Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Dick Ellis' On Wisconsin Outdoors - Submitted October 2010

Safety First On The Ice

It is easy to imagine why early ice has potential dangers but anglers should NEVER consider ice as safe and ALWAYS take certain precautions whenever venturing out on Wisconsin’s frozen water. Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure you get home safe.

First, always check at the local bait shop for current ice conditions and carry proper equipment such as a spud bar. Wear “creepers” for better grip when walking and always wear a life jacket, especially early or late in the season. Put your cell phone in a ziplock bag and carry it in a top pocket where you can reach it easily. Fish with a partner and if you fish alone tell someone of your plans including where you will be fishing and when you plan to arrive home. A screw driver in each of your two front coat pockets are a good idea if you don’t own a set of “safety spikes”. If you fall in, these may help you pull your way out of the water. Dress warm and in layers. Early activity such as walking to your spot, drilling holes and setting tip ups can cause you to sweat. Remove layers for that activity and add layers as your body starts to cool down. Also remember to bring plenty of water or hydrating drinks. Alcohol only helps to dehydrate you and changes your perception of the cold. Snacks and things such as “trail mix” are a good idea as they give your body calories to burn, which in turn helps keep you warm. Bring extra gloves, hand towels and a small heater. Also remember basic first aid materials and a small side cutter in case you get a hook stuck in your finger. Always be aware of changing ice conditions and bring a compass or hand held GPS unit in case fog or snow limits visibility when leaving. Make sure you have your bearings straight BEFORE conditions create the need.

Think safety first and you are sure to have a good time ice fishing here in Wisconsin.


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