The season is quickly coming to a close for ice fishing in Saskatchewan.

This year was a good one for drilling holes and dropping lines, as the winter quicked off with a faster freeze than usual. This led to a quicker ice buildup on water surfaces, allowing ice shacks to be set up sooner rather than later.

Darell Stan, a conservation officer with the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, saw plenty of angling enthusiasts enjoying recreational fishing responsibly and legally during the 2022/2023 season. 

"They experienced both bad and good days," noted Stan. "Obviously, mainly due to weather conditions in the snowfall."

Anglers must pack up for the season today, as it is the last day to remove ice shacks off the ice south of Highway 16. Closing it down today helps to ensure that shacks don't end up falling through the ice, incurring penalties for those who fail to bring them back in. 

"It's littering, for one," pointed out Stan. "Plus, the hazards of lumber, for example, and other debris floating on the lake for people enjoying water sports, fishing, skiing, that type of stuff in the summertime. So it is a concern." 

No year is perfect, with there being incidents surrounding any public activity. Ice fishing is no different, with this and other recent years seeing plenty of folks being written up for drinking out on the ice and for failing to produce a copy of their anglers license. 

"You have to carry a copy of it when you're out angling," Stan asserted. "The onus is on the angular to provide that, and there are several ways they could. Either with a paper copy or a copy on your phone, either will be fine."

Some of the more significant events here in the southwest were a pair of brand-new fishing tournaments. One being the derby held by the Cabri Lions Club, and the other being hosted at Lac Pelletier by CMX Outdoors. 

"Both events were big successes, a lot of families and lots of kids out fishing where everybody had a great day," said Stan. "So we're looking forward to a few more of those coming up in the next season."

Plenty of fish was caught throughout the season, but it did slow down toward the end. As winter goes on, the fish themselves become more and more lethargic. Lethargic fish are less likely to gobble a bobber. 

"That's just the way it is," Stan ended. "The actual angling successes deteriorated, but there were good days and bad days again depending on weather and depending on areas."