Tips for safe ice-fishing

January 10, 2020 julie geiser

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. – Stay safe on the ice this winter while enjoying a day of ice-fishing. Follow these tips from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for safety on the ice:

— The minimum ice thickness for supporting one person is at least 4 inches of clear, solid ice.

— Drill holes or use an ice chisel or spud bar to check the ice conditions while working your way out to your fishing spot.

— Wear a life jacket.

— Commercial or homemade ice picks should be worn around your neck in case you fall through and need something to grip the ice and pull yourself out.

— Fish with others in case trouble arises.

— Have a long rope with you so someone can rescue you if you break through the ice.

— Stay well away from open water and never go onto ice that is adjacent to running streams and be cautious of areas near spillways.

— Objects that stick up through the ice such as muskrat lodges, trees and logs store heat from the sun and weaken the surrounding ice.

— Before heading out, tell a family member or friend where you will be fishing.

— Avoid alcoholic beverages. These affect your judgment and increase your chances for hypothermia.

When ice fishing large bodies of water like reservoirs pay close attention to ice heaves, which are areas that fluctuate when water tables rise and fall. Ice heaves may be weak spots in the ice and will typically cause bulged areas where the ice cracks and is pushed together causing it to move upward.

Those ice fishing Interstate 80 lakes or those similar should be cautious of the west ends of the lakes. The water table moves downstream, which usually means the west ends of our smaller area lakes will have weaker ice or no ice.

Fishing permits can be purchased at

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