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Ice Fishing Safety

Updated on October 29, 2009

Ice Fishing Safety

Of course you want to have a safe and fun trip so you would really be an idiot to not practice ice fishing safety.

Two rules you should follow every time no matter what is never go ice fishing alone and always let several people know exactly where you are going.

In a blink of an eye an ice fishing trip can turn from fun to tragedy and we all agree we don't want that to happen.

Too many times each and every year we hear the tragic stories that in most cases could have been avoided if only some ice fishing safety common sense was put in place.

In this hub I will try and focus on a lot of common sense tips to make this ice fishing season the safest one yet.

Ice Fishing Safety-Clothing

Clothing is a very important part of your ice fishing trip. Its important to take the time to plan ahead and know what you are going to wear.

You want to make sure your clothing is layered. By doing this you are setting up for any possible weather. If you get too warm you can take some clothes off and vice versa if you get too cold.

Potentially you should go with about 4 layers. The bottom layer being thermals and the outside layer being a very warm jacket.

Of course you also want to make sure you wear good warm protection for your head. Wear something that is warm and don't worry about looking good. If you freeze looking good means absolutely nothing.

Now its time to talk about your hands and feet when it comes to ice fishing safety. The biggest thing when it comes to winter boots is make sure they are insulated and water proof. wet feet will wreck a trip in a real hurry.

It doesn't hurt to wear a couple pairs of wool socks but the important part with that is make sure they aren't too tight. Tight socks will cut off your circulation and allow your feet to get cold.

The last thing is what is going to protect your hands from the cold. Some people suggest neoprene and that's okay. I suggest having many pairs of gloves and liners so you can always be keeping a pair warm. Cold hands will make fishing next to impossible.

Ice Fishing Safety-What You Need

When it comes to ice fishing safety there are a few essentials you should always have.

You will want a small bag of sand or gravel or something that will help the prevention of slipping while fishing around your holes. It may sound silly but a hurt ankle could be very dangerous while out ice fishing.

Don't be scared to pack and take along a bunch of extra clothes. It may be a little extra work but you really will be thanking yourself if by chance you happen to get wet for some reason.

Snacks and warm drinks are a must. The snacks need to be high energy like granola bars and such. One thing that is a definite must not do is use alcohol while ice fishing. It will actually help bring down your core temperature in your body.

Rope is an essential part of your kit just in case some one falls through the ice. Always keep the rope in a place that its easy to get at. If someone falls through there is no time to waste when attempting to get them out.

A first aid kit is good practice at anytime of the year and while ice fishing it is just as important. You never know when you may need to treat some minor injuries.

You need to have matches in a few water proof containers. A fire may be your only chance at survival or keeping someone warm until help arrives. But like I said have them in a few different places in a few different containers and make sure everyone knows where they are located.

One other thing that most people only associate with summer and boating is wearing a life jacket. You can even get the ones that are very warm so not only are you keeping yourself safer you are also supplying another warm layer of clothing.

Ice Fishing Safety-Know Your Surroundings

When it comes to ice fishing safety you better always be aware of where the heck you are. You also need to educate yourself on whats safe and whats not.

Stay the heck away from any ice that is less than 6 inches deep. Anything less than that and you really are taking stupid chances that could get you very wet and cold or worse yet dead.

Its good to know what the lake was like in the summer. This way you can be absolute when it comes to any streams, creeks or beaver runs that may cause weak and thin ice.

Also, if anything looks weird with the ice like a dark color or full of large pores then you best be getting away.

Its important to remember that even though the footing under your feet feels very strong you have to think about whats under that ice. Being careless could find you taking your last step.

Ice Fishing Safety-What If You Fall In?

This may be easier said then done but if you do fall through the ice it is very important to stay calm and dont panic.  If ever you will really need to do some smart thinking at this point.

If you have your ice awls with you then this may be a good time to try and use them to pull yourself up onto the ice.

Depending on how much water you are in you may have to swim to safety and thicker and stronger ice.  keep your legs moving for a couple reasons.  The first is to stay afloat and the second is to keep warm as possible.

If you cant get yourself to safety then you do need to yell and yell as loud as you can.  Also you want to get rid of your boots so they dont weigh you down and you can tread water easier.

Believe it or not even though your clothes are soaking wet its still important to keep them on while in the water because they will be providing at least a little insulation.  Even though its a little it may be just whats needed to get the extra minutes you may need.

Once you do finally make it on the ice its very important to stay low and keep your body weight spread out on the ice.  Cover as much area as possible with your body and move slowly until you get to safe ice.

Ice Fishing Safety-When Is It Time To Say Enough

When it comes to ice fishing safety there comes a time when you may have to say it is time to call it a day and go home.

If you do become wet you need to immediately get the wet clothes off and get into some warm and dry clothes.  You also need to find some place that is warm.

Something that is common sense is your body doesn't lie to you.  If you are feeling cold then there is no doubt that you are cold and you need to get warm.

Understand the symptoms of frost bite and hypothermia.  If you feel any of the symptoms then you cant waste time.  You need to get warm and get to medical assistance as soon as you can.

Just remember that there will always be many more days to go fishing.  Don't let your body and mind get to levels where they are too tired.  This is asking for trouble that could be life threatening.

Just remember we are all born with common sense.  The problem is we don't always use it.  When it comes to being out doors in the winter and ice fishing safety then you better figure out what common sense is before it becomes too late.

Fishing Blog

Since you have come this far and have learned about ice fishing safety then why not visit the blog simply titled Fishing


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    • Dale Mazurek profile image

      Dale Mazurek 8 years ago from Canada

      Well where I come from in Alberta Canada many months of the year if we want to get our fishing fix we have to head out on the ice and brave the weather.

      However with the huts and heaters now aday I do a lot of fishing in 40 below in a t shirt. It really isnt like the old days when we really did brave the cold.

      i will be working on a bunch of Hubs about different ice fishing equipment and stories.

      Thanks for stopping by Gus.

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 8 years ago from USA

      Dale - Best of good fortune to all ice fisherpeople. I love warm - hate cold. I must be a fish, right? :-)))