There are many times out on the ice where people forget their sportsmanship and general fishing etiquette. Whether you are a beginner in the ice fishing world or a seasoned Angler I hope this article will give you some tips to follow to make everyone’s experience out on the ice a bit better especially your own. Yes ice fishing can be cold, yes it can be a lot of work but there is truly nothing better then being out there on the ice in the middle of nature!
Marking Your Hole
Did you know Anglers could be charged with manslaughter for not properly marking their ice fishing holes. Marking your hole when you are done isn’t just a polite thing to do it is actually mandatory according to a provision in the Criminal Code of Canada. Section 263 of the Criminal Code says anyone “who makes or causes to be made an opening in ice that is open to or frequented by the public is under a legal duty to guard it in a manner that is adequate to prevent persons from falling in by accident and is adequate to warn them that the opening exists.” Next time you abandon your ice fishing hole, make sure you clearly mark it with with a large branch or any other object that is visible from a far.
Here Is The Criminal Code Section:
Duty to safeguard opening in ice
263 (1) Everyone who makes or causes to be made an opening in ice that is open to or frequented by the public is under a legal duty to guard it in a manner that is adequate to prevent persons from falling in by accident and is adequate to warn them that the opening exists.”
Marginal note: Excavation on land
(2) Everyone who leaves an excavation on land that he owns or of which he has charge or supervision is under a legal duty to guard it in a manner that is adequate to prevent persons from falling in by accident and is adequate to warm them that the excavation exists.”
Marginal note: offences
(3) Everyone who fails to preform a duty imposed by subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of
(a) Manslaughter, if the death of any person results therefrom;
(b) An offence under Section 269, if bodily harm to any person results therefrom; or
(c) An offence punishable on summary conviction.
Clean Up Your Trash
This one should really go without saying but unfortunately some people think that this rule does not apply to them. This means leave no trace and pack out what you pack in. Take all wrappers, cans, line, worm containers and even cigarette butts out. Yes that all needs to go other wise come spring time this all goes into the bottom of the lake. I personally always pack a garbage bag when we go fishing, hard water as well as open water. It takes up such little room to pack and then it is convenient and easy to collect all our garbage as well as other garbage left behind from others. A good rule of thumb I like to follow is to try and leave your spot cleaner then when you got there!
Keep Your Distance
Don’t arrive at the lake and then set up your tent in an area where others are are already set up. Consider your distance out of courtesy to your fellow anglers. People definitely do not enjoy being all cramped up together out there on the ice especially when they are trying to fish in peace. I know it can be cold out on the ice but that doesn’t mean we have to all cuddle up together out there!
Be Mindful Of Peoples Drilled Holes
This is another one that should go with out saying but please use common sense when you are out on the ice. If there is an angler out there and they have their holes drilled, don’t venture too close and start drilling holes next to theirs or even worse go and start using them. They may be changing their tip ups or using a different hole in the meantime but don’t assume they are done with it. If the holes are abandoned then by all means go for it but if the anglers are still there let’s be respectful of their area. Some people can be lazy and not wanting to drill their own holes, lets face it it is hard work especially with a hand auger through 22 inches of ice (I did that the other day and my arms are still on fire) but be courteous of other people so everyone can enjoy their ice fishing adventure!
In conclusion etiquette is important in any sport, hobby and everyday life. It is such a vital part of the society that we live in. So let’s treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves. Ice fishing is such a wonderful sport that so many of us Anglers enjoy and love so let’s keep it that way by following these few simple rules to make it enjoyable for everyone!