Manitobans have one more reason to pick up their tackle box this weekend, with the province saying fishing licences won’t be necessary between Saturday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb 15.
“The free family fishing weekend makes it easier than ever for Manitobans to get hooked on the winter tradition of ice fishing,” Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development, said in a news release.
“Manitobans are encouraged to grab a rod and reel and safely head out onto the ice to catch a good time this weekend, while exploring the many fishing opportunities this province has to offer.”
The minister noted the free fishing doesn’t apply to national parks, where a federal angling licence is still required.
Additionally, the province has decided to scrap entry fees for provincial parks through February and says vehicle permits won’t be required either.
That said, snowmobilers will still need a Snopass to use groomed trails.
With fewer recreational activities available amid the pandemic, ice fishing has seen a major uptick in popularity.
This from Eric Labaupa, president of the Filipino Anglers Association of Manitoba, who told Global News last month he’s noticed many more first-timers this season.
“So many more people have taken up the sport,” Labaupa said.
“Ice fishing is fantastic, sales are through the roof of all kinds of equipment and stuff like that so people are really getting into it.”
Over twice as many people signed up for the FAAM’s annual derby this year, Labaupa added.
Regular conservation limits and provincial regulations still apply on the free weekend, Minister Pedersen said, and referred people to the 2020 Manitoba Anglers’ Guide for details.
The temperature is expected to remain well below zero this weekend; Environment Canada puts the high for Saturday and Sunday at – 27 and – 25, respectively.
With this in mind, the province encourages people to wear appropriate clothing and let someone know where you’re going beforehand. It’s also important to check ice conditions before heading out.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) requirements remain in effect year-round as well, the details of which can be found on the province’s website.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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