible on the opposite shoreline
Photo courtesy of Falls Gully Outfitter

The island’s freshwater streams and rivers are a paradise for fly fishing enthusiasts. The dance of a fly on the water’s surface, imitating insects, has an age-old charm that resonates with many anglers.

Brook Trout and Atlantic Salmon are the primary targets in these waters. The Morell River, for instance, is known for its clear waters and abundant Brook Trout population. Locals utilize various types of this technique, such as dry fly fishing, nymphing, and streamer fishing.

Prince Edward Island Deep Sea Fishing

An angler battles it out with a fish in the deep waters of the Atlantic from a fishing boat, while others look on on a cloudy day
Photo courtesy of Islands End Tuna Charters

Prince Edward Island’s deep waters, especially near “Tuna Alley” off the northeast coast, offer unparalleled angling opportunities. These fishing grounds are full of deep trenches and seamounts, and, of course, amazing targets.

The true stars of deep sea fishing in PIE are Bluefin Tuna. Locals usually utilize a variety of techniques to catch these behemoths, often involving a blend of trolling with robust equipment. Using lures that mimic prey species like squid or mackerel help to exploit Tuna’s aggressive feeding habits.

While Bluefin Tuna are the primary allure, the deep waters surrounding PEI also offer chances to hook species like Cod. On rarer occasions, you might encounter Sharks, but it’s more about putting dinner on the table than going up against apex predators!

Prince Edward Island Charter Fishing

A group of anglers standing on the deck of a large fishing boat on Prince Edward Island with most of them holding a small Cod on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Campbell’s Deep Sea Fishing

Booking a Prince Edward Island fishing charter is perhaps the best way to explore the local waters, whatever you have in mind. With experienced skippers and crews who have generations worth of knowledge, these charters offer anglers a chance to target some of the ocean and river’s most treasured species.

Each trip promises a unique adventure, tailored to each angler’s desires. From the initial chase to the final reel in, charter fishing in PEI offers a comprehensive angling experience. With the added advantage of local knowledge and top-notch equipment, it’s an opportunity that every angler should try at least once in their life.

Where to Go Fishing in Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island isn’t just famous for its red soil and delectable potatoes. The Island’s fishing landscape has been sculpted by the Atlantic’s tides, mixed with the tranquillity of local streams and rivers. Let’s take a closer look at some of these coveted fishing spots:

  • Souris. Located on the eastern shores of PEI, Souris offers a perfect blend of beachfront fishing and deep-sea adventures. Its proximity to the rich fishing grounds makes it a hotspot for Tuna and Mackerel enthusiasts.
  • St. Peters Bay. This spot is characterized by its crescent-shaped bay, providing rich fishing grounds for Atlantic Mackerel. The surrounding areas also have several freshwater bodies perfect for Trout and Salmon.
  • Stanhope. A stone’s throw away from PEI’s National Park, Stanhope is a serene fishing spot known for its coastal charms. The beaches and the nearby Covehead Bay are frequented by species like Flounder and Cod.
  • Tignish. Located at the northwestern tip of PEI, Tignish is renowned for its rich fishing history. Its harbours bustle with activity during the Tuna season, while the nearby Tignish Run offers freshwater enthusiasts a chance to hook into Brook Trout.
  • Cardigan. The Cardigan River estuary is a haven for clammers, but it’s also a great spot for angling. You can find species like Mackerel and Flounder here, especially during the warmer months.
  • Elmira. At the easternmost tip of the island, Elmira is a gateway to some of PEI’s most productive fishing grounds. Its location makes it a favoured spot for deep sea fishing charters.
  • Morell. The Morell River is one of PEI’s most prized freshwater fishing locations. It’s teeming with Brook Trout and – during their migration – Atlantic Salmon.
  • North Lake Harbor. Often referred to as the “Tuna Capital of the World,” North Lake Harbor is where several record-breaking Bluefin Tuna catches have been documented.
  • Cavendish. Not just famous for its association with “Anne of Green Gables”, Cavendish also offers pristine fishing spots. The region’s coastal areas are known for species like Mackerel, while its freshwater grounds attract Trout enthusiasts.

When to Go Fishing on Prince Edward Island

A view looking up towards a small lighthouse on Prince Edward Island surrounded by snow on a clear day

Prince Edward Island, with its temperate climate, offers a dynamic fishing calendar for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. Spring brings warmer waters, awakening the freshwater fishing scene. Brook and Rainbow Trout become especially active during this period. As spring transitions to summer, the coastal waters start to buzz with the activity of bait fish, drawing Mackerel closer to shore.

Summer is the peak season for fishing on Prince Edward Island. Bluefin Tuna enthusiasts head out to North Lake Harbor, while Cod lovers fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Fall (October to November), while signalling the end of the Bluefin Tuna and Cod season, is a favourite time for Salmon anglers. The cooling waters prompt the Salmon to start their migratory journey upstream, especially in rivers like the Morell and Valleyfield.

Many aquatic species become less active or migrate to deeper waters in winter (December to March). However, this season brings its own charm, with ice fishing opportunities in some inland areas.

Prince Edward Island Fishing Rules and Regulations

Here’s a concise guide to some of the pivotal regulations to be aware of:

  • Licences and permits. All anglers, whether residents or non-residents, require a fishing licence to fish in both freshwater and saltwater areas of PEI. You can procure licenses online, at local tackle shops, or at designated government outlets. Additionally, specific tags or stamps may be required for certain species like Atlantic Salmon.
  • Catch and size limits. These limits may vary based on the species and the time of year, so make sure to check them out.
  • Protected areas and seasons. PEI is home to certain protected areas where fishing might be restricted or prohibited to conserve marine habitats and breeding grounds. By heading out with a professional captain, however, you know you’ll avoid any trouble!

It’s worth noting that regulations can change annually based on fish population studies and environmental considerations. It’s always a good idea to check the latest guidelines from the Prince Edward Island Department of Fisheries and Oceans or consult with your charter operator before heading out.

Fishing on Prince Edward Island: Canada’s Tuna Playground

An aerial view of a beach on Prince Edward Island on a cloudy day, with inshore waters visible on the left of the image and the Atlantic Ocean on the right

From its breathtaking coastal views to the thrill of hooking Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, fishing on Prince Edward Island offers an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re casting your line in the serene freshwater rivers or embarking on a high-octane deep-sea adventure, lifelong memories are guaranteed. So, gear up, and let Prince Edward Island’s waters be your next angling destination!

Have you ever been fishing on PEI? What’s your favourite spot? What about the most interesting catch? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

The post Prince Edward Island Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Prince Edward Island Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/prince-edward-island-fishing/
Published Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2023 12:10:45 +0000

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