New Brunswickers can try ice fishing without licence on Family Day Weekend

Click to play video: 'Casting a line on Family Day Weekend'
Casting a line on Family Day Weekend
WATCH: For New Brunswick families looking for ways to get out of the house, ice fishing just became a little easier to try. The provincial government has waived the requirement to have a fishing licence to cast a line on the long weekend – Feb 20, 2022

New Brunswick families looking to get out of the house this long weekend can take advantage of the province waiving fishing licence requirements.

Dubbed ‘Fish NB Days’, the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources is offering a free trial to fish provincewide, no licence or guide needed.

“It’s a really good opportunity for folks who have wanted to try it,” said Mike Holland, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development.

“A lot of folks say, ‘Do I want to get a licence or not?’ This way, you (can go ahead).”

A licence is not enquired to fish on tidal waters, so the ice fishing hotspot off Renforth Wharf in Rothesay is a great spot for casual casting. However, a licence at other spots can cost $10 to $138 depending on age and the type of fish.

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Landon Hatfield, 6, who was out on the frozen Kennebecasis River with his sister, mom, aunt and grandparents, told Global News patience is key.

“I feel stuff (on the line) but it just keeps swimming away,” he said.

About two hours into the excursion, he wasn’t optimistic his luck would turn around. When asked how many fish he thought he would catch by the end of the day, he simply said,“zero.”

A couple of shacks down, Mike and Caroline Trueman were reeling them in. With over 20 years’ experience in the sport, Mike had a few tricks up his sleeve.

“It’s the thing to do in the wintertime,” he said. “This gets you outside to enjoy the New Brunswick outdoors.”

Over the years, they’ve found ways to make the hobby even more enjoyable: sitting inside a custom-built wooden shack, on plush recliners beside a ceramic wood stove.

They had music playing and hot chocolate on the go. And it was not hard to see how they’re able to turn their friends and family into ice fishing fans.

“At first they’re a little apprehensive,” Caroline said. “After they get their first fish, I say they’re hooked.”

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Minister Holland said feedback has been overwhelmingly positive since Fish NB Days began in 2019.

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