By Terri Mackinnon
5 Safety Tips for Ice Fishing
1. Don’t panic: First thing… You have broken through the ice... now what? Don’t grab the side of the ledge, the last thing you want to do is break the edges. The ice around the side of the whole will help you to get out if you use your arms and only latch them onto the ice around the rim with your legs kick as hard as you can and start to roll your way onto the ledge. (If you have your emergency kit change your clothing). Head back to shore in the same direction that you walked in (do NOT go off this track in case hypothermia sets in). If you’re helping someone else who has fallen in, lay down flat and use a rope, pole, stick (or your hands) as a last resort, to reach the person (preferably in a human chain with others if possible.)
2. Ice fishing is NOT A ONE PERSON SPORT!!!! Never ice fish alone and always let people on land know where you and your fishing party are going.
3. Make sure that you test the ice with an auger to accurately gauge its depth before you fish or drive on it.
4. Properly equip yourself with a cell phone, extra clothing, blankets, a first-aid kit
5. Drinking and Ice Fishing don’t mix… they are a recipe for disaster.
Ice fishing is far safer on smaller bodies of water. If you hear loud cracks, see or sense conditions you feel uncomfortable then use that good judgment and you will know that you will be able to enjoy another day. Hypothermia or frostbite can be avoided. Dressing properly in layered clothing to enjoy the great outdoors fishing at its hottest it’s not worth missing. Don’t forget your life jacket… You may be on solid ground, but remember your actually walking on water.
TIP: Consider wearing a life jacket. And always dress in warm layers to protect yourself from the cold. Remember, you don’t need to fall in to get frostbite or hypothermia. By layering clothing as weather changes you are able to remove articles of clothing to help control your body temperature Before you go out onto the ice make sure with the local area region that the waterway is safe to be on. A variety of factors may influence the condition of the ice such as currents and snowfall.
Most of the recommendations have been as follows:
· 4 inches and under – Stay off Ice
· 4 and 6 inches thick, ice is usually safe for ice fishing by foot, so long as anglers are spaced apart and travel in single file lines. (Do not put multiple holes within 20ft of each other)
· 6 and 10 inches thick is typically safe for driving ATVs and snow machines
· 10 inches thick for small vehicles
· 16 inches thick for medium-sized vehicles Prepare an exit strategy if you are going to drive on ice – always make sure that you remember to keep your windows
Ice fishing remaining safe
ICE FISHING WHERE AND HOW?