End of the ice fishing season

The ice fishing season is coming to a close, and we hope that you have had a great season so far, catching a variety of the numerous species we have in the Ottawa River.

As the Ottawa River is also the provincial boundary between Ontario and Quebec for some 600 kilometres, there are different authorities regulating ice fishing depending on what side of the river you are on.

In Ontario, the Ottawa River is monitored by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and is part of Fisheries Management Zone 12 (FMZ12). Ice huts below Lake Timiskaming dam must be off the ice by March 15th this year, while ice huts above Lake Timiskaming dam must be off the ice by March 31st. All ice huts must be removed before ice breakup, even if no removal date applies. You can find more information about Fisheries Management Zones here and the ice fishing periods for the zones here.

In Quebec, the Ottawa River is monitored by the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and is predominantly a part of Zone 25, with some sections in Zone 8 and Zone 10. Within these zones, ice huts in the province of Quebec must be removed from the ice by March 31st. You can find out more information about what Zone you fall into by observing the maps found at this link. The ice fishing period for the various zones in Quebec can be found here.

Ice huts left on the ice can become obstacles to navigation once the ice melts and contribute to pollution. Please be respectful and mindful of your environment and ensure that no garbage or debris is left behind when you remove your ice hut. Whatever garbage is left on the ice will make its way into the water once the ice melts and may become a source of fish habitat degradation.

Always be aware of the ice conditions in your area before you go out on the ice. Consult local authorities on ice conditions and make sure you review the Canadian Red Cross’s ice safety tips.

Reporting Ice Hut Issues

Ontario: In Ontario, ice huts have to be registered with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry with the registration number posted on the outside of the hut. Call MNR at 1-877-847-7667 and report the registration number of the hut and its location.

Quebec: Ice huts are not registered in Quebec. Issues can be reported to SOS Poaching at 1-800-463-2191. The more information you have about the location and owner of the hut, the better.