PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 9, 2013) - The New Year marks the long-anticipated start of hard water fishing season for thousands of Ontario anglers. Due to unseasonably inconsistent weather, the ice conditions on the majority of the Province's lakes and rivers cannot be considered safe. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the OPP want to remind anglers and anyone venturing onto frozen lakes and water bodies to put safety first.
"Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the winter season, but anglers must be aware that ice conditions are constantly changing hour to hour, day to day and place to place," said Shannon Gutoskie, OFAH Manager of Communications. "It's good practice to have emergency equipment on hand so you're prepared for anything. Taking simple safety measures could save your life."
"We're asking anglers to use caution and common sense. The ice may look safe, but with rain and warm temperatures on the horizon, no ice can be considered 100% safe for travel by foot and any motorized recreational vehicles or trucks, especially at this time of year," said Iain McEwan, Media Relations Officer with Peterborough County OPP. "The message is simple. If you don't know, don't go."
Anglers are reminded to carry valid fishing, snowmobile and ATV licenses with them at all times. They should also be sure to review the 2013 Recreational Fishing Regulations Summary, available online and at MNR offices and license retailers.
Ice safety tips:
- Never travel on ice unless you know it's safe. Check thickness and conditions frequently. Ask local ice hut operators.
- Clear, hard ice should be a minimum of 6" for walking.
- Never travel on ice alone, at night or after consuming alcohol.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Avoid slushy ice, untracked ice or ice near moving water where ice is less stable.
- Stay off ice early or late in the season or after any sudden and pronounced melt, thaw or rain.
- Be prepared for an emergency - wear a buoyant snowmobile suit, carry ice picks and have a whistle and/or cell phone on hand.
With over 100,000 members, subscribers and supporters, and 675 member clubs, the OFAH is the province's largest nonprofit, fish and wildlife conservation-based organization, and the VOICE of anglers and hunters. For more information, visit www.ofah.org, like the OFAH on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.