Anglers are allowed to use and stay overnight in an ice hut while out on the lake, but only with certain conditions to keep residents as safe as possible from COVID-19.

Detachment Commander of the Kenora OPP, Jeff Duggan, explains.

“If the ice hut is rented then no you cannot stay overnight. If it is private and you are using it yourself or with members from the same household, I would say you are fine.”

This comes as reports had said ice anglers wouldn’t be allowed to use their ice huts in the Thunder Bay area overnight. But earlier this month, Duggan explained the Kenora OPP are opting to use a three-phase approach to Ontario’s stay-at-home orders, in effect until February 11 at the earliest.

Duggan says that includes education, discretion, and then enforcement if required. Enforcement would include being issued a provincial offence notice with set fines, ranging from about $200 to $1,000. Duggan says police had only handed out one offence since the pandemic began.

“If our officers are out on-patrol, they see a group of ice fishermen, and there's eight of them. Then, we’re going to stop. We're going to talk to them. We're going to educate them on what the law is. We're going to ask them to separate and put a mask on, and that’s probably going to be the end of it,” he said. 

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says ice fishing is allowed, as it’s considered to be exercising an Indigenous Treaty right. But you’re asked to only go out with those you live with, under the required 5 people or less, and to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, should self-isolate and get tested and remain in isolation until your results are known. 

For more information:
OPP: Police can’t stop you from leaving your home
Ice fishing allowed, with conditions