CARIBOU — The long, cold winter in Maine is providing a reward for the state’s outdoors lovers – more ice fishing.

The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife says ice fishing season in the northern part of Maine is extended from Saturday to April 16 because of “unusually cold weather conditions.” Gov. Paul LePage signed an emergency resolve to extend the season.

LePage, a Republican, said the extension will aid small businesses that support the recreational fishing industry.

The rule applies to waters that were open to ice fishing in northern Maine on Friday. Waters that were not open remain closed.

State wildlife officials remind anglers to continue to check the thickness of the ice before settling in.