As Saskatchewan’s ice fishing season winds down in March, shacks will soon need to be removed from frozen provincial waterbodies.
Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) executive director Darrell Crabbe said he’s done it for almost six decades and called it an active season.
“I think it went very well … ice fishing season seems to have done very, very well based on resident angling licence sales. So it certainly was a very active season for that,” he said Wednesday.
“That information is available once the season’s over, which is at the end of March … but by all indications, as we went into the fall in October, I believe we were up a little over 10 per cent at that point for angling licence sales.
“Of course, we had a very, very noticeable, almost a complete closure of non-resident, which is predominantly American resident or American visitors coming to Saskatchewan for hunting and angling and the same with Canadian residents. We had a noticeable decrease in those folks coming as well.”
Besides experienced the great outdoors, Crabbe said ice fishing can be enjoyed as a COVID-safe activity while observing physical distancing restrictions.
“A natural instinct when you’re ice fishing is to stay away from everybody else and try to find a spot that you can enjoy in your own space and your own solitude,” he said.
“I think it was also a great opportunity for parents or grandparents or whoever was the caregivers to get the kids outside and get out and perhaps even try something that they haven’t done for a number of years or might even be a new adventure for them.
“Everyone was cooped up and it was a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy themselves.”
On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment reminded anglers that all ice fishing shelters south of Highway 16 must be removed by March 15 and the deadline in areas north of the road is March 31.
More than 250,000 anglers enjoy fishing annually in the province, according to the ministry.
People are also reminded by government officials to put safety first when going out on the ice, use caution and be aware of ice thickness before travelling on it.
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