Manitobans urged to use caution on ice, when using fishing equipment: natural resources minister – Winnipeg |

Manitobans are being encouraged to take precautions when heading into the great outdoors, as the province’s wacky weather means lakes and rivers may not have safe ice conditions.

Natural resources minister Jamie Moses said Friday that ice is still forming at this time of year in southern Manitoba, and could be dangerous.

“Manitoba has a lot to offer for those who enjoy winter activities like ice fishing, cross-country skiing and ice skating on our waterbodies, especially with the recent mild weather conditions,” he said.

“We want to remind people to keep themselves and their families safe by thoroughly checking ice conditions, and by following local municipal rules, before they venture onto lakes and rivers.”

Ice thickness, Moses said, can vary from one location to the next, so it’s best to check conditions every time if you’re traveling from place to place.

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Click to play video: 'Aquatic invasive species in Lake Winnipeg'

Aquatic invasive species in Lake Winnipeg

Manitoba officials are also urging residents and visitors to proactively help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels, which have become a scourge in many parts of the province.

“Winter does not prevent zebra mussels and other invasive species from spreading,” Moses said. “It’s important to remove aquatic plants from water-related equipment, and to clean, drain and dry fishing gear before moving from one body of water to another.”

The minister said fishing gear should be exposed to temperatures below -10C for three consecutive before it can be safely moved to another body of water.

Click to play video: 'Zebra mussels found in Clear Lake, Man., raising concerns about spread of invasive species'

Zebra mussels found in Clear Lake, Man., raising concerns about spread of invasive species

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