HAUSER LAKE — On Wednesday morning, a man fell through the ice near the causeway on Hauser Lake.
“He was by himself fishing, in an ice shelter, and for whatever reason, it went through the ice,” said Sgt. Bill Pandis, liaison for Lewis & Clark County Search and Rescue through the Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Pandis says the man was rescued from the water and taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Due to the warming and cooling temperatures, the ice on the lakes in the surrounding areas can be unstable.
“Sometimes ice can get rotten if it warms up and cools back down and warms up then cools down, so make sure you’re on good ice,” said Sgt. Pandis.
Sgt. Pandis recommends that you keep someone with you if you are going to ice fish and keep a tool kit of essential items that can save you if you do go under.
“Ice picks which are handles that you can wear around your neck and if you go through the ice, you can use them to try and pull yourself back up on top of the ice,” said Sgt. Pandis.
Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks recommend ice fishing on at least 4- to 6-inch-thick clear ice, and Sgt. Pandis says it is crucial to your safety to drill and see the ice for yourself.
“Just make sure to check the thickness of the ice, and if it doesn’t seem safe or seems mushy or seems too thin, make sure to go somewhere else and to not risk it,” said Sgt. Pandis.
FWP recommended minimum ice thickness guidelines for good, clear ice:
- Under 4 inches: STAY OFF
- 4 inches: Ice fishing or other activities on foot
- 7 inches: Snowmobile or ATV
- 10 inches: Small car (not recommended, but if you must, proceed at your own risk)
- 12 inches: Larger vehicle (not recommended, but if you must, proceed at your own risk)
For more safety tips, visit Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks website.