Police caution ice fishers as spring conditions arrive

If you enjoy ice fishing, you know pulling a fish from a hole drilled into a vast expanse of ice can be a thrill. But as spring weather arrives, you’re reminded to stay safe on Lake Simcoe and other bodies of water.

“Each year, members of the Marine Unit respond to calls of people, vehicles and pets that have fallen through the ice,” says York Regional Police Const. Laura Nicolle. “Citizens are reminded to keep pets and children away from all ice surfaces during these times where the ice is melting.”

Officers have already spotted open areas in the ice near the mouths of rivers and where there’s moving water. The thickness of the ice on Lake Simcoe can vary based on currents below the surface and temperatures above. Uneven cracks can form quickly and create hazardous obstacles for snowmobilers. Check with your local ice hut operators on the latest ice conditions.

If you’re planning to ice fish, YRP reminds you to know the condition of the ice beforehand and remember that changes in the weather can very quickly impact conditions on lakes and streams. Wear proper clothing and floatation attire. Never venture out onto the lake alone. Make sure you have a cell phone with a fully-charged battery in the event of an emergency. Tell someone where you’re going, with whom and what time you plan to return.

YRP also reminds you to respect the environment and waterway. “Every year, garbage and other materials that are left behind on the ice in the winter are not only pollution but can be hazards for swimmers and boaters in the spring and summer,” Nicolle says. “If you took it out on the ice, then take it back on land before the ice melts.”

For more information and safety tips, contact the Marine Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 7321.

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