While an arctic air mass drove many into bunker mode over the weekend, there are people in Saskatchewan rejoicing over the frigid conditions.
Brian Dygbala, manager of The Fishin’ Hole store, said the rapid drop in temperatures has finally allowed people to get out ice fishing.
“Last weekend I literally had guys that were still fishing in boats. This weekend, as of yesterday, one of my staff was out on Blackstrap Lake and it had 10 inches of ice on it,” he said.
Dygbala said last year people were already out with their augers by the end of November, but this year saw the season pushed back by unseasonably warm temperatures prior to the cold snap.
“If we would have got like, -10 C weather instead of -16 to -20 C, guys would still just be inching out onto the lakes right now,” he said.
With the cold weather causing many to reach for their fishing rods or snowmobile keys, the provincial Ministry of Environment has issued a warning urging people to check the thickness of all this new ice.
In a release issued Monday, ministry officials said ice should be at least 10 cm thick before walking on it.
For snowmobiling, ice should be at least 15 cm thick and ice should be at least 20 cm thick to drive a car or light truck on. For heavy trucks, the ministry recommended waiting until ice is at least 30 cm thick.
The ministry also warned thickness alone isn’t the sole measure of ice safety. They urged people to avoid ice that:
- is slushy in appearance;
- has thawed then froze again;
- is near moving water;
- is layered, caused by sudden temperature changes; and
- has structures on it, such as pressure ridges.