Just how old does an angler have to be to go ice fishing? If you happen to live in Saskatchewan, there is now a precedent for no minimum age whatsoever. This came about after an incident in March when an ice fisherman, Jack Pick, was ticketed for dipping four lines into Turtle Lake. According to the CBC, regulations only allow an angler two lines at a time, but the man claimed that the extra pair were for his daughter, who was beside him at the time. The conservation officer who ticketed Pick stood by the ticket, claiming that the three-year-old girl was too young to be able to ice fish. Pick then took the ticket to provincial court and won.
“Just because an individual is three years of age, and does not have the ability to do everything required when fishing, it does not mean that he or she cannot legally fish,” Judge Dan O’Hanlon wrote in his ruling.
The Star Pheonix reported that O’Hanlon found nothing in the regulations that required minors to be able to set, maintain, and retrieve fish on their own before being allowed to fish. Just like adults, children are not required to have certain degree of skill or experience before dipping their lines, so O’Hanlon found no reason why the three-year-old should not be able to fish. In Canda, minors under the age of 16 do not have to obtain a fishing license and in Saskatchewan, any fish that children catch do not have to be included in the supervising adult’s quota. In fact, like many agencies elsewhere, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment actively encourages parents to introduce their kids to fishing. So much so that Pick submitted a publication of the agency, the 2014 Saskatchewan Angler’s Guide, as evidence.
The cover of the the publication showed a male angler helping a young girl with the basics of fishing, an interesting parallel to Pick’s own case.
“It is notable that the cover picture chosen for this publication is of what appears to be a father baiting or tying a hook on the fishing rod and line held by his young daughter,” O’Hanlon said.
Pick was found not guilty of the charge, and the ticket was thrown out.
What do you think? Is it ridiculous to say someone is too young to fish? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service