If You Ice Fish, You Should Have This Piece Of Safety Gear
A simple, inexpensive piece of gear could save your life.
Colder days and nights are starting to freeze over the lakes and ponds here in Maine. However, the ice still isn't close to ideal in some areas. Some ice has formed up north from snow, rain and slush, causing the ice to be airy, and inconsistent in thickness.
The chart above from NOAA makes the rounds online each year. It serves as a reminder for those who venture out on the hard water as to how much solid, clear, ice, is needed to support various activities. Four inches of ice is ideal for safe fishing. It isn't until the ice is at least six inches thick that it can support the weight of ATVs and snowmobiles. For vehicles, nine inches of ice can support the weight of most cars. Medium sized trucks need a foot or more of solid ice.
If you're hitting the ice for any reason, check the thickness as you go. Use a crowbar or ice chisel to check the thickness as you get further from shore. The Maine Warden Service shows you how in the video above. The video was live streamed back in 2017, but has evergreen ice safety tips.
A piece of gear everyone should have is ice picks. Ice picks are found at most outdoor outfitters. Amazon sells various styles for around $10. Picks should be kept on your person, readily accessible in case of emergency. They do you no good if left at the bottom of your pack basket.
If you fall through, stay calm. Grab your picks and drive them into the ice. Use them as handles to pull yourself out of the water. The video above will show you how.
Stay safe, and happy fishing.