Several sets of footprints could be seen in the snow leading out to the huts near Tudhope Park in Orillia Monday morning.

The frigid winter weather arrived early this year, so has the ice fishing season on Lake Couchiching.

“Water temps dropped earlier this year,” said ice fisherman Josh Horney. “Couchiching is one of the only lakes that is actually frozen on the other side of the road here (Lake) Simcoe is just starting to freeze up now.”

The thickness of the ice near Tudhope Park is reported to be four to seven inches in depth, but not far in the distance, there is open water.

Police say people are taking a big chance venturing out on to the ice this time of year.

Police are informing anyone who plans on taking the chance to go out on to the ice, to be prepared to save themselves because their lives will depend on it.

“It’s very important because of time, says Jason Folz of the OPP. “You don't have a lot of time when you take a swim at this time of year and emergency services are going to take a long time to get to you in a safe fashion.”

Police are also concerned that people might get the wrong idea that the ice might be safe after seeing fisherman or footprints heading out from shore.

Fishermen are wary too.

“It’s not one of these things oh there is a hut out there we can go out its safe, (because) it's not,” says Horney. “If you don't know what you are doing you should go with someone who does know what they are doing or strictly just wait till it’s safe.”

Every year, police issue the same warning to fishermen that no ice is safe ice and are extending the same warning to snowmobilers and ATV riders.