The recent mild weather in Moose Jaw has drawn anglers to area lakes to enjoy some ice fishing.
Some may simply set up during the day, while others have a permanent ice fishing shack on the lake during the season.
The Ministry of the Environment would like to remind anglers out on the lake this winter of some rules and regulations regarding fishing and an ice fishing shack.
Dan Robinson, a provincial conservation officer, says there are two main regulations anglers need to be aware of.
“Make sure your ice shack is marked,” says Robinson. “Put your name, address and phone number on the outside of the shack in legible letters that are at least an inch high. That way we know who it belongs to if there’s a problem.”
Robinson adds that the other regulation anglers need to keep in mind is to make sure they remove their ice fishing shack from the lake by the required date.
Huts must be removed from the ice by March 15 if located south of Hwy 16. Ice fishing shelters north of Hwy 16 have until March 31 to vacate the ice
If the above rules are not followed, fishermen can face fines.
“Typical base fines for putting up an unmarked ice fishing shelter would be a $150 fine. If they don’t remove their ice fishing shelter by the set date, it’s a $310 fine. We’ve had situations in which the fines are higher. In 2014, a person in Saskatoon was fined $2,800 for leaving an unmarked ice fishing shelter on Blackstrap Lake as well as some associated trash,” explains Robinson.
Other rules that people must follow as described by the Ministry of the Environment are:
Two lines may be used when ice fishing, but must be within 25 meters (27.3 yards) and within sight of the person setting or using them.
Only jigs with a J-shaped end may be used to land fish while ice fishing, but may not be longer than 1.5 meters (1.6 yards). The use or possession of a spear in ice-covered waters is prohibited.
Ice fishing shelters are not permitted to be stored or left on Crown or private land without the owner’s consent.
Use of ice fishing shelters for gear is prohibited without a license.
At the end of the day, Robinson wants people to have fun on the ice, but be safe in the safe moment.
“The most important thing would be to monitor the ice conditions and make sure they don’t drive through the ice, especially if they’re driving onto the ice. General guidelines for ice thickness are 4 inches of ice for walking, 8 inches for an ATV or snowmobile, at least 12 inches to drive a car or light truck and more than 12 inches to drive a heavy truck.
Ice thickness guidelines may vary by water body and are based on solid clear lake ice and not stream or river ice. More ice safety tips can be found HERE.
If anyone sees a violation, they are asked to call the Turn In Poachers line at 1-800-667-7561.