Ice Fishing Safety Tips For Winter
Heeding a few ice fishing safety tips for winter will both hedge the risk of this popular sport and allow you peace of mind as you head out on the water. Though not generally thought of as an extreme sport, the consequences of not practicing ice fishing safety tips can, in some cases, be pretty extreme themselves. The simple fact is that the human body isn’t designed to deal with cold temperatures in combination with wetness. In order to keep that potentially deadly combo from happening to you, practice the following ice fishing safety tips.
- Learn how to use ice fishing tools. Whether you plan on using a motor powered auger, a manual auger or even an axe, new ice fisherman should always have someone with experience the proper technique for making a hole. Injury from cracking ice or the tool itself could easily occur if this essential first step is ignored.
- Be sure before venturing out on the ice. One of the biggest dangers in ice fishing is the threat of cracking and breaking ice. Every year, ice fishermen put themselves in unnecessarily risky situations by not checking the ice they’re walking or snowmobiling on. The bare minimum level of ice is three inches for individual anglers without equipment, but to be on the safe side, it’s recommended that you wait until there’s four to five solid inches. The best way to check is by making a hole close to shoreline before heading to deeper waters.
- Learn hypothermia and frostbite treatment. Even without the threat of breaking ice, frostbite and hypothermia are serious concern in the frigid northern areas where most ice fishing is done. Learn to recognize the symptoms—discolored skin, shivering, slurred speech, confusion—and respond to them immediately. The rule of thumb in the medical community is if someone’s body temperature is below 95 degrees, a 9-1-1 call is necessary.
- Stay aware of potential threats from the elements. Believe it or not, ice over a foot thick can be broken under the right conditions. If unfrozen water is windswept by an oncoming storm, the rocking motion can easily break ice up to one and a half feet. This ice fishing safety tip is often ignored by seasoned anglers because it rarely happens, but don’t let yourself forget that freak breakage is entirely possible.
- Fish in groups. Perhaps the most important safety tip to remember for ice fishing is to never fish alone. If you fall in the water and you’re by yourself, your odds of survival are greatly diminished. To put it simply, think of ice fishing as a sort of team sport—it simply cannot be done safely alone.