Monday, November 17, 2008

Ice Fishing Tips

© 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!

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Anonymous said...

The nights are getting much colder down my way in Idaho also. I love ice fishing! Looking forward to when I can get on some safe ice and start jigging me up some fish. Thanks for all the excellent reminders, Othmar, in preparation for ice fishing season.

Anonymous said...

I've tried pretty much everything outdoors, but I've never ice fished. I'm looking forward to trying it this winter. thanks for the tips.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Mel - Ice fishing is great fun as you know we moved here to Merritt in the summer but I have been told that the lakes here can ice up with as much as two feet layers. When I lived in Illinois we used to ice fish every winter and boy talk about a freeze up where it can get minus 40. Been a bit on the skinny side my main problem is staying warm. A good layering system of underwear topped with wool pants and shirts plus an outer layer consisting of good insulated parkas and bib coverall and snow boots take care of that. Protected like that against the elements I look like the Michelin man.

Cory Glauner – Welcome to my blog as a new and hopefully frequent reader. You should give ice fishing a try. Some of the most productive fishing can be when the lakes are frozen over and the fish are desperate for a meal. Have fun ice fishing and above all be safe.

Anonymous said...

Ice fishing is big here in Northern Michigan. I've never tried it, but I might this year. It appears we may have a cold enough winter to create some thick ice.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Oh tell me about Kristine, when I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful state we went ice fishing every day. In fact it was in Michigan were I got enlightened on the finer art of ice fishing. It was always a tossup between hunting and fishing. We finally ended up hunting in the morning and fishing in the afternoon.


Anonymous said...

Ice fishing is a great sport. My entire blog is dedicated to the sport.

Anonymous said...

Being that I live in Florida makes it almost impossible for me to do some ice fishing. One of these days i'd like to take a fishing trip up to canada and try it out, i will make sure to follow these tips :)