If you don’t want to put your fishing gear in moth balls ’til spring, you can always head out to the lake and do some ice fishing. Just like other winter activities -Read Tips on How to Stay Safe While You’re Ice Skating on a Lake or Pond – that involve being on frozen lakes or ponds, you need to be careful. Read this informative article and learn some valuable tips on how to stay safe while you’re ice fishing!
Tip #1- Pack Up Some Basic Necessities That Can Rescue You
You’re probably thinking of packing up your ice fishing gear, some food and hot drinks, but what about taking some equipment that can actually save your life? Don’t forget to take: first aid kit; loud whistle; cell phone; fire starter; compass- so you can find your way at night or in a snow storm; ice bar- to poke the ice ahead of you to check its strength; pair of ice cleats for your boots; coil of strong rope, at least 20 feet long, and a floatation device such as a life jacket or a buoyant snowmobile suit when you go ice fishing.
Tip #2- Think “Waterproof”
Another tip on how to stay safe while you’re ice fishing is to make sure your clothing and supplies are waterproof. Wearing clothing- even gloves- that protects you from moisture will help keep you dry, warm, and free from frostbite. Using supplies such as a first aid kit in a sealed case that floats, for example, will mean your equipment is protected from water damage.
An easy way to help protect your supplies that can be damaged by water when you’re ice fishing is to place them in sealable plastic bags. You can also buy waterproof containers.
Tip #3- Leave Heavy Vehicles On the Shore When You’re Ice Fishing, But If You Do Drive On the Ice…
The ice should be at least 8 to 12 inches thick to support a car or small pickup truck. It needs to be at least 12 to 15 inches thick to hold a medium-size truck or van.
Don’t drive on the ice at night or during a snow storm. Have an escape plan in case the vehicle breaks through the ice. Roll the windows down and leave your door ajar. Don’t wear your seat belt or a life jacket. These can hinder your escape.
Tip #4- Leave the Beer and Other Alcohol at Home While Ice Fishing
You may enjoy drinking a cold brewski while you’re relaxing, but while you’re ice fishing isn’t the right time. Besides impairing your judgment and coordination, alcohol lowers your core body temperature. That means, even though drinking beer, wine, hard liquors, et cetera, may give you a warm tingly feeling, your risk of
hypothermia actually increases.
Tip #5- Check the Thickness of the Ice in Various Spots and Watch for Telltale Danger Signs
As you move across the lake or pond to go ice fishing, stop and use an ice auger to measure the thickness of the ice. Ice that’s at least 4 inches thick should safely hold an average-size person. But, watch for holes, underwater currents, springs and cracks. Stay away from black ice. It has started to thaw and is weak. Ice that’s clear and newly formed is the safest.
Tip #6 – Practice the “Buddy System”
Another tip on how to stay safe while you’re ice fishing is to always take a friend along with you. That way, you can look out for each other and provide help when it’s needed.