Fish Rules

Fish Rules


Fish & Fishing

Pre-Fishing: 2-1

Pre-Fishing. – To practice on the same lake you are going to be competing on at a later date.

2-1(a) Pre-fishing is permitted up to, and including, the day before an event.  All teams must be off the body of water by 5 pm. If, for some reason, you are still on the water, all rods “MUST BE” secured in a rod locker or to the deck of the boat. If a team member is found to be fishing beyond the 5pm cut off. Both team members will be disqualified from the next day’s event.

 2-1(b) The only exception to (a) would be a Bass season opening weekend tournament. There is no fishing allowed 2 weeks prior to the Saturday before the tournament. You may be on the water with no rods or any other fishing tackle, If an event is being held on the Sunday of the Bass season opener, you may Pre-fish the day before the event.

2-1(c) Classic pre-fishing is allowed up to 5 pm of the Friday before Classic.


Catch & Retain Limits: 2-2

2-2(a) “All tournaments” are 5 fish limit “per team”. You are not to have more than your 5 fish limit in your livewells at any time that your main motor is in operation. Teams must cull down to 5 weighable fish prior to weigh-in, or TOP BASS will cull fish starting with the largest fish.

2-2(b) Teams weighing in dead fish will be penalized one half of a (.5) pound from their total weight for each dead fish. Dead fish cannot be weighed in for Big Fish of the Day.

Remember that All Federal & Provincial laws must be obeyed at all times.

  • ·         Provincial livewell rule: (Excerpt from theOntario fishing regulations)

Generally, daily catch limits include all fish that are retained for any period of time and not immediately released.

Anglers fishing from a boat may now catch, hold and selectively live release, more walleye, northern pike, largemouth or smallmouth bass than the daily limit, provided:

(a) the fish are held in a livewell with a mechanical aerator operating at all times.

A livewell is a compartment designed to keep fish alive. For a livewell to be used to selectively release bass, walleye and northern pike, it must be attached to or form part of a boat, hold a total volume of not less than 46 litres (10 gallons) of water, have the capacity for water exchange and be mechanically aerated at all times when live fish are being held in it.

(b) the fish comply with any applicable size limits.

(c) the Sport or Conservation Fishing Licence daily catch and retain limits for walleye or northern pike are not exceeded at any one time.

(d) no more than six largemouth or smallmouth bass (or any combination) caught under a sport fishing licence are retained at any one time, and,

(e) the Conservation Fishing Licence catch and retain limits for largemouth and smallmouth bass (or any combination) are not exceeded at any one time. (A conservation Licence is “NOT” eligible in any TOP BASS Fishing Series events.)

Anglers are reminded to closely monitor the condition of fish held in a livewell. Only fish that are in such a condition that they will survive may be released. Releasing a fish that will not survive and allowing the flesh of that fish to be wasted is an offence. Any fish not live-released are part of your daily catch and retain limit.

2-2(c) All fish being presented for weigh in by a team competing in the event of that day, must have been caught by the members of the team presenting the fish. They must also have been caught during the hours of the event.  Any infraction of this rule will deem a disqualification of the team or teams involved.

2-2(d) All competitors must have a valid Ontario Sport Fishing License on their person at all times during all TOP BASS Fishing Series events. Failure to produce your valid license will result in the disqualification of your team.


Size Limits: 2-3

2-3(a) The minimum size limit for all fish is 13 inches tip to tip (Mouth and tail closed).

2-3(b) Any bass or walleye measuring less than 13 inches will be removed from the teams total count and will not be weighed. In addition there will be a one (1) pound penalty deducted from the team’s total weight.

2-3(c) Bass: Any combination of small mouth or large mouth bass only.

2-3(d) Walleye: (Walleye invitational only) 5 walleye only. Teams must abide by any slot limits being imposed on the lake they are competing on.

2-3(e) Combinations: (Combo Only) Any 5 Bass and / or Walleye. Teams must abide by any slot limits being imposed on the lake they are competing on.

