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Ice anglers are reminded to check the date and stay safe.

As ice fishing season begins, residents are reminded that many ice fishing licenses expired on December 31, 2017. In Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have outlined what residents need to legally ice fish:

- Have a valid fishing licence, sport or conservation

- Follow the rules when using fishing lines - staying within 60 metres of any line, with a clear and unobstructed view of your line at all times

- You can't bring any device that uses a mechanical spring to set the fishing hook, other than a fishing rod under tension, within 30 metres of any waters

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is also reminding residents to practice ice safety, especially as the area is currently enjoying warm weather. The MNRF offered residents some ice safety tips:

- Ice doesn't freeze at a uniform thickness

- Near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice farther out, especially at the start of the winter season

- Residents are reminded to check the thickness of the ice regularly with a spud bar or auger as you move farther out

- Ice that formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams can be weaker than surrounding ice

- Stay away from ice that looks honeycombed, common during thaws or in the spring

- Snowmobiles need at least 20 centimetres (8 inches) of clear blue ice

- Light vehicles need 30 centimetres (12 inches) or more

- Let others know where you're planning to fish and when you plan to return

- Wear appropriate clothing and equipment for safety and comfort

The OPP has also offered a safety checklist. They add that no ice is ever considered safe by the OPP. They say that anyone who decides to venture onto the ice covered bodies of water should do so with extreme caution.

- Check ice thickness and quality before riding onto any frozen waterway

- Be mindful that ice conditions can vary from day-to-day, from hour-to-hour and from one location to the next

- Never travel on ice alone, at night or while impaired by alcohol or drugs

- Avoid slushy or untracked ice or ice near moving water

- Wear a buoyant snowmobile suit and carry ice picks

For more information:
Uneasy ice conditions

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