Haldimand County Emergency Services and The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) are concerned about the increased use of frozen natural water bodies for on-ice activities like skating and ice fishing this winter. Most of these water bodies are not monitored for winter recreation and may not be safe.
Ice fishing is strongly discouraged in areas where ice conditions are not monitored. Anglers are advised to avoid areas downstream of dams and stay off the ice at the mouth of the Grand River.
While colder temperatures allow for some ice formation, daily changes in temperature, wind, precipitation and underwater currents greatly affect ice conditions. This winter has been warmer than usual, with significant fluctuations in temperatures adding to the risk. In particular, moving water can further weaken ice that may otherwise look stable on rivers and creeks.
Accessing frozen natural water bodies puts the public and Haldimand County’s first responders at risk. Anyone who falls through the ice could experience hypothermia and death before emergency services can assist them.
Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and pose a serious hazard when combined with cold, fast-moving water. Parents are encouraged to remind their children of the risks associated with these hazards and keep pets away from all water bodies.
Select Grand River Conservation Areas, including Belwood Lake, Guelph Lake, Pinehurst Lake and Shade’s Mills, monitor ice conditions. They will offer ice fishing if conditions permit. For the up-to-date status of winter activities in Grand River Conservation Areas, please visit www.grandriver.ca/activitystatus. These conservation and natural areas are subject to provincial COVID-19 guidelines, and operations may change with little notice.
Many watershed municipalities provide safe, outdoor skating and recreation options. Please visit local municipal websites for more details.
This message will remain in effect until Friday, April 1, 2022, and will be updated if necessary.
For further information, refer to GRCA’s website at www.grandriver.ca.