First Nations fishing

The rules that apply to First Nations people fishing in Alberta.

Domestic Fishing Licence

First Nations people who have a constitutionally protected right to fish for food for themselves and their immediate household members in Alberta, may obtain a free-of-charge Domestic Fishing Licence.

The licence provides more fish harvesting opportunities at eligible lakes and rivers in comparison with those provided under provincial sportfishing regulations.

Licence holders may fish from eligible waters while following specified conditions put in place for conservation purposes. After government engagement with First Nations communities, the licences were updated to permit the use of a rod and reel (angling gear) in addition to a gill net to harvest fish for food.

Fishing without a Domestic Fishing Licence

If a First Nations person chooses not to obtain a Domestic Fishing Licence, they are not required to obtain a sportfishing licence. However, they are required to follow the sportfishing regulations.

Examples of sportfishing regulations include:

  • closed seasons
  • possession and size limits

Sportfishing rules are found in the Guide to Sportfishing Regulations. The guide is also available where sportfishing licences are sold and is updated annually.

How to get a licence

Domestic Fishing Licences are free and available annually online through the AlbertaReLM website.

Get your licence

First Nations people may also visit a Fish and Wildlife office for help in getting a licence.

License conditions

There are 241 lakes and 8 rivers eligible for fish harvest with a Domestic Fishing Licence. Rules for each eligible waterbody are included in the conditions and are updated annually.

Domestic Fishing Licence Conditions

Fish harvested under a Domestic Fishing Licence may not be sold, bought, traded or bartered. Fishing for food under the authority of a Domestic Fishing Licence generally provides increased fish harvest opportunities in comparison to recreational fishing.