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Leave Nothing but Love Behind for Our Lake

With over 110,000 lakes and over 101,000 square kilometres of water covering Manitoba, it’s no wonder that we choose to include this magnificent natural resource as a large part of our recreational activities. And in true Manitoban form, we make the most of it in all seasons while battling the elements. Enjoying the calmness and stillness of quiet nature on the rivers, lakes and shores is truly a way of life in Manitoba – even when it’s 40 below!

During a fun-filled and frozen winter, many Manitobans spend their days and nights on the lake ice fishing. Imagine bundling up in your winter snowsuit, packing some hot tea or coffee and heading out on the lake or river to find a little ice shack you will call home for a few hours. When you arrive, you crack open a cold and frozen door or pop up a portable shack and begin to make a cozy fire.

Although there is still plenty of snow on the ground and the lakes are still frozen, it won’t be long before temperatures begin to rise, the snow and ice will melt and we welcome Spring. This can surely be a bittersweet time for those who spent much of their winter ice fishing with friends on the frozen lakes, creeks and waterways of Manitoba.

It has been an average year for the amount of fish caught and many avid fishermen, women and kids alike will have to reel in temporarily as we transition seasons. While we prepare to pack up our shacks, we need to be mindful of what we are leaving behind. Which should be nothing but gratitude for Mother Earth to have provided us with a beautiful frozen playground.

Most ice fishers are conscientious of cleaning up after their days and show a great respect for nature and our water systems. Avid local fisherwoman, Kelsy Griffin, says that although most ice fishers pick up after themselves, she becomes concerned when she drives by remnants left behind. “Most people are respectful, but I’ve seen some leave their junk behind or not clean up after having fires on the lake and it’s alarming. All of that garbage will go back into our river system,” says Griffin.

Our lakes and waterways are in a state where they need all the love they can get. It is our responsibility to take action toward thinking and being Lake Friendly now, and for the future. We want to be able to continue to fish in a community where we can still eat what we catch. In summer, we want to continue to lie on sandy beaches without garbage rolling up on the shores. Ultimately we want to preserve our freshwater, our prosperity and our way of life.

According to Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, the last day is to remove ice shacks is usually March 31. However, in some cases warm weather could impact ice conditions and notices will be put up accordingly. Remember to be cautious and aware of the conditions before venturing out on to the ice and always think Lake Friendly as you enjoy the rest of our beautiful – yet cold - Manitoban winter. 

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