2-3 (f) Big Fish: Any team wishing to weigh a fish for BIG FISH must chose their fish quickly and will only be permitted to weigh “ONE” fish from their catch”.


Tackle: 2-4

2-4(a) All fish must be caught using “ARTIFICIAL BAIT”. A team is not permitted to have any live bait on their boat at any time during an event. No previously alive bait is permitted. Boats may be inspected by the TOP BASS officials at any time if the use of Live bait is suspected.

2-4(b) All bait and tackle must be legal within the Federal and Provincial Fisheries laws for the area you are fishing that day.

Boundaries: 2-5

2-5(a) No fishing is permitted within 75 feet of any other competitors, while anchored and trolling motor up. This includes “Mechanical Anchors”.

2-5(b) No fishing is permitted within 150 feet of any Ministry of Natural Resources nets.

2-5(c) Fishing boundaries are defined as all “waters which are accessible by boat only”. Locking from lake to lake is not permitted. No trespassing on private property.

2-5(d) At least one competitor must remain in the boat at all times. If one competitor is out of the boat for any reason (example, to use a washroom) the other competitor is not permitted to continue fishing.

18 Responses to Fish Rules

  1. Wil

    I have a question in reguards to weighing in a fish early. Is it permitted to weigh in a big fish prior to the end of the tournament, then go back out and continue fishing in order to fill your limit. As big fish don’t do well bouncing around in livewells all day.

    February 2, 2013
    • I’ll have to check with the tournament director on that.
      I do know that the scales are always set up by 11:30am and any team is free to weigh in from that point on.

      TOP BASS

      February 2, 2013
      • j

        Im not too clear here on the rule.
        Is the washroom break a “dire emergency”, and thus, allowable. Or, not?

        2-5(d) At least one competitor MUST REMAIN IN THE BOAT AT ALL TIMES. If one competitor is out of the boat for any reason (example, to use a washroom) the other competitor is not permitted to continue fishing.

        3-3(d) Competitors must depart from and return to the official check in by boat. BOTH COMPETITORS MUST REMIN IN THE BOAT AT ALL TIMES while fishing, except in case of dire emergency or with permission from the Tournament Director. Towing boats on trailers during tournament hours is prohibited, except by the direction of tournament officials.

        May 14, 2013
        • J, you can take a washroom break whenever you feel the need.
          What the rule is stating is that if you should require the use of a public washroom facility (example: at a marina) the angler not needing to use tha facility is to remain with the boat and “MUST NOT’ have any bait in the water untill the other angler has returned to and gottin back into the boat.
          It is prefered that you tie off to or hold onto a dock durring this time. Some marinas may ask you to move away from the docks while you partner is using the facilities. At this time you can move away from the dock and wait for your partner but remember, you are not permitted to fish while your waiting.

          TOP BASS

          May 14, 2013
  2. Mike Osborn

    Are you allowed to Weigh in Early before 3pm?

    June 15, 2012
    • Yes Mike.
      The scales are usually set up and functional by 11am.
      You can weigh in any time after that.

      If you need to leave early, for what ever reason, you must still return your team tag to the officials as you depart.
      The check in boat will be on the water, a short distance from the weigh in site, at least 20 min prior to each wave’s check in time.
      Please remember that once you have checked it with the check in boat, continue on to the line for the weigh in at a slow and safe speed and in single file.

      TOP BASS

      June 15, 2012
  3. Tim

    And another question.My uncle and I are interested in fishing the rice lake tournament. Could u give me a break down of what the regulations are and what we have to do?

    April 19, 2012
    • Tim, you will need to make sure you are at the Waterfront Park in Bewdley early enough to take care of your registration at the gazebo.
      Then you can put your boat in the water and park your tow vehicle in the public parking lot and we will have a shuttle bus there to bring you back to the ramp.

      You will then go through inspection and then make your way out to the blast off area.

      As far as the regulations go, please look at our RULES section.
      There will be a new version of the rules coming out very shortly. They are no different than the ones already posted. They are just being re-written to be better understood.

