Abandoned ice fishing shelters pose danger to Saskatchewan lakes: officials

An abandoned ice fishing shelter on a Saskatchewan lake. Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment / Supplied

Not removing ice fishing shelters from lakes could pose a serious hazard to summer water users, the Saskatchewan government cautioned Wednesday.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment said abandoned shelters pose a danger to boaters, water skiers and others enjoying lakes in the province.

Officials said pieces of the abandoned shelters also wash up on shore, causing environmental hazards.

READ MORE: Saskatoon man fined for leaving ice-fishing shack on Blackstrap Lake

Deadlines for removing the shelters are approaching.

Shelters south of Highway 16 must be removed by March 15, while those in areas north of the highway have to be taken off lakes by March 31.

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Environment officials said owners might be prosecuted for failing to remove their ice fishing shelters.

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The structure and any contents could also be confiscated, and officials added that litter must be removed.

A Saskatoon man was fined $2,800 in 2014 for leaving an unmarked shack on Blackstrap Lake and for littering.

Officials said anyone heading out on the ice to remove their shack or take part in other activities should take caution.

READ MORE: Check ice thickness before heading out on Saskatchewan lakes and rivers, officials say

Slush indicates ice is eroding from above and below at an advanced rate. Thermal cracks and pressure ridges are also indicators of unsafe conditions.

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Under Saskatchewan regulations, all ice fishing shelters must have the owner’s complete name, address and phone number on the outside of the shack in legible letters at least 2.5 centimetres high.

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