December 8, 2010Some general guidelines for fishing on a frozen lake.
1) DON`T FISH ALONE, make sure to bring a buddy or have others around you.
2) JUDGING THE ICE Small ponds and protected lakes generally provide the safest conditions during the early ice fishing season because they freeze more quickly than larger bodies of water. Similarly, bays and shallow portions of larger lakes protected from winds freeze first and can provide fishing opportunities before the remainder of the lake is frozen.
Once the lake is frozen to a minimum thickness of three to four inches, it should be safe for travel by foot. When walking on three inch ice, your fishing partners should spread out. New ice is fairly tough and elastic. Even if it cracks in all directions, it can support an average-sized person.
Take precautions even when you think the ice is thick enough to support you. Many factors above and below the ice can affect its strength and thickness. Avoid river bends and underwater stream currents that flow in and out of lakes, thinning the ice. Points, channels, underwater humps, and any narrow constriction within the lake can cause underwater currents that decrease ice thickness and strength.
Snow cover acts as an insulator and slows down ice formation. Be cautious when ice is covered with snow early in the season and be suspicious of scattered snow patches on presumably safe ice.
3) TAKE AN ICE BAR because it acts as your Ã¢â‚¬ËœeyesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on the ice as you feel your way on uncertain terrain. Never assume that ice is uniformly thick over an entire lake. By probing your way with an ice bar you can effectively check ice thickness with each step. One good poke with your ice bar will commonly break through to water if the ice is less than three inches thick.
4) CARRY A FLOATION DEVICE when concerned about safety on suspicious ice. A life jacket worn under the normal outdoor gear will keep you warm and may keep you alive in an ice emergency.