      All you have to make sure of is that you blast off at your proper time and you return no later than the required time for the wave you are in.
      Oh, and make sure you catch your 5 winning fish.

      If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      TOP BASS

      April 20, 2012
      • Tim

        Yes I do have another question. I was looking around your website and I noticed that there are two tournamnets, the qualifier and the classic. Could you tell me what the differnece is?

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly!

        April 20, 2012
        • Tim, the Classic is the final bass only event of the season for TOP BASS.
          It is the only 2 day event that TOP BASS runs in which a teams day one weight will carry over to day two.
          Also, on this weekend the
          Angler of the Year and the Team of the Year will be decided and if you look at the Pay Out Structure, you’ll notice that it is different than that of the Qualifiers.

          To be eligible to compete in the Classic, a team must compete in no less than 4 Qualifying events and have enough combined weight from the 4 events to be in the top 75 teams at the end of the Qualifying series.

          A team must compete in at least 4 events but their total weight will be based on their best 6 of the 8 qualifying events.

          Not all competitors compete in all the events. There are a few that only come out to compete in one or two events on lakes that they are failure with.

          TOP BASS

          April 21, 2012
  4. Tom

    How long are ur tournamnets? When do they start and when do we have to weigh in?

    April 19, 2012
    • Tom, the TOP BASS Qualifier tournaments are 8 hours in length (Weather permitting)
      Boats numbered 1 through 60 will blast off at 7 am and are requiered to be at the check in boat no later than 3pm.
      Boats numbered 61 through 120 will blast off at 7:30am and must be at the check in boat no later than 3:30pm.

      TOP BASS

      April 20, 2012
  5. Tim

    Hi, just a quick question on how a tornament is run. Once a team is through inspections, they depart and start fishing when you give us the go?
    And when we come back to weigh in, is it usually in the same place that we departed from?

    April 19, 2012
    • Yes Tim, you will be given direction by the Tournament Director at the blast off.

      After you have put your boat in the water you will be required to go through the morning inspection.
      There you will receive your boat number. Then you will make your way out to the blast off area (Look for a bunch of boats just bobing around in the middle of the lake) and as it gets close to the blast off time (1st wave 7am, 2nd wave 7:30am) you will need to get in line behind the boat which is before your boat number in sequence (example, if you are boat 21, then you need to be behind boat number 20).
      When it is time to blast off you will just follow the other boats at a controlled speed and in sequence, up to the blast off boat. Once you are safely past the blast off boat or out of the speed zone (in some lakes we do the blast off in a 10k zone for safety reasons) you can head to were ever you wish and start fishing.

      When you return you just need to make sure you are back to the check in boat no later than the required time for your blast off wave.
      If you were in the first wave (Blasted off at 7am) then you will have to be at the check in boat no later than 3pm. The same goes for the second wave only they return at 3:30pm.

      The check in boat will always be close to the weigh in location but in a safe area away from shore. Sometimes, as with balsam Lake, it will be at the start of the 10k zone leading into Coboconk which is where the weigh in is held.
      As long as your back on time you will see a number of other boats heading for either the check in boat or the weigh in location. Don’t worry, you won’t get lost.

      Once you have checked in at the check in boat you will need to make your way to the weigh in location and fall in line with the other boats.
      There is no specific order for this line. Just try to keep it single file.
      Once in line you will be given a bag to bring your catch up to the stage in.
      Then the TOP BASS staff will instruct you as to what to do.

      TOP BASS

      April 20, 2012
  6. J Rod

    Hey TB! Are you allowing alabama rigs?

    March 13, 2012
    • J Rod,
      As long as the bait complies with the regulations set out in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources regulations it will be legal for use in the TOP BASS Fishing Series.

      March 14, 2012
  7. eric

    Is there any restrictions for fish finding equipments

    March 11, 2012
    • Thanks for the question Eric.
      The only restrictions on “Fish Finding Equipment” are those that are listed in the “Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Fishing Regulations”.
      Sonar and Structure Scan or Side Imaging systems are permitted for use in the TOP BASS Series.

      TOP BASS

      March 12, 2012

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