Manitobans can now take part in overnight ice fishing

Manitobans now have the opportunity to spend the night ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg this winter.

On Wednesday, the Manitoba government announced issued permits to three resource tourism operators to offer “commercial overnight accommodations on ice” on Lake Winnipeg for this upcoming winter season, which means they will be able to provide overnight ice fishing.

Matt Smith from Kannuk Outfitters, which provides guided fishing experiences, said he found out the news more than a month ago, and that the business has been preparing ever since.

“Now we’re fully licenced and permitted up to do overnights out on Lake Winnipeg,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Smith said the new permit means they can expand their business

“We’ve got a few shacks right now and two are going to be licenced for overnights,” he said,

“They’re camper-style, RV-style ice shacks, with basically an RV furnace. They’re built to code. They’re built to be warm and comfortable and safe.”

New permits to allow overnight ice fishing in Manitoba

According to the province, the permits were open to licenced tourism operators in good standing with authorization to provide angling services and operate a facility shelter on Lake Winnipeg. The operators who got the permits also needed to meet environmental, safety and recreational vehicle construction standards.

The tourism operators are required to submit location, catch and harvest data, which will be used to consider further opportunities in future winter seasons.

Smith said this announcement is important for Manitoba, and means the province is starting to catch up with other provinces and states.

“This is a way people can experience something that is gaining in popularity, just with your average angler,” he said.

He added that spending a night on Lake Winnipeg is a cool and unique experience.

“You’re basically sitting in a living room [and] ice fishing,” Smith said.

Greg Nesbitt, Minister of Natural Resources and Northern Development, said the Manitoba government is committed to supporting environmentally-sustainable tourism opportunities. He added that these permits will expand the province’s access to “world-class winter experiences,” which is a priority of Manitoba’s tourism strategy.

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