OTTAWA – The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) is reminding those who take advantage of the hard water over winter, ice shacks must be off the ice by March 15.

“It’s officially March,” the MVCA released in a statement Monday (March 1). “And you know what that means: time to haul in your fishing huts, hockey nets and other on-ice gear before the ice is out.”

Building materials, benches and shovels, garbage and other waste can pollute our rivers and lakes, harm fish and wildlife and create hazards for boaters and swimmers in the spring, the MVCA said.

“Under Ontario law, eastern Ontario fishing huts must be removed by March 15,” the MVCA said. “However, as the sun gets stronger and the weather begins to warm, it’s wise to remove them sooner rather than later. If you wait too long, you may find the ice too thin to access your belongings.”

It is an offence under the Public Lands Act to leave your ice hut out after ice break up, even if that occurs before the removal deadline.

“So, take some time this week to collect your belongings, dispose of your garbage and dismantle any structures you’ve built on the ice,” the MVCA said. “Protect and respect the river that has kept you going all through the long winter months.”

For complete fishing hut regulations visit www.ontario.ca/ice-fishing.