Saturday, November 29, 2014

NB Ice Fishing - To buy a license or not?

Ice Fishing is a major recreational sport in most of Canada and the northern States of the U.S., a boon to the local economies and in some ways even more popular than 'soft water' fishing.   Now that we are on the verge of our annual freeze, it is time once again to consider wether or not it is worth it to pay the $22.60 for a license that is of questionable use.

NB Ice Fishing Regulations

Here in Quispamsis, the ice fishing license grants us access to a couple of close by and interesting pickerel ponds such  as McManus Lake and Oram Lake.   There is of course Fisher Lakes in the city of Saint John and a couple of others, but those are not lakes I'd be likely to fish should they were free, let alone having to pay for the right to do so.   Really there is very little incentive to purchase a license for ice fishing for those of here, which is a shame.

In other areas of New Brunswick, the situation may be different and there may be more viable fishing waters available.    For folk living in those areas it may of course may perfect sense to get a license; especially if they live a considerable distance from tidal waters.   Check the ice fishing regulation in the link above to see what waters are available in your area. 

Here is the rare blue yellow perch my friend John Cail caught Ice Fishing last year in tidal waters!

 Of course, this does not mean that us in the Greater Saint John Area will not have a great ice fishing season ahead of us, it is just that our season will be on tidal waters.   Smelt (and the ever famous ice shack communities) is the main draw, though the tidal portions of the river also offer pickerel, burbot, perch and as I found out last year - the rare shark!    There is more than enough enjoyment to be had on the ice in tidal water to keep one happy in the ice fishing season along the Saint John and Kennebacasis Rivers.

I contacted the NB Department of Natural Resources to inquire about rumors that more ponds will be opened to ice anglers.   I was very happy to get a detailed and informative response.  There are 77 additional lakes and ponds in NB that DNR wishes to have open to ice fishing, however they are not able to do so without an amendment to legislation at the Federal Level.   DNR is working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to get an amendment passed which will then allow DNR to open these waters.   Unfortunately, I was told that the amendment is stalled at DFO and that I should contact my MP and DFO to find out more.

I sent e-mails to Rob Moore (our MP) and to the Minister at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to ask about this amendment, it's current status and any anticipated updates.    If getting these waters opened to ice fishing is important to you, then I urge you to do the same.  Hopefully I'll hear something hopeful back, and if I do I will post it here.   Though given the traditional speed at which Canadian Federal Agencies work, I'm not holding my breath.

I'll gladly buy my Ice Fishing License when these waters are opened in New Brunswick, but not before.   Hopefully, if enough people speak up and request information on what is taking the process so long, things may suddenly move forward!

The 77 new waters that are proposed to be opened for ice fishing are:

Lake or Pond County
Amelia Lake York
Big Duck Lake York
Big Kedron Lake York
Clear Lake York
Davidson Lake York
Deer Lake York
East Brook Lake York
First Lake York
Indian Lake York
Kilburn Lake York
Lake George York
Lily Lake York
Little Lake York
Little Magaguadavic Lake York
Magaguadavic Lake York
McAdam Pond York
Mud Lake York
Napadogan Lake York
Second Eel Lake York
Second Harvey Lake York
Shogomoc Lake York
Skiff Lake York
Taffy Lake York
Third Eel Lake York
Peltoma Lake Sunbury
Arnold Lake Saint John
Bradley Lakes Saint John
Dolan Lake Saint John
Nelson Lake Saint John
Perch Lake Saint John
Quinn Lake Saint John
Round Lake Saint John
Taylor Lake Saint John
Theobald Lake Saint John
Treadwell Lake Saint John
First Portage Lake Restigouche
Hailes Brook Lake Restigouche
Prichard Lake Restigouche
Smith Lake Restigouche
Stillwater Brook Lake Restigouche
Lower Lake Queens 
Trout Lake Queens 
Upsalquitch Lake Northumberland
McKendrick Lake Northumberland
Mullin Stream Lake Northumberland
Whitney Pond Northumberland
Bates Lake Kings
Belvidere Lake Kings
Cassidy Lake Kings
Clark Lake Kings
Jenkins Lake Kings
Mechanic Lake Kings
Pickett Lake Kings
Ritchie Lake Kings
Unnamed (Crocketts Corner Pond) Kings
Waltons Lake Kings
Williams Lake Kings
Bass River Lake Gloucester
Lac St-Coeur Gloucester
Boone Lake Charlotte
Cranberry Lake Charlotte
Cundy Lake Charlotte
Digdeguash Lake Charlotte
Gibson Lake Charlotte
Goldsmiths Lake Charlotte
Little Long Lake Charlotte
Little McDougall Lake Charlotte
McDougall Lake Charlotte
Ormond Lake Charlotte
Red Rock Lake Charlotte
Sparks Lake Charlotte
Stein Lake Charlotte
Trout Lake Charlotte
Victoria Lake Charlotte
Wheaton Lake Charlotte
Greens Lake Carleton
Nashwaak Lake Carleton


  1. Wondering if you ever ended up buying a fishing license?

  2. If you're interested in ice fishing gear check it out

  3. Awesome photos. Ice fishing rocks!