Maine Ice Fishing Conditions are Dangerous Due to Warm Air and Thin Ice
I won't name the lake because I'm not out to shame anyone.
At least not directly. And even shaming is a strong word. I get it... It's winter, and there is a legion of Mainers ready to get out on the ice and spend the day scanning for flags from inside a cozy shack. And I also understand how nice it is to get out and enjoy the almost unseasonably warm weather we've been having.
But there are times, when it's not the best idea to put those two things together. Not everything in life is chocolate and peanut butter. Sometimes it's wet scrambled eggs and motor oil. Case in point, it's not a good idea to go ice fishing when it's been warm AF, and the ice is audibly thin. But hey... you do you.
There is no way the ice is thick enough in most areas, currently.
While it's true we did have a nice little cold snap recently, we've also had lots of rain and temps in the 50's. There have also been recent reports of everything from ATV accidents, to people just falling through the ice. It seems risky at best to go out there right now. But it was definitely happening in Penobscot County.
A friend sent me not only this photo, You can see clear water off to the right! There's also a short video, where you can clearly hear the ice creaking and breaking up and moving around. Nothing about the sights and sounds of the video would give any indication that it's totally safe foe that guy to be out on the ice. It might even be a little nuts.
[video width="368" height="640" mp4="https://townsquare.media/site/543/files/2023/12/attachment-3172C672-D350-4C44-87C4-646950FB6FEC.mp4"][/video]
How thick does the ice need to be?
State wildlife officials suggest anything under 4 inches thick, you should just stay off. It might hold your weight, but it's not reliable. 5-7 inches will easily hold you, but also you're in pretty good shape for your sled or 4-wheeler. 8-12 inches and up, is where you start to get into the safer zones for heavier machinery.
Maine offers all kinds of ice safety tips at their website. But the main thing is always going to be paying attention to how thick it is. Why risk it? There's a reason you have the whole lake to yourself out there when it's that warm. And it's not because everyone's too busy to fish...
Might as well start getting your witty list of winter retorts ready, it'll be here soon enough.
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