January 22, 2019 - Many of Ontario's thousands of lakes across the province are
host to excellent ice fishing opportunities and many of Ontario's angling enthusiasts
are taking advantage of the great conditions after the recent cold weather. The
Ontario Conservation Officers Association (OCOA) would like to remind anglers and
anyone venturing on to frozen water bodies to put safety first.
"Winter fishing is the time of year where many anglers are able to access their
favourite fishing spots that are inaccessible during the open water season," said
OCOA President Sean Cronsberry, "but anglers need to be sure that ice conditions
are safe and they have the equipment with them to deal with an emergency. By following
some simple safety measures, it could save your life, or the life of someone else."
Ice safety tips:
- Check ice thickness and conditions frequently
- Clear ice should be a minimum of 10cm (4") for walking and ice fishing, 12cm (5")
for one snowmobile or ATV, 20-30cm (8-12") a car or small pickup, 30-38cm (12-15")
for a medium truck (source: Lifesaving Society)
- Fish with a buddy
- Be prepared for an emergency - wear ice picks or a floater/survival suit, and have
a whistle and cell phone on hand
- Let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return. This should include
where your vehicle will be parked, what route you plan to take and any stops you
plan to make.
- Stay off rivers and away from locks, where ice is less stable. Ice conditions in
areas of moving water or spring fed lakes can be potentially unsafe at any time,
ensure the ice is safe before venturing out.
"Conservation officers across Ontario regularly come across groups or individuals
who are ill-equipped should trouble occur," said Cronsberry. "We strongly encourage
everyone out on the ice to be prepared and have a plan on how to deal with an emergency.
Should an accident occur, being prepared will greatly increase your chance of rescue
Anglers are reminded to carry valid fishing, snowmobile and ATV licenses with them
at all times. They should also be sure to review the 2019 Recreational Fishing Regulations
Summary, available online and at Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF)
Anyone with information about a natural resources or public safety related offence
is encouraged to call the MNRF violation reporting line at 1-877-847-7667, contact
their local Conservation Officer directly, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS
For more information about natural resources regulations and enforcement, please
visit the OCOA website at http://www.ocoa.ca or contact your local Conservation