Manitoba RCMP, fishing guides issue warnings with lakes ‘busier than ever’

A couple fishing on the Red River near Selkirk on Sunday afternoon. Marek Tkach / Global News

Correction: A previous version of this story identified carbon monoxide as CO2. CO2 is carbon dioxide, not carbon monoxide (CO.) We have updated the story. 

Members of the ice fishing community near Selkirk are still recovering after a couple was found dead in their tent Saturday morning on the Red River, in the RM of St. Clements just north of CIL road.

“It caught me off guard, I was really shocked,” Todd Longley, a professional fishing guide in the Winnipeg area said.

Read more: 2 ice fishers found dead in Manitoba

Longley said numerous incidents have occurred near Winnipeg over the past month, from fishermen needing an airlift to people being trapped on the ice overnight.

“We’ve already had people this year pulled off the ice by helicopter because the ice has opened up.”

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“The more people that come out on to the ice the more issues absolutely.”

A spokeswoman for the Manitoba RCMP said that officers are noticing an increase in the amount of fishing shacks out on the ice.

Read more: Ice fishing, snowmobiling growing more popular with Manitobans

“Anecdotally I would say that those calls have increased,” Tara Seel said in a phone call with Global News.

“I think that it has a lot to do with society’s circumstances at the moment, meaning that a lot of people are looking for more ways to be outdoors and to interact safely because indoors isn’t really an option,” she continued.

Local fishing guide Todd Longley says he’s seeing more first-timers enjoying the sport then ever before.

“Because of COVID, everybody is getting into other activities and ice fishing has just taken off huge,” he said.

Todd Longley, a professional fishing guide based in Winnipeg, inspecting the conditions on the Red River Sunday afternoon. Marek Tkach / Global News

Longley is underlining the importance of making sure you have the proper vehicle, equipment and knowledge of the area before heading out.

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He’s highly recommending the Lake Winnipeg Ice Report Facebook page to both new and seasoned ice fishers.

“Ice fishing is the ultimate social distancing sport right now, everybody is doing it, unfortunately there’s going to be some mistakes,” he said.

Read more: Level red in Manitoba? Let’s go to an ice fishing derby

With carbon monoxide said to be the possible cause of Saturday’s deadly accident, Longley says a simple carbon monoxide detector should be a must for everyone on the ice.

“If you’re planning on spending the night out on the ice you need one of these. It’s $34 at Canadian Tire and it will save your life.”

The fishing expert says by opening a window or cracking the vents inside your fishing tent, you should be in the clear.

“It’s going to hit you and you’re not even going to know it. Next thing you know, you’re out and if nobody finds you the worst could happen.”

As of Sunday afternoon, RCMP have not announced the cause of death in Saturday’s incident, but are not ruling out carbon monoxide poisoning.

Click to play video: 'What you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning' What you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning
What you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning – Jul 10, 2019


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