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ONTARIO: Conservation officers issue alert of dangerous ice conditions

Ice fishing season getting a slow start in many parts of the province, says Ontario Conservation Officers Association
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NEWS RELEASE
ONTARIO CONSERVATION OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
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Ice fishing is a popular past time for many of Ontario’s anglers and the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) would like to remind anglers to put safety first.

“Ice conditions vary greatly from one end of the province to the other,” says OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, “in some parts of the province the warm weather and rain this winter has delayed many water bodies from creating safe ice conditions. While some areas in northern Ontario have had safe ice since early December, other areas in southern Ontario are still ice-free. I strongly encourage anglers who are planning a fishing excursion to check the ice conditions often, plan ahead and be prepared. By following some simple safety measures, it could save your life or the life of someone else.”

Ice Safety tips:

  • Check ice thickness and conditions frequently
  • Clear ice should be a minimum of 10cm (4”) for walking and ice fishing, 12cm (5”) for one snowmobile or ATV, 20-30cm (8-12”) for a car or small pickup, 30-38cm (12-15”) for a medium truck (source: Lifesaving Society)
  • Fish with a buddy
  • Be prepared for an emergency – wear ice picks or a floater/survival suit, and have a whistle and cell phone on hand
  • Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return. This should include where your vehicle will be parked, what route you plan to take and any stops you plan to make
  • Stay off rivers and away from locks, where ice is less stable. Ice conditions in areas of moving water or spring-fed lakes can be unsafe at any time, ensure the ice is safe before venturing out.

“Spending time outdoors in the winter with friends and family can be enjoyable,” said Cronsberry, “But if the ice is not safe, we suggest finding activities to enjoy on shore because making it home safe at the end of the day is paramount. We wish all Ontarian’s a happy and safe winter season.”

Anglers are reminded to review the 2020 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, available online and at Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) offices.

Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety-related offence is encouraged to call the MNRF violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact their local Conservation Officer directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement please visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation Officer.

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