The intense level of immeasurable excitement that people get as soon as lakes start to freeze over is something to behold each year. There is always a wondrous flurry of activity with people skiing, fishing, and sledding at every opportunity. Winter ice fishing should be an amazing experience for beginners, and it can be – as long as all safety protocols are strictly adhered to.
The best way to learn how to get into ice fishing involves knowing the risks beforehand. The risk of getting severely injured is high if you do not learn how to fish safely from the get-go. Ice fishing is not for everyone. Some people are somewhat repulsed by the very idea of fishing on ice, but for others, it is the best way to have fun.
To ensure that your ice fishing experience is nothing short of life-changing, you do need to follow these five safety tips below.
Let Someone Know Before You Go
Before you set out on your ice fishing adventure, make sure that someone knows where you are going. Share your plans with a friend or neighbor, including the name of the lake you’ll be fishing on, the exact location of your chosen fishing spot, and what time you think you’ll be back.
That way if anything does go wrong during your trip, someone will know where to look for you. You mustn’t veer off your chosen course but if you do, then text that person to let them know that your plans have changed. Be courteous and let them know when you’re leaving so that they know you’re off the ice.
Ice Thickness Guidelines
Ice can never be completely safe. There are risks to all outdoor activities, and ice fishing is no different. Ice thickness can rapidly change, so you need to stay alert at all times. As far as the actual thickness of the ice goes, never walk on ice that is less than two inches thick because your risk of falling through is far too high.
You need to find ice at least four inches thick in your Wintery Wonderland if you want to set foot on it to fish. If you’re planning on driving your car onto the ice, then nothing less than twelve inches of ice is safe to do so.
Get The Right Gear
To be properly prepared for your first trip, check to make sure you have bought the right gear. It is wise to wear a float suit when going ice fishing – these will help keep you safe if you fall into the water. Float suits are designed to protect you from the elements while fishing, but their primary function is to keep you upright in the water.
Other gear that you will need to fish includes ice fishing rods, a live bait container with live bait, and an ice fishing auger to drill your ice hole. Once you’ve got the basics in place, you can go out and experience winter at its finest.
Bring A Charger
Cold temperatures have a nasty habit of draining battery life. Take a fully charged power bank with you just in case your phone battery dies while you are out there. The last thing you want is to have a dead phone if you get into a bit of strife on the ice.
Buy a good brand, they often come with added extras like a flashlight – those always come in handy.
Layer Your Clothing
Wearing the right clothing can make all the difference for your first trip to the ice. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating how cold it will be out there. That is why it is highly recommended that you use a minimum of three layers of clothing before you head out.
Underdressing is a rookie mistake, and it can ruin your trip. Rather have too many layers on than too few, if the weather does warm up while you’re out there then you can always peel one of them off. Try to choose clothes that are as waterproof as possible, which means that cotton is not the best option because it takes too long to dry.
If you can, it is always best to go on your first few ice fishing trips with an experienced ice angler. If this isn’t possible, make sure that you don’t ignore any of the safety tips above. Once you get into the good habits above and others, like pinning your location and staying hydrated, your trips to the ice will only get better.