A Comprehensive Guide to Ice Fishing Safety
Ice Fishing is a fun and social winter activity and a pastime for many of us here in the Midwest United States. The Frozen lakes and Rivers become places to explore for outdoor enthusiasts looking for Winter adventures. However, with the joys of ice fishing also comes Ice Safety and responsibility. In this guide, seasoned ice angler Jason Brenic sheds light on the importance of Ice Fishing Safety to ensure that your future ice fishing trips are enjoyable and safe.
Consider the Thickness of the Ice
When it comes to the ice, you must have both respect and understanding. The first thing that anglers should consider before venturing out on the Ice is the thickness. No ice is ever completely safe, but thickness is a crucial factor in determining its ability to hold weight. Always check the thickness before venturing onto the ice. The graphic below can be used as a loose guide on ice thickness.
Prepare Items to Keep Ice Fishing Safety
Ice fishing demands specific safety gear to avoid potential risks. There are a few tools that I always keep handy when venturing on the ice, especially early and late in the season when the ice is most unstable.
● Piscifun ICX Insulated Flotation Ice Suit
● Spud Bar
● Rope and Throwable Flotation
● Ice Picks
Having these safety items and more will ensure that if something does go wrong, you are able to get out safely.
Pay Attention to Ice Cracks
It's critical for every body of water to pay attention to what the ice is telling us. Cracks, changes in ice color, and slush are all warning signs that should be taken seriously by ice anglers. If you see or hear any of these signs, it's important to pay close attention to your surrounding area and take the next steps. Not all cracks are dangerous, but all should be navigated carefully.
Go Ice Fishing With a Buddy
If at all possible, it is always a good idea to have a buddy on the ice with you. While I understand that many of us do ice fishing solo (me included), it is always a great idea to bring a buddy with you if you can. In the event that something happens, it is ideal to have someone there who can help or contact emergency services.
Be Aware of the Weather Forecast
Weather conditions can play a significant role in ice fishing safety. Sudden changes in temperature, strong winds, or heavy snowfall can drastically impact the ice conditions in a short period of time. Be sure to take extra precautions on the ice during these weather events. Being aware of the weather forecast allows you to plan accordingly and make smart decisions about your ice fishing trip.
I've noticed this often in most Winter sports, and Ice Fishing is no different. When it's cold outside, people very often forget to take care of their hydration. The cold can be deceptive and make you "feel" as if you aren't thirsty, but you still need to drink water and stay hydrated. Ice fishing is a social activity, and as anglers, we share a responsibility for each other's safety. I encourage you to be vigilant in all situations and ensure that not only you but everyone around you is as safe as possible.