© By Othmar Vohringer
The winter is coming. The first nights of frost have been a clear indication of winter’s imminent approach. Around here many fishers look forward to the day when the lakes are frozen over. Ice fishing is a big sport in Canada, maybe not as big as Ice hockey but close.
Ice fishing is great fun for the whole family. If you haven’t tried it yet you should and by observing a few common sense tips ice fishing is a safe and very safe activity.
1. Before you leave, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Survival experts suggest that if you are not back by that time, the person should call for help.
2. Leave your car on shore. According to statistic, 68 percent of ice fatalities in involve a vehicle. Ice must be much thicker and more stable to support the weight of a car or truck, or even a snowmobile.
3. Make sure there are at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice, with no open water or melting ice near shore. Open water and melting indicate unsafe ice. Carry an ice spud or chisel to check the thickness of the ice as you proceed.
4. Always go fishing with a companion.
5. Always wear a lifejacket on the ice and carry some clothing (a jacket, pants and a pair of socks) in a watertight container or plastic bag. Should you fall into the water it is important to get out of the wet clothing and quickly into dry clothing. In very clod weather and wearing wet clothing it only takes minutes for hypothermia to set in.
6. Carry two ice picks, handspikes, or screwdrivers tied together with cord so that you can pull yourself out if you do fall in.
7. Carry an 8 to 10 feet rope as a safety line to drag your buddy out if necessary.
8. Carry a cell phone to call for assistance.
9. Carry flares or an emergency signal marker so that you can be seen if you need to be rescued in a storm. Other storm survival equipment includes chemical hand warmers, flashlight and batteries, chemical light sticks, compass, reflective "space" blankets, portable camp stove with fuel, pocket knife or pocket tool, and matches or a lighter.
10. Dress appropriately in several layers. Ice fishing is a passive activity and the wind on an open lake adds to the cold. Once you on the location build some form of wind shelter with a simple tarp or a commercial ice fishing shack.
11. Bring along a snack consisting of chocolate and other high calorie foods to fuel your body. A thermos with hot coffee or tee will help too to warm you up. Alcohol, the old standby, is not recommended. While alcohol will warm you up it is only temporarily before you will feel even colder as the alcohol opens the pores on the skin and lets body warmth escape.
Tight Lines...and don't forget to have fun!
Tags: Ice Fishing Tips, BC Fishing, Ice Fishing Safety Tips