Ice fishing is a popular activity in Ontario during the winter months. The province has numerous lakes and rivers that freeze over, creating a perfect opportunity for anglers to get out and enjoy some fresh air and good times on the ice. There is a wide variety of fish available to be caught, including walleye, northern pike, lake trout, muskie, bass and panfish.
In order to protect fish populations and ensure anglers can continue to enjoy their favourite outdoor activity for years to come, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) sets regulations for when, where and how ice fishing can take place.
Ice fishing is allowed in most areas of Ontario from January 1st until mid-March or April depending on the location. In some areas the season may be extended if there are still safe ice conditions present. Anglers should always check with local regulations prior to heading out onto the ice as certain lakes may have different rules or restrictions in place.
Before heading out onto the ice, anglers must also have a valid Ontario Outdoors Card as well as an appropriate fishing licence. Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the ice while baitfish cannot be used as bait unless specified by OMNRF regulations. It is also important to note that snagging (hooking fish without them biting) is illegal in Ontario waters at any time of year.
The safety of all anglers should always be top priority when going out onto frozen waterways. It is important to check that ice thickness is at least 15 cm before venturing out onto any body of water regardless of size or location.
Ice thickness should also be checked frequently as conditions can change quickly due to weather or other factors such as currents or shifting winds. Additional safety precautions such as wearing a life jacket and carrying an emergency kit are also recommended when fishing on the ice in Ontario waters.
Conclusion: Ice fishing is allowed in most areas of Ontario from January 1st until mid-March or April depending on location with permission from OMNRF regulations, an Ontario Outdoors Card and a valid fishing licence being mandatory for all participants. Safety should always be top priority when going out onto frozen waterways with appropriate precautions being taken before venturing out onto any body of water regardless of size or location.