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Anglers Encouraged to Stay Safe on the Ice

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Anglers Encouraged to Stay Safe on the Ice

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is reminding anglers to check local ice conditions before heading onto the ice to fish.

Ice Conditions Can Be Deceptive and Variable


  • 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 can be dangerous and precautions must be taken. At least 10 centimetres (four inches) of clear blue ice is required to walk on, 20 centimetres (eight inches) 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.

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.

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