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When Is The Ice Safe? No Sure Answer

With the recent cold weather, many ice anglers are venturing on frozen surfaces of the area's lakes and reservoirs in search of hungry fish. Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials are asking ice anglers to remember their cold weather sport demands a few safety precautions. IDFG warns winter anglers that ice can be very dangerous, and people can be injured or killed if ice is not respected. "Besides always checking the ice before going out on it and using common sense, anglers need to be aware that ice thickness and strength can vary from location to location," said Regional Fisheries Biologist Ed Schriever. To help all winter recreationists, IDFG provides the following safety precautions:
  • 4 inches of clear, solid ice is usually safe for ice fishing. Snowmobiles or ATV enthusiasts need 6 inches of ice.
  • Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong. It can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. When ice is covered by snow, great precautions need to be taken to determine ice thickness before starting any activity. Snow can also hide cracked, weak and open water areas.
  • Slush is a danger sign. Slush indicates that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom. Slush also indicates weak or deteriorated ice.
  • Never check ice or rescue a victim of ice failure alone because you could go from rescuer to victim very quickly.
It is recommended that anglers use a floatation device and ice picks whenever on ice. Ice picks, two short lengths of broom handle or dowel with sharpened nails in one end and joined with a rope can easily carried in a pocket.