If you’re an ice fisherman, you’ve been itching to get back out on the ice ever since your favorite honey hole opened up last spring. And we can’t blame you. But remember, safety is key. So it’s important to keep these tips in mind while ice fishing—especially during early or late ice:
- Regardless of what you’ve heard, naturally occurring ice is never 100% safe.
- Don’t venture out alone. If possible, fish with a buddy.
- For foot travel, 4” of ice or greater is recommended.
- For snowmobile or ATV use, 5” of ice or greater is recommended.
- For a car or small SUV, 8–12” of ice is recommended.
- For a mid-sized truck, 12–15” of ice is recommended.
- If traveling on foot, wear a life jacket. (Due not, however, wear one when traveling in an enclosed vehicle.)
- Crampons add much-needed traction to footwear.
- Carry an ice chisel and test the ice before every step you take.
- Keep a pair of ice picks at the ready.
- Pack a whistle and a throw rope for emergency situations.
- If traveling in an enclosed vehicle, remove your seat belt and keep your window rolled down.
No fish—no matter the size—is worth risking your safety. So make sure you have the proper safety equipment before taking to the ice. Now with that said, here’s to a safe and successful ice fishing season!