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Anglers Are Reminded to Stay Safe On The Ice

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Anglers Are Reminded to Stay Safe On The Ice

Fact Sheet

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Ontario is reminding anglers to make safety a priority when heading out onto the ice to fish.

Anglers should also confirm the catch limits in their area. On this licence-free weekend, anglers must follow the conservation licence limits for their area.

Before venturing out, all anglers should check with local ice hut operators - many factors affect the thickness and strength of ice on lakes and rivers. Ice conditions can be deceptive and variable

Check Ice Conditions


  • Ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers. This can be particularly evident at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice further out. Check thickness regularly with a spud bar or auger as you move further out on the ice.
  • Not all ice is created equal. Ice that has formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams can be weaker than surrounding ice.
  • Clear blue ice is the strongest. White or opaque ice is much weaker.  Ice that has a honeycombed look, common during thaws or in the spring, should be avoided altogether.
  • Travelling on frozen lakes or rivers with snowmobiles or vehicles can be particularly dangerous and added precautions must be taken.
  • Heavy snow on a frozen lake or river can insulate the ice below and slow down the freezing process.

Before Venturing Out:

  • Check conditions with local ice hut operators 
  • Let others know where you're planning to fish and when you plan to return
  • Warm clothing and appropriate equipment are critical to safety and comfort.  Anglers are encouraged to wear a Canadian Standards Association-approved floater suit and carry a set of ice picks.



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