Thanks to the cold snap, conditions for recreational winter activities are endless.
And with so many ice fishing opportunities available across Ontario's thousands of lakes, the Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) would like to remind anglers and anyone venturing on bodies of frozen water to put safety first.
Here are their top tips for staying safe this season:
- Check ice thickness and conditions frequently. Clear ice should be a minimum of 10 cm for walking and ice fishing, and 12 cm for one snowbile or ATV, 20-30 cm for a car or small pickup, and 30-38 cm for a medium truck.
- Stay off rivers and away from locks, where ice is less stable. Ice conditionsin areas of moving water or spring fed lakes can be potentially unsafe at any time.
- Don't fish alone, and always let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return. This should include sharing where your vehicle will be parked, what route you plan to take and any stops you plan to make.
- Be prepared for an emergency with equipment such as a whistle, cell phone, ice picks, floater/survival suit, etc. Being well-prepared willl greatly increase you rchance of rescue and survival.
In terms of licensing, anyone venturing out for a winter adventure are reminded to carry valid fishing, snowmobile and ATV licences with them at all times as required.
Also, be sure to review the 2019 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, available here.