The chaos and busyness of the holidays are over, and the coldest months of the year are ahead of us across the United States. For most people, frigid weather and a major lack of sunshine don’t quite correlate to an ideal day on the water. However, those people who do brave the elements can teach us all a thing or two about winter recreation.

By winter recreation, we mean ice fishing. Though the sport of fishing does traverse all seasons, there is a significantly different set of rules for those fishermen (and women) who venture out onto the frozen lakes, ponds, and rivers of the world. At the very least, there are additional rules when we talk about ice fishing safety. Below, our experts on fishing tours in Florida share a few simple suggestions that will help to keep you safe – and hopefully help you get a great catch!

Dress Warmly

The first major rule of ice fishing is to dress for the experience. Be sure to dress in layers that will help keep you dry and warm. Gloves or mittens are extremely important because your hands are your most crucial tool in reeling in a prize-winning fish!

Carry the Proper Tools

Sport a life jacket and carry safety gear like ice picks to provide you with some resilience on the ice if you should slip or fall. To avoid falling, wear some kind of cleats or ice creepers on your boots. Also, employ an ice chisel to inspect conditions on the ice. Finally, all ice anglers should carry a long segment of rope in case of an emergency.

Test the Ice

Understand what type of ice you are on and how much it will safely support you and other fellow anglers. First, try to pound a hole through the ice to see the thickness. If you can punch through in only a few strikes, it likely isn’t strong enough to hold your weight for a significant length of time. There is a combination of things to contemplate while testing the ice in your location:

  • A minimum of three inches of transparent, blue lake ice, preferably four inches, can sustain a single angler.
  • Five inches of ice can hold several anglers in a single file.
  • Eight inches of ice is required for the safe operation of a snowmobile.
  • Slush ice is just about half as powerful as clear lake ice, so anglers should double the lowest thickness figures when facing such conditions.
  • Ice depletes with age, and this is generally identified late in the season when it begins to darken and deteriorate.
  • Seepage from groundwater or directly adjacent rivers can generate weak spots in the ice due to moving water. It is generally best to keep away from the shore and locations where waterways meet.
  • Environmental waste also debilitates ice. Therefore, you should avoid dark spots.

Remain safe and warm this season while out on the ice with these ice fishing tips. Visit our homepage to plan your fishing tours in Florida.