Reminding Anglers to Stay Safe on the Ice
The new Ontario government is reminding anglers to put safety first as winter comes to a close.
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. 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.
- Travelling on frozen lakes or rivers with snowmobiles or vehicles can be dangerous and added precautions must be taken. At least 20 centimetres (eight inches) of clear blue ice is required for snowmobiles and 30 centimetres (12 inches) or more is needed for most light vehicles. This thickness should be doubled if the ice is white or opaque.
- Heavy snow on a frozen lake or river can insulate the ice below and slow down the freezing process.
Before Venturing Out
- Check ice conditions with local ice hut operators or other anglers.
- Let others know where you're planning to fish and when you plan to return.
- Appropriate clothing and equipment are critical to safety and comfort; many anglers wear floatation suits and carry a set of ice picks.
- Register your ice hut where required.
- Check the 2013 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary at ontario.ca/fishing, or contact your local ministry office for registration requirements.