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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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member (31)member
05/29/2009 01:19PM
What are regs when fishing a lake divided by the border? Does one need to stay on the US side of the border? Headed to Basswood via Prarie Portage.

As far as Prarie Portage, does one go through customs there? I believe new laws mandate a passport going into Canada. Is a passport needed when crossing this portage even if staying in the land of the free?
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Arkansas Man
05/29/2009 02:24PM
There is an agreement for both sides to use border lake portages... However, if you are fishing with live bait, make sure you are on the US side, and if you do not have a fishing lioense for Canada, I would not fish over the line... they have a tendency to get a little picky about somethings!

05/29/2009 09:01PM
You can only fish the U.S. side of a border lake unless you have gone through Canadian customs (or an RABC), have an Ontario fishing license, and a Quetico permit. If you are Canadian and traveling through Quetico you can only fish the Canadian side unless you have cleared U.S. Customs, have a BWCAW permit, and a MN fishing license.

The border treaty covers travel only, not fishing, hunting, or site seeing.

There is no Canadian Customs station at Prairie Portage. You do not need a passport to cross Prairie Portage (Just don't pull out a fishing pole and cast from the portage as you are on Canadian Soil:) ) as this portage is covered by the border travel treaty. If you actually wanted to cross into Canada at Prairie Portage you would need a Canadian RABC (Remote Area Border Crossing permit), the Passport or passport card would only be required by the U.S. for re-entry into the U.S. The Canadians at Prairie won't care about your passport.

distinguished member(26295)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
05/29/2009 09:16PM
i dont think youre right tim. i think you CAN fish the canadian side with only an ontario fishing license. as long as you dont step on canadain soil. if im wrong, link something to prove me wrong.
member (15)member
05/29/2009 09:26PM
If you are going into Canada across Prairie Portage, you need to have applied and been granted an RABC (Remote Area Border Crossing) in advance of getting there. There is no customs official on the crossing so you have to have cleared your passport and customs in advance.

Without it, you aren't supposed to be or allowed to be in Canada.
05/29/2009 10:47PM
Kanoes, you might be right you do not need a Quetico permit to fish border waters as long as you do not touch crown lands (but I do not know for sure now), but I am pretty sure you still need an RABC. You need one on Lake of the Woods (or go through Canadian Customs) to fish Canadian waters with out touching Canadian soil--so why would Quetico Border waters be any different? They all fall under the same treaty.

But realistically if you venture up into Basswood or Gardner Bay for example for a fishing foray into Canada--what are the chances someone will stay on the water all the time. Most people will land at some point to stretch their legs, lunch, bathroom etc... I don't think it is realistic for someone to seriously fish the Canadian side and not ever land their canoe---but if they did not land then yes technically they MAY not need a Quetico permit.
BUT a Canadian authority MAY also determine you are no longer "traveling" because you are so far up into Canadian waters and that they may give you a ticket for being in Quetico without a permit even if you do not touch crown lands.
The only way you MAY not need an RABC is if you were fishing along a travel route right on the International Boundary. If you have ventured up into a bay well off of the known travel routes you are no longer following the Webster-Ashburton Treaty --you have entered Quetico. Once again the former is a very unlikely scenario, but possible. There are some gray areas depending on where or how far you plan to fish over the border. Some of it depends on how zealous the Canadian official that stops you is... Better safe than sorry.

FYI---etiquette dictates you need to "link it" since you are challenging my original post---- so under your own guidelines you have failed to disprove my post as of yet :) . Also if you are wrong the repercussions are quite severe, if I am wrong what harm was done?

distinguished member(6504)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
05/30/2009 10:43AM
For what it's worth, from Michael Furtmans website . The last paragraph under "BWCAW AND QUETICO?" addresses this scenario.
Guest Paddler
04/29/2018 09:29AM
I have been fishing border water between Minnesota and Canada , for a long time. By reading my 2018 Fishing regulations there are areas listed as not included. So I'm thinking that when I take my last portage, and am now paddling water connected to the border are we in border water. Also can we stand in our campsite and fish with a bobber line.
04/29/2018 10:18AM
This post/thread is almost 10 years old... there are a lot more relevant and accurate posts to decipher.

There was recent changes from the Canadians that you may fish border waters without an RABC at LOTW and Rainy River. Not sure about other border waters?

Until this new rule (and that might still be the case) you would need an RABC, Ontario outdoors card, Ontario fishing license, passport or passport card, and a Quetico permit or day permit if the border water in the BWCAW was in Quetico. Also technically you would need to check in at the U.S. Customs station upon re-entry into the U.S. stations in Ely and Grand Marais although inconvenient.

There have been posts and reports of Canadian officials fining people for fishing in Quetico on border waters, them pulling out the GPS and showing paddlers they are over the border. Also remember Quetico has a barbless and live bait ban. Even if you are a little over the line no matter what the new rules allow for border water fishing you have to comply with their regulations. The lure on your line has to be barbless and you cannot have any live bait in your possession while you are on the Canadian side fishing.

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