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GRCA asking residents to stay off frozen bodies of water

Stating most are not monitored for the purpose of winter recreation and may not be safe
122217-thin ice-AdobeStock_145631471
(stock photo)

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and municipal emergency response agencies throughout the watershed are concerned about the increased use of frozen natural water bodies for on-ice activities such as skating and ice fishing this winter. Most of these water bodies are not monitored for the purpose of winter recreation and may not be safe.

Ice fishing is strongly discouraged in areas where ice conditions are not monitored. Anglers are advised to avoid areas downstream of dams and stay off the ice at the mouth of the Grand River.

While colder temperatures allow for some ice formation, daily changes in temperature, wind, precipitation and underwater currents greatly affect ice conditions. This winter has been warmer than usual, with significant fluctuations in temperatures, adding to the risk. On rivers and creeks in particular, moving water can further weaken ice that may otherwise look stable.

Accessing frozen natural water bodies puts both the public and municipal first responders at risk. Anyone who falls through the ice could experience hypothermia and death before emergency services are able to provide assistance.

Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and, when combined with cold, fast-moving water, pose a serious hazard. Parents are encouraged to remind their children of the risks associated with these hazards and keep pets away from all water bodies.

Select Grand River Conservation Areas, including Belwood Lake, Guelph Lake, Pinehurst Lake and Shade’s Mills are monitoring ice conditions and will offer ice fishing if conditions permit. For up-to-date status of winter activities in Grand River Conservation Areas, visit These conservation areas are subject to provincial COVID-19 guidelines, and operations may change with little notice.

Many watershed municipalities provide safe outdoor skating and recreation options. Please visit local municipal websites for more details.

This message will remain in effect until Friday, April 1, 2022 and will be updated if necessary.

More information


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