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diving the north

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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stu newton

New Member
Aug 28, 2002
hello fellow freedivers and hunters, first of all i,m jealous of all you divers that are near the ocean and can dive anytime:i dove and fished the med. for years (totally addicted to spearfishing!)Now because i live in canadas north i do things different.The area i fish is what remains of the albian sea it consists of hundreds of clear ,cold lakes in northeastern alberta accessable only by floatplane or atv. last weekend was like any other for me during the summer(may-oct.)First i pack my gear into a backpack,my 90cm gun&weightbelt are mounted on my motorcyle(KTMLC4 RALLY)everything loaded into my truck, then drive 50km to the unload zone.150km of sand dunes further north gets me to my favourite lakes. a bit about the lakes,good viz 5-10 mtrs. (good for fresh anyway!)with bottom mostly rocks,sand&,weedbeds.I geared up and swam out to where the dropoffs hide walleye(to 8kgs.)and northern pike(to 20kgs.)these bigger fish are not uncommon but aren,t as good to eat as the smaller ones(2-4kgs.)i photograph the bigger fish (tried to carry 7kgs..fish home once but it got beat to hell )after about an hour i had seen 8-9 decent walleyes,and two loons(waterfowl,comical underwater they followed me everywhere!)i was getting cold so nailed next walleye that came to close,great shore lunch!the riding is awesome,the diving is the best freshwater anywhere,things could be worse!!
Gee Stu,

No wonder u r jelous. U preparation for the hunt will put most of us down..........

Sure sound fun and tough just getting to the lake.

Great story !!

thanks Iyadiver, in retrospect my story seems kind of lame (at least compared to saltwater diving)but i hope it gives everyone an idea of what it,s like uphere and what a guy,s got to do to maintain some sanity while landlocked.Safe diving!
Ahh...brings back memories of the glacier fed lakes in the Rockies.
Good story Stu.
Erik Y.
Hi Stu,

There is nothing lame about the story, I find it adventureous. 150km on a big dirt bike running on a sand dune is stunning.
It is not about monster catches, it is about the fun. Not all of us are blessed with fish rich waters or the means of a boat to get us to places..........let alone the $$$$. He he he.

As for me, I enjoy this forum no matter how small my catch is and those fun stories I can't tell cause I was on scuba.

Keep it coming. I envy the place u went but the temperature......yikes...I am scared.


Is it legal to spear walleye in Canada? It's not in Wisconsin. If it is I could see going back up there and making a week of it. I remember spending a week up in the Boundry Waters in highschool. I spent all of my time snorkeling while others fished. I didn't bring a gun becasue I thought that it was illegal.
Please tell me that I can. I know that I could get a group of freedivers together for something like that.
Canada is a heck of a lot closer than Florida for us!;)


I salute you and your effort to get wet and shoot some fish. You have the true heart of a freediver!

I have a Canadian friend who spears in the St. Lawrence River. He says it's awesome with crystal clear water and plenty of nice fish to shoot. I'm half tempted to go up there myself. He dove with me in FL one time and we had a halfway decent day and he said he could do that poundage easily in a day on the St. Lawrence.

Scott T.
From the Alberta Guide to Fishing Regulations:

A special licence for Spearfishing is not required. Spearfishing is allowed under the Alberta Sportfishing Licence.

Only spears propelled by spring, elastic, compressed gas or muscular power are permitted.

Only persons who are swimming may spearfish.

Spears cannot be used to take trout, mountain whitefish, Arctic grayling, lake sturgeon, walleye or northern pike.

Spearfishing is not permitted in Gods, May, Seibert, Winefred, Andrew, Gardiner and Namur lakes.

Although I'm not convinced these rules apply away the heck up north in Fort McMurry (It would likely be a quicker drive to florida than northern alberta from wisconsin).
Thanks Jim,

I was thinking about the Quetico area along the border of Minnesota. Alberta would be quite a bit further than I had planned. ;)

Any links to spearfishing in that area? Or spearing anywhere in Ontario?

fishing the north

hey guys, re. the legality of spearfishing in alberta, I obtained some info from other provinces.Saskatchewan,Quebec,Manitoba they all group spearfishing with line fishing regarding daily quotas and size limits.I then contacted several local F&G officers to obtain their opinion on this ,it seems this rule has been in the book to discourage people from taking fish with a pole spear thru holes in the ice(?) .several species spawn in the shallows and had been taken this way in the past. spearfishing while diving is not very popular in alberta ,we are definitely a minority(probably only me and JMD?)i,ve been up front with the F&G in my area, they were fascinated that this type of activity even existed .after explaining the ethics i followed(basic ethics, i only catch what i can eat)they suggested i obtain a regular licence and carry on! I,m still pursuing a seperate licencing ,or placing spearfishing under the same rules as the line crowd,but it takes time. The irony is both commercial and line fishing are allowed (i just happen to use a more environmentally friendly method) i will portray a positive image of our sport and being restricted to killing a bunch of garbage fish of no use to anyone is only detrimental ,hope you guys don,t disagree. Stu Newton
Hey Stu,

I think you hit it dead on the nose. Likely the F&G had never heard of spear fishing until you asked their opinoin. After watching fisherman throw near dead restricted species back overboard I find it hard to believe spearfishing isn't a better method of harvesting than line fishing.

