Anglers Encouraged to Stay Safe on the Ice
No matter what the winter weather, ice conditions can be deceptive and unpredictable. Ontario is reminding anglers to check local ice conditions before heading onto the ice to fish.
- Ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers, and can be hazardous at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is often much thicker.
- Check thickness regularly with a spud bar or auger as you move further out on the ice.
- 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.
- Heavy snow on a frozen lake or river can insulate the ice below and slow the freezing process.
- Travelling on frozen lakes or rivers with snowmobiles or vehicles can be dangerous and 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.
Before Heading 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:
- Ice huts used in Fisheries Management Zones (FMZ) 9-12 and 14-20 must be registered.
- Huts in FMZs 1-8 and 13 do not need to be registered.
- It is not necessary to register tents that are made of fabric covering seven square metres (75.4 ft2) or less when erected.
▪ Learn about ice fishing and ice hut removal and register your ice fishing hut at ontario.ca/icefishing.
▪ If you're heading out on a snowmobile, make sure you're being safe and responsible.