New Brunswick

Dozens of ice fishing shacks at Renforth Wharf frozen, fishers unable to fish

Ice fishermen at Renforth Wharf must jack up shacks in order to fish after snowfall results in flooding issues.

Ice-fishers must jack up shacks in order to fish after snowfall creates flooding issues

The recent heavy snowfall is creating headaches for ice fishermen at the Renforth Wharf on the Kennebecasis River in Rothesay.

Gary Gower, the president of the Renforth Ice Fishing Association, said he estimates almost three-quarters of the 125 shacks are frozen into the ice and will flood if fishermen try to drill their holes.

Ice fishing shacks at Renforth Wharf are frozen in ice after last week's massive snowfall. (Deborah Irvine Anderson)
​Gower said a group of volunteers plows the ice to remove the snow, but after more than 125 centimetres fell in three storms, they couldn’t clear it all fast enough.

"That backlogged us," he said.

"We didn’t get all the snow removed. What happens then, the weight of the snow pushes down on the ice and it creates a bowl. So all the holes that are drilled out for fishing, the water comes up on high tide and it basically acts as wick with the snow on top and it sucks the water up."

The heavy snow is creating other problems for people with ice shacks, he said.

"Now we’re into a situation where it’s frozen a lot of shacks in, so there’s people now trying to jack their shacks up to get them out of the ice," Gower said.

It took half a dozen people almost four hours to get Gower’s shack chipped out and jacked up last weekend. On Wednesday, he helped free three more shacks from the ice.

Jeff Sherwood, who lives in Kennebecasis Park and is part of the group of volunteers that clears the snow off the ice, said his shack is one of the many that were frozen.

"You just couldn’t get down here, it was just so wet and so much snow," he said.

"It looks bad, but it’s fixable. But some guys can’t even get into the door of their shack."

The frozen shacks mean the annual ice fishing derby is now postponed to Feb. 28 from Feb. 21.