By: Rémy Legé-Jovian
With the warmer than average start to the seaso
n, some winter hobbyists are stuck inside sipping hot cocoa. So far, this January has been 1.5 C warmer than average. It may not seem like a lot, however, it is warm enough to cause a lack of ice on the Bay of Quinte.
With the opening of the ice fishing season, the weather has been unco-operative in freezing over the bay. The combination of fast flowing rivers and warmer temperatures has greatly hindered ice-fishing enthusiasts. Finding a safe spot to set up the stool and carve out a hole is increasingly challenging for this start of season.
“The Bay of Quinte, although it is a world renowned fishery, is also some of the trickiest ice in terms of safety that you can find because of all of the rivers that feed it,” said Jeff Chisholm, operator of Hooked For Life ice fishing.
Ice fishing has always been a big part of the city of Belleville and a great tourist attraction. With the winter progressively getting colder, fishing huts are starting to pop up along the shorelines.
About 70 per cent of the lake remains unsafe. As tempting as it may be to some, it is highly recommended to be very vigilant if venturing out onto the ice.
“We’re significantly behind schedule for the time of year. Typically in the last few years, we’ve been able to get out and on the ice towards the end of December. This year it’s basically mid-January,” said Chisholm.
Any ice under 10 centimetres in thickness is considered unsafe to walk on, and 12 centimetres are required for a snowmobile or ATV. Slushy ice or ice near moving water such as rivers should be avoided.
Police are receiving reports daily of fishers and others venturing out onto the ice on the Bay of Quinte. The Belleville Police Service would like to remind everyone that ice conditions, given the recent weather, are very unstable and can be very dangerous. Local police and fire services recommend that everyone stay off the ice.