Ice fishing activities can be extremely dangerous if common sense is not used. You should never travel onto new ice that is less than three inches in thickness. Harbors, marinas, and lakes do not freeze evenly. The result may be safe ice in one area and dangerous ice a few feet away. Current will affect the thickness of ice. Current can be caused by rivers or wind that pushes surges of water into the harbors. Snow on top of the ice acts as an insulator and will affect the freezing of the ice below. There are numerous types of ice and conditions that will affect safe ice. Black ice or ice that has a very dark appearance is very dangerous and should be avoided. Black ice that is 6-10 inches thick sometimes will not support the weight of a walking man. Milky ice that is caused by freezing and refreezing does not have the same support ability as clear ice. Avoid all areas near ice ridges, pressure cracks and bubblers that are used in harbors. The ice should be tested for thickness when entering each new area. The main injuries each year are from slipping on the ice and breaking bones. Spikes or ice cleats will help prevent slipping and should be worn at all times ice fishing.
Examples of Ice Fishing Hazards:
Ice Pressure Ridges
De-icer or Bubbler Systems installed in Marina Black Ice visible near bubblers,
Add 1/2 inch of snow on top of the ice and you might not see the difference
Fishing close to an Ice Shelf
Ice fishing saftey information
- Ice thickness safety information Ice thickness safety information from the Minnesota Department of Natural Recources.
- Thin Ice Warnings about thin ice from the Minnesota Department of Natural Recources.
- Breaking thru the ice, survival using ice picks What to do in the advent of breaking thru the ice. A survival video from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
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