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2020 Recreational Cod Fishery Dates


Looking for 2021 Food Fishery Info?

The 2020 Newfoundland Recreational Cod Fishery opens July 4, 2020, and this year there are a lot of dates for recreational cod jigging. Just like last year, the 2020 Newfoundland Food Fishery requires no tags and has a daily limit of five fish per person and fifteen fish per boat. You can fish every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday between July 4, 2020 and Labour Day weekend plus enjoy nine additional fall dates between September 26, 2020, and October 4, 2020.

Want to know the exact dates the Newfoundland 2020 Recreational Cod Fishery is open? Here is a list of the dates you can legally jig cod and groundfish this 2020 summer season:

  • Saturday, July 04, 2020 to Monday, July 06, 2020
  • Saturday, July 11, 2020 to Monday, July 13, 2020
  • Saturday, July 18, 2020 to Monday, July 20, 2020
  • Saturday, July 25, 2020 to Monday, July 27, 2020
  • Saturday, August 01, 2020 to Monday, August 03, 2020
  • Saturday, August 08, 2020 to Monday, August 10, 2020
  • Saturday, August 15, 2020 to Monday, August 17, 2020
  • Saturday, August 22, 2020 to Monday, August 24, 2020
  • Saturday, August 29, 2020 to Monday, August 31, 2020
  • Saturday, September 05, 2020 to Monday, September 7, 2020

The Newfoundland Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) oversees the 2020 Newfoundland Recreational Cod Fishery and is a great resource for up to date information on recreational cod fishing in Newfoundland. Check the DFO 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador recreational groundfish fishery for the real time updates on the recreational cod fishery.

Newfoundland and Labrador offers a variety of a angling options to choose from. Catch and release ocean fishing is available year-round and the ground-fish food fishery (the one where you get to catch and keep cod) is open for an average of 40 days each year. Trout and salmon fishing, depending on the river or lake you choose, stays open throughout the spring, summer, and even into the fall. In winter, ice fishing for trout and smelt is also an experience you won’t want to miss. If you’re looking for Newfoundland trout and Atlantic salmon specific information or need more details on fishing Newfoundland’s lakes, rivers, and inland waters, be sure to check out our Newfoundland Atlantic salmon and Newfoundland trout fishing blog posts for up to date information on secret Newfoundland fishing spots even the locals don’t want you to know about.   

Hand. Line. Cod. (Trailer) from NFB/marketing on Vimeo.

Ocean Fishing and cod jigging in Newfoundland is a unique experience. If you’ve fished for cod elsewhere, let go of any preconceived ideas you may have since the experience in Newfoundland is different than elsewhere. Based on hundreds of years of tradition, cod fishing in Newfoundland has evolved in a special way, and experiencing it first hand during the Newfoundland food fishery is the best way to have an authentic cod jigging adventure. During the Newfoundland food fishery, you can use a traditional hand line jigger and fish for cod from an open boat like a Rodney or Dory in the same way it’s been done for generations. Newfoundland has the richest fishing grounds on earth and Cod is the fish this island is famous for. In Newfoundland, cod is king. 

Jigging for cod is a fun way to spend the day with family and friends, and it’s common for anglers to catch their quota of five ground-fish, codfish included, during a single ocean fishing adventure. The mixing of the Gulf Stream with the East Greenland and Labrador current is what creates the North Atlantic Oceanic Gyre and sets the stage for the most productive fishing grounds on our planet, creating perfect conditions for ground-fish like cod. There’s no need to venture far off-shore when jigging for cod since recreational hand line cod fishing is best done in coastal waters with a protective coastline and rocky bottom. Ideal water depths range from 60 feet to 300 feet (that’s between 10 to 50 fathoms deep for all you mariners out there). It’s so easy to catch cod, you don’t even need bait. The cod here are plentiful and Newfoundland codfish is among the highest quality cod in the world. Judge for yourself when you’re enjoying a fresh feed of cod caught earlier on the same day. You’ll probably hear yourself saying “this is the best fish I’ve ever tasted in my life”. 

Nick is showing us how he got his line on a cod last summer in Newfoundland

Not only does cod fishing in Newfoundland pay off with tasty and healthy fresh fish on your plate, but there are financial rewards too. Everyone enjoying the Newfoundland recreational food fishery has a chance to get between $10 and $100 per fish they catch as a reward from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and the best part is you still get to keep the fish you catch. When you catch a cod on your jigger and pull it up into the Dory, Rodney, or whatever watercraft you happen to be in, ensure you carefully look for a yellow or pink fish tag on the fish you catch, usually located on the back of the fish. These tags are fish monitoring tags placed on the fish by DFO and are there to help the department monitor fish migration patterns and habitat preferences. The reward dollar amount is actually printed right on the tag. To claim your reward, simply return the tag via mail to the DFO along with the date and location you caught the fish. Be sure to include your return mailing address and then wait for your reward to arrive in the mail.

The ocean can be very unpredictable, please learn from professionals before renting a water craft or attempting this alone

Now that we know the 2020 recreational cod fishery is going ahead all that’s left to do is dig out your jiggers, get your watercraft geared up, and get excited about spending time jigging for cod. Unlike non-resident salmon fishing and trout fishing, cod fishing in Newfoundland does not require any special permits or tags. All you have to do is go out on the water and catch your fill. Now that you know the exact date the 2020 recreational cod fishing season is open, you can plan your cod jigging adventures accordingly.

You are permitted to jig for cod in the waters surrounding the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve with Tors Cove being the most popular spot to launch your boat. The protected waters of the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve also lend themselves well to non-consumptive self propelled transport like kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), and sailing.

The best way to experience cod jigging during your Newfoundland adventure is to join a tour and get out on the water with a qualified ocean fishing guide. Throughout the season, daily whale watching boat tours and cod jigging adventures depart multiple times daily from the wharf at the end of our lane. Cod jigging in the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve has a double bonus since you also get to experience whales, puffins, and rare seabirds exclusive to the marine protected zone inside the Eco Reserve. 

Have you had an experience jigging for cod in Newfoundland? Did you hire a local ocean fishing guide? Where did you go? We’d like to hear your fish tale. Post in the comments below and tell us about your experience.


12 Responses

  1. Just wondering if fishing with a rod and lure is allowed with this recreational ground fishing and if you are allowed to troll for fish or do you have to be anchored.

  2. I have friends that want to come to Newfoundland. I want to take them Cod Jigging.Do we know the dates yet? Thank you

  3. The tourism board needs to be aware of how this holds up booking vacations. Please let me know the dates. Thanks

    1. June 30th, usually … every weekend there after until Sept. But I don’t think there’s been an official announcement yet.

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Whale House Guest House offers luxury boutique private suites with outdoor hot tubs overlooking humpback whale feeding grounds. Located next to the east coast trail in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, just 30 min from downtown St. John’s.

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