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Slushy, unfrozen lakes posing problems for ice fishing

Warm temperatures have caused many lakes to freeze slowly or, in some cases, not at all in parts of Ontario. 

Derek Hebner, president of the Ontario Conservation Officers Association, says anglers need to be cautious.  

“The lack of ice coupled with heavy snowfall recently has caused many lakes to have excessive slush,” he says. “This snowfall and slush will slow further ice formation and cause travelling on the ice to become very difficult until colder temperatures arrive. I encourage anglers who are planning a fishing excursion to check the ice conditions often, plan ahead and be prepared. By following some simple safety measures, it could save your life or the life of someone else.” 

Hebner suggests checking ice thickness and condition frequently. 

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He explains clear ice should be at least four inches thick for walking and ice fishing, five for one snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle, between eight and 12 for a car or small pick-up truck, and 12 to 15 for a medium-sized truck. 

“For many anglers, ice fishing can be the highlight of their fishing year,” says Hebner. “But if the ice conditions are not safe, we suggest holding off on heading out until ice conditions improve.” 

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