Modern ice fishing is light years ahead of the sport’s Ice Ages, when anglers shivered in the frigid cold, using crude tackle while relying mostly on luck to get a bite.
Today’s anglers spend more time on the ice because of advancements in tackle and gear. That includes ATVs and UTVs that transport anglers and their gear. Spending more time in the elements and venturing farther from land make ice fishing safety a must.
Practicing ice fishing safety is a deep subject that should be studied and applied at all times. Another benefit of ice fishing today is the gear that can make the sport safer.
Before you load up the ATV or UTV for ice fishing, leave room for gear that might save your life. Gear up with this advice from Gary and Chase Parsons and Keith Kavajecz, hosts of “The Next Bite TV” series.
Find most of the above gear at Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Boating Centers, where you will also find a complete lineup of ATVs and UTVs for all your ice fishing needs.
In addition, here are some tips that are essential to know and follow when fishing on the ice.
Bring a friend
Never fish alone. Also make sure family and friends know where you intend to go and your expected time back off the ice.
Never drill too many holes in the same place. The more holes, the less stability there is on the ice.
Avoid snow-covered ice
The insulating properties prevent cold air from keeping the ice below freezing temperatures.
Avoid moving water
Ice forming over moving water is weaker.
Ask a local
Before heading out check with the local bait shop for thickness reports provided by other anglers.
And a bonus …
Minimum ice thickness guidelines for clear ice suggest the following.
2" or less – Don’t go
4" – Ice fish on foot
5" – Ice fish on foot, but safe for ATV
8"-12" – Safe to drive a car
12"-15" – Safe to drive a truck
The above guidelines are provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.