Have you ever tried in the lakes down south? I'd love to go out but honestly I thought I'd heard you basically couldn't spearfish for anything worthwhile so I haven't pursued it here in Alberta.
Hi James, no i haven,t had a chance to dive anywhere south of edmonton . the lakes that i,ve seen don,t look clean enough except around the foothills and closer to the mountains. My brother works near Waterton Park and he was telling me that it looks awesome,have you been there? another one of my brothers took his PADI in Sylvan Lake he said it was like diving in chunky soup.he.he.If you have the urge to spearfish but are a bit apprehensive re. alberta regs. you could research local lakes for Burbot(freshwater ling)they are good eating,and legal to spear.Cold Lake has these up to #20 ,i haven,t seen any myself other than caught on line. they aren,t a popular gamefish with the lineys because frankly they are butt-ugly.We have them up here also ,just never seen one.Perhaps a trip to Cold lake to investigate could be planned?on another note have you introduced your son to diving?my daughter(8 yrsold) has been out with me a few times now(mexico,hawaii,caymans)i,m not sure if she,s ready for the tropical alberta waters but i do encourage her! ciao,Stu Newton
Hey Stu,

Waterton is supposed to be awesome and its on my short list for next spring, as well as the lakes in jasper. We should try to plan an alberta freedivers trip down there next summer, I know two or three guys here who would probably be interested.

I think I will probably confine my spearfishing activities to the coast for the time being. I honestly haven't seen much to shoot at down here.

My four year old is definately doing to be a diver. He failed his first set of swimming lessons last year because he refused to swim with his head above water :) (too much watching daddy practice in the pool). We haven't had any luck finding a snorkel or fins that fit him yet...

We're off to minewanka this afternoon. Going to try out my new cressi wetsuit and see where my max depth is.
Nice to hear there are some other Alberta divers interested in spearfishing. I'm in central Alberta, not a lot of decent visability lakes around here with fish. I'm thinking of making a trip to the Jasper area next spring/summer. Dove in a little lake named Exener in Saskatchewan this summer, loaded with trout. Haven't got a clue whats legal there though.
spearfishing in saskatchewan

This is my first post to this forum. I have been an avid reader for several months, but being a newbe and living in Saskatchewan doesn't add up to much to say! At this point in my career, I and all my kids (4, ages 9-13) have snorkels and masks, plan to rent suits (I haven't mentioned that people pee in their suits), and will be cruising the waters of Lake Diefenbaker a couple weeks from now. This is a reservoir in southern Saskatchewan that is over 100 km long, and I hear that the waters are always clear. I have done a bit of line fishing there in the past and was easily able to see bottom in 10 feet of water from the boat. As mentioned in this string, spearos can take all species of fish according to line fishing limits in Saskatchewan. Rainbow and Lake Trout, Walleye, and Northern Pike are the main game species in Diefenbaker. Wish me well, and I will report back about actual water conditions if there is any interest.

Bruce et al
Hey Bruce best of luck in Lake Diefenbaker. I grew up in Assiniboia so have some familiarity with the area.

Let us know how it turns out...
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Reactions: Amphibious
Seems like you boys need to come to Rupert/Bella Coola with me some time a chase Ling Cod.

Stop wasting your time with those silly little fresh water fish :D

I'll be back in BC in August, I should be getting up to Rupert/Bella Coola at least one weekend a month.

As for the Fish Cops. The ones in BC routinely pull me out of the water when I'm freediving for Burbot. They will throw your ass in Jail instantly if you have shot anything other then Carp and Burbot. I belive there is a pretty serious fine and you stand a good chance of loosing your truck& Equipment.
Are you off in Saudi right now? If so send me a pm and tell me what its like as my wife may have a reasonbly lucrative consulting contract opportunity over there...

As for the spearfishing, let us know when your back we might be able to hook up. I'll be in vancouver last weekend in August.

PM on the Way!

I'm back Mid August but my equipment won't arive untill september. We're going to try and Spearfish Rupert on a Saturday and ride Smithers on sunday. Seems like the perfect Winter weekends!
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