Winter sportfishing season opens New Year’s Day

Ice fishing

Winter sportfishing provides an opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy many lakes and waterways across Nova Scotia beginning Monday, January 1.

“Getting outside at this time of year is fun for established anglers and those discovering sportfishing for the first time,” said Kent Smith, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Whatever your skill level, and whether you fish by yourself or with others, safety should always be top of mind.”

Freshwater species in the areas open for winter sportfishing include brook and rainbow trout, white and yellow perch, smallmouth bass and chain pickerel. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture stocks lakes with trout from three provincial hatcheries to support the season.

A general fishing licence is needed for this activity, except for the annual winter sportfishing weekend, which is February 17-19 in 2024.

Ways to stay safe during winter sportfishing include:

• monitoring weather conditions
• checking ice thickness before fishing on a frozen lake
• wearing a flotation device as appropriate, including when fishing from a boat
• dressing in layers to stay warm and dry
• anglers should also tell someone where they will be fishing and when they plan to be back.