As Old Man Winter roars in with his cold blasts of arctic air fishermen eagerly await the process of growing ice on lakes and ponds over much of the midwest.
As many anglers are starting to get out for the popular early ice fishing season thoughts should be on safety before traveling on early fishing season ice.
“Many of us can’t wait to get out on the ice each winter,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Ice fishing is a fun, inexpensive activity for anglers of all ages to get outdoors and avoid cabin fever.”
The DNR recommends a minimum of four inches of clear ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.
“Check ice thickness as you make your way to your favorite fishing spot,” Larscheid said. “Ice conditions change constantly and its thickness can vary across the lake. Trust your instincts – if the ice does not look right, don’t go out.”
Early season ice offers an incredible possibility for fishing success. If fish are finicky, we suggest cutting a progression of ice fishing holes and spend at least 15 minutes fishing each ice hole. Fishing with small live bait or small artificial ice fishing lures and light-weight ice fishing line are all good ice fishing advice.
7 Top Ice Fishing Safety Tips on The Ice
- No ice is 100 percent safe.
- New ice is usually stronger than old ice.
- Don’t go out alone – if the worst should happen, someone will be there to call for help or to help rescue.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
- Check ice thickness as you go out – there could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed.
- Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
- The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.