Don’t be lured into unsafe territory: OPP
MARK WANZEL/SPECIAL TO POSTMEDIA NETWORK Just because anglers are heading out on the ice on area lakes doesn't mean it's safe.
With the past few days of rain and mild weather, people are being urged to exercise caution when venturing onto the ice, where they could encounter dangerous conditions.
“The weather conditions have certainly changed and the same message goes out. People are making poor decisions,” said OPP Sgt. Lise Grenier.
“We’ve had a lot more snow this year than I think we’ve had in the past. Normally, our winters don’t start until January, but since November, we’ve had a lot of snow and thaws and more snow,” she said. “With the cold weather, it gives people the idea that the ice is getting stronger and can hold snowmobilers and riders, when, in fact, it won’t.”
Grenier said unless people are familiar with ice conditions, they’d be wise to stay off the ice.
“There could be areas that are safe, that have thick ice,” she said. “But other areas with running water near rocks and islands won’t be safe. There has been a lot of melting that has taken place. You really have to watch the weather and look on the websites.
“That’s one of the messages: No ice is safe ice. It doesn’t really matter what time of year.”
Alex Dutfield, of Trombly’s Tackle Box in Orillia, agreed.
“I’ve been out this year, but I know the ice is unsteady and I don’t encourage anyone to go out there,” he said. “The ice can change. From here to there, it can be 10 inches in one place and one inch somewhere else.”
Off Tudhope Park three weeks ago, there was about seven inches of ice in about nine or 10 feet of water, Dutfield said, adding anglers were also dropping a line off Airport Road and Cumberland Beach.
“Those are the three most common spots we’ve heard of so far this year,” he said. “With the last couple of days, we’re going to have lots of slush and water built up on the lake with all the snow that was there.
“But the next couple of nights, it should harden up again and be nice and easy to walk on. It’ll be nice to get a good deep freeze and click it together and hold for a while.”
But as anglers head out, constantly investigating the ice thickness is a must, he added.
“It’s good to have the floater suit, the spud bar to check the ice thickness every little bit, and the ice picks,” Dutfield said.