It's time to think about hauling ice fishing shacks away

·2 min read
Someone ice fishing on Pigeon Lake in the Kawarthas region in February 2017. People can still fish for what's in season, but they can't do it out of a hut after certain dates this month. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press - image credit)
Someone ice fishing on Pigeon Lake in the Kawarthas region in February 2017. People can still fish for what's in season, but they can't do it out of a hut after certain dates this month. (Fred Thornhill/Canadian Press - image credit)

Conservation authorities in the Ottawa area say the weather's not co-operating for people who want to leave their ice fishing huts out until the March 15 deadline.

Ice fishers have until a certain date in Ontario to get their huts off the ice or face a fine: locally, it's March 1 along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, March 15 for most of eastern Ontario and March 31 in Renfrew County and Algonquin Park.

People who monitor ice and water conditions around Ottawa advise getting gear off sooner rather than later.

"The recent fluctuations in weather have not made for good, safe ice over an extended period," said Ryan Robson, a resource technician with South Nation Conservation, in a news release.

The authority covering part of Ottawa and communities to the east said last week it was measuring ice just 15 centimetres thick near some huts around Casselman, Ont., which is considered barely safe for walking.

Ice thickness around Petrie Island in east Ottawa ranged from 15 to 51 centimetres in the local association's latest report last weekend and the ice is off-limits to larger vehicles.

Do you want this to be your hut? Didn't think so.
Do you want this to be your hut? Didn't think so.(Giacomo Panico/CBC)

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, west of South Nation's area, echoed its neighbour's message, saying huts, gear and waste will pollute the waters people fish if they're left.

You also can't just burn your hut down, added South Nation Conservation: it's both illegal and polluting.

Ottawa's forecast calls for sunny daytime highs of between 5 C and 8 C to start next week.

If you're new or just want a reminder, Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has safety advice and lists of which fish are in season.