Our province has announced free ice fishing this long weekend.

Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources Minister Jamie Moses says from Saturday to Monday, anglers may fish without a license in the province, except in national parks where a federal angling license is still required.

Anglers must still follow all possession limits and size restrictions during this weekend including regulations for specific individual waters.

"This is a great opportunity to experience ice fishing as an enjoyable recreational activity and we are fortunate to have endless quality opportunities across Manitoba to drop a line in the water," says Moses. "This winter has been milder than usual and while cooler temperatures have returned to Manitoba, we encourage everyone to check ice and weather conditions before travelling onto the ice."

Moses says to ensure ice fishing is safe and enjoyable, anglers should wear weather-appropriate clothing and tell someone where they will be fishing.

In addition to the Winter Family Fishing Weekend, the Manitoba government is also offering free entry into provincial parks during the month of February. Vehicle permits are not required but Snopasses are still required for snowmobiles using groomed trails in the parks. 

Anglers are also reminded to clean, drain and dry their ice-fishing gear to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS). 

Anglers cannot remove live bait from aquatic invasive species control zones and retain for future use. Bait taken into an AIS control zone must be discarded before leaving shore if it:

  • is live bait;
  • has been handled (for example, hooked); or
  • has come into contact with surface water from the control zone.

The requirements apply even with a valid three-day live bait fish transfer and use receipt. Additionally, all water from bait containers must be drained on land before leaving the shore.