Use caution if venturing onto lake ice in South Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Use caution if venturing onto lake ice in South Okanagan

The shoreline of Skaha Lake in the South Okanagan only recently began freezing following a milder than normal December and January. North winds accompanying the cold weather has also worked to break up lake ice on the larger lakes before it can fully form.
February 15, 2019 - 3:00 PM

PENTICTON - The recent cold weather may be enticing outdoor enthusiasts to venture out on frozen lakes and ponds, but extreme caution is being advised thanks to the unseasonably mild winter experienced in the South Okanagan up until a few weeks ago.

Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon says December and January temperatures were warmer than normal, and it wasn’t until the first arctic air of the season arrived with the onset of February that consistent below freezing temperatures were taking place. He believes it is likely local lakes have been slower to freeze as a result.

An upcoming family ice fishing day planned for Yellow Lake in the South Okanagan was cancelled this year because organizers feared the ice wouldn’t be thick enough.

Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations fish biologist Eric Hegerat said this year’s ice formation on local lakes was so late, volunteers planning the Family Day fishing event had to make the call to cancel it.

“Right now, it’s probably still a little bit questionable whether it would be safe to host an event like that,” he said.

Hegerat said while he hasn’t been out on many lakes recently, he would anticipate there is less ice than in past years, especially at lower elevations.

“I would suggest people use caution.”

A spokesperson for Freshwater Fisheries of B.C. said the organizing groups hope to have the fishing event back for 2020.

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