With winter rapidly approaching and cold air temperatures starting to freeze the lakes, this means only one thing. It’s ice fishing season! And with that being said, I would like to talk about what I feel are two of the most important topics of ice fishing: safety and comfort. Both being closely related to each other and both necessary for a fun day on the ice. In this article I am going to list several tools needed and their importance.
Know what the ice thickness has to be in order to venture out on it safely. Whether by foot, snow machine, car or truck. Here is a link that will help you: www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html
Before venturing out on the ice always talk to people whether it be the park office or rangers at the lake that you wish to fish on or check on any local fishing forums for up to date information: www.fishexplorer.com.
Warm, cold weather clothing, such as the newer synthetic type moisture wicking thermal undergarments and socks are a must. Insulated outerwear, such as the Clam ice armor suit, insulated waterproof boots, gloves and head gear, are also strongly recommended. And for the next step up a Clam portable ice fishing shelter and small portable heater would be the ultimate in comfort and protection from the elements. www.clamoutdoors.com
4. Safety Gear
First, I recommend a floatation device. There are a few different styles to choose from such as a self inflating life vest and the Clam ice armor lift suit (which is both an insulated outer garment and keeps a person afloat if one were to fall through the ice). Second, it is recommended that you get a spud bar, which is a weighted metal bar with a chisel on the end of it that is used to tap on the ice in order to check ice stability in front of you while walking on the ice. Third, I suggest having a pair of ice cleats which will help to keep you from slipping on the ice. Fourth, I recommend floating ice picks which you use to pull yourself out of the water and back onto the ice if you happen to fall through. Fifth is an emergency throw rope for assisting yourself or others in case someone falls through the ice.
This information should give you an idea on the basic preparations needed to get out on the ice this season and have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable time. Good luck and good fishing!