How to Fish the Border Lakes

April 10, 2019

Written By: Joseph Friedrichs

When it comes to fishing on Gunflint Lake and other border waters along the Gunflint Trail, one of the questions we are asked most often is: “How do we fish legally in Canada?”

It’s an important question, certainly. To make it easy for our guests and anyone reading this post, below is all the information you need to fish legally in Canada if you enter from the border lakes along the Gunflint Trail.

First and foremost, if you want to fish in Canada, you must obtain a Canadian fishing license and the Ontario Outdoors Card. What is an Outdoors Card, you ask? The Outdoors Card is three-year verification that is required to obtain a hunting and/or fishing license in Ontario. The card is literally that, a small document that fits in a wallet or tackle box with ease. The card is valid for three years and costs approximately ten Canadian dollars.

Also, it’s worth noting that you don’t need to purchase the Outdoors Card if you are only buying a one-day license to fish in Ontario.

If you don’t purchase a one-day license, you will need to purchase both the Outdoors Card and either an 8-day, 1-year or 3-year license. Each license can be purchased in one of two versions: sport or conservation. The sport license in Ontario basically means you can keep and possess more fish, where the conservation is more restrictive about catching and possession of certain types of fish found in Ontario. Likewise, the conservation license is cheaper than the sport license.

For both the Outdoors Card and the fishing license, purchases can be made online. To learn more, follow this link:

Visiting Canada to fish if you enter directly from a border lake also requires that you carry the RABC, officially known as the Remote Area Border Crossing Permit. This permit is required to cross over to Canadian waters on Gunflint Lake regardless of if you are fishing or not. The permit must be obtained in advance and takes approximately six to eight weeks to process. Most people mail in their application, though some submit it in person at an official border crossing. The application cannot be submitted online, though it can be printed online, filled out, and then mailed in.

To print an RABC application form or to learn more about this required permit, follow this link:

When returning to the United States, you may be able to declare your return using the CBP-ROAM app, which can be downloaded to your mobile device and should be set up with your trip information before you leave for Canada. Gunflint Lodge has wi-fi available to allow you to report your return using the CBP-ROAM app. For more information about the CBP-ROAM app and returning from Canada, refer to the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs Protection website.

To learn more about what is required to legally cross into Canada from border lakes along the Gunflint Trail, and also requirements for crossing back into the United States, listen to this interview from our community radio station in Grand Marais, WTIP:

It does take some paperwork to obtain a border fishing license to legally fish in Canada during your stay at Gunflint Lodge, but for all of our guests who choose to do so, they all come back saying one thing: “It was absolutely worth it!”

And now that we have the legal information covered, stay tuned for our next blog post this month where we discuss what types of fish to catch and how to catch them during the start of the fishing season on border lakes along the Gunflint Trail!