NATION VALLEY — South Nation Conservation (SNC) is reminding residents from across its 4,384 square-kilometer jurisdiction in Eastern Ontario to be safe while ice fishing this winter season.
Locally, the South Nation River is a popular destination for recreational ice fishing; it is 175 kilometres long, beginning north of Brockville and emptying into the Ottawa River near Plantagenet, and houses as many as 72 species of fish.
As water levels and flows have been fluctuating across the watershed of late, so has ice thickness.
“We’ve seen higher than normal water levels across the watershed for this time of year,” explained Taylor Campbell, SNC’s Communications Specialist. “It may be cold outside, but changes in flows can affect ice thickness regardless of temperature,” he added. “We are urging all residents to take the proper precautions if they plan on ice fishing.”
Ice should be at least 15 to 20 centimetres thick and should appear clear blue in colour. Avoid fishing near water control structures as ice thickness may vary. It is always recommended to dress warmly and wear a floatation device. SNC also urges residents to be mindful of the natural environment.
“Please refrain from dumping your bait bucket into the river, as it could have potentially harmful effects to the local ecosystem,” added Campbell. “We also ask that residents clean up after themselves to avoid a mess being left on the ice.”
Residents of Ontario can fish without a licence this Family Day Weekend, from February 15 to 17, and SNC is encouraging families to safely fish at one of the following local derbies: the Ice-Fisherman’s Association Derby at Petrie Island in the City of Ottawa on February 15; the Alexandria Ice Fishing Derby on Mill Pond on February 15; and the Wendover Ice Fishing Tournament on February 16.