Polar Plunges and Fishing Restrictions – Week in Review

The Stories that Matter and the Fuel to your Bar Banter – Canadian Fishing and Hunting News from the Week of January 14th, 2022

Although news has never been so abundant, finding relevant and reliable stories has never been more difficult. Thankfully, Fish’n Canada has you covered. From polar plunges to fishing restrictions, here are all the stories from this week that matter to the Canadian outdoorsman!

Ontario’s new COVID restrictions to impact ice hut operators

Photo courtesy of Algoma Country

Unlike in previous times, ice fishing huts were explicitly mentioned in this round of restrictions with Ontario’s latest release stating that:

“Short-term rentals must operate under the following conditions:

  • only open to those in need of housing (does not apply to hotels, motels, lodges, resorts and other shared rental accommodation, including student residences.)
  • ice fishing huts permitted with restrictions

The restriction that this section refers to is the new gathering limits, restricting outdoor gatherings to 10 people and indoor gatherings to 5.

According to OFAH, this translates into personal ice huts being limited to the five-person restriction and rental ice huts being limited to members of the same household (or the same household and an individual who lives alone).

These restrictions are set to be in place until at least January 26th, however, as we have surely learned by now, nothing is set in stone.

“Last year and the year previously,” said John Blanchard, a Temagami area ice hut operator in an interview with Fish’n Canada, “we were hugely impacted as we cancelled the majority of our rentals.”

Despite the challenges of previous years, however, John is still optimistic that the season can continue as planned.

“This pandemic has been frustrating, to say the least, and has hurt many businesses in the north,” says John. “However, there has also been an overwhelming amount of inquiries.”

John also ensured us that hut operators are doing everything they can to make sure anglers are able to enjoy the great fishing opportunities we have in this province and are taking all precautions necessary to make sure guests have a safe and fun trip.

Last call for Saskatchewan hunters to get their deer tested for CWD

Throughout the 2021 deer season, the Government of Saskatchewan provided Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing throughout the province to help slow the spread of the disease.

This program has now reached its final weeks and hunters have until Friday, January 21st, 2022 to submit their deer for testing.

In order to get their deer tested, hunters can look for the various stations located throughout the province at this link at which they can submit the head of their deer. More information on this process can be found here.

As we have covered quite a bit here at Fish’n Canada, Chronic Wasting Disease is a prion disease that targets the brains of ungulates such as White-tailed Deer, Moose, Mule Deer, Elk, and Caribou. Reminiscent of Mad Cow Disease, symptoms of the disease include drastic weight loss, stumbling, and other strange behaviour. Although symptoms of the disease can often take more than a year to show, CWD is almost always fatal and there are currently no treatments.

The disease has now been confirmed throughout much of the country, with a recent confirmation in Manitoba leaving Ontario and BC as the only non-maritime hold-outs. Getting animals tested is currently one of the only ways to stop the spread and the government is urging all hunters to get involved.

As we have mentioned in a previous article, there is currently no evidence that humans can contract the disease, however, a study back in 2006 that confirmed Macaque Monkeys could contract the disease through the eating of contaminated meat has led researchers to warn against consuming any meat from ungulates displaying CWD symptoms.

Albertans can now weigh in on 2022-23 sportfishing regulations

As of January 10th, the Government of Alberta is now gathering input on the Province’s 2022-23 Sportfishing Regulations.

In previous years, this feedback has helped shape a wide variety of regulation items, including gamefish stocking, slot limits, competitive fishing, and guide licensing.

Alberta is home to some spectacular Walleye fishing, one of the species whose stocking program has benefitted from public feedback

Those looking to have their voice heard in these matters have until February 7th, 2022. The link to the survey can be found here.

For those looking for more information or who are interested in attending one of the Province’s webinars, click here.

Simcoe man “learned the expensive way” that ice fishing season is off to a slow start

Sunday, January 9th saw ice fishing season get off to a rough start for one Lake Simcoe man when his Jeep fell through the ice after attempting to access the popular Cook’s Bay.

“This gentleman learned the expensive way that the ice is not safe,” said the York Reginal Police on Twitter.

The incident came just two days after a warning from police that the ice conditions were far from safe and that anglers should stay off for the time being. In fact, many parts of the lake had open water just days before the incident.

The conditions on Lake Simcoe the morning of the incident

As we have mentioned in our Guide to Ice Safety, anglers should look for at least 4 inches of ice before venturing out onto a lake. This amount of ice, if fresh and clear, can hold around 800 pounds and will be safe enough for you and your gear. For those looking to venture on with their cars, wait until the ice builds to around 10 inches or more.

For more information on how you can stay safe this ice season, check out the article below:


Have a story we missed? Send us an email at [email protected]

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