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Workshop focuses on ice-fishing safety

Posted at 9:49 AM, Nov 18, 2023

The Great Falls chapter of Walleyes Unlimited hosted a seminar to discuss ice-fishing safety.

Montana Fish, Wildlife, and parks offers the following safety information:

Ice fishing is fun, but safety always comes first. Ice conditions can change quickly over time and vary dramatically across short distances.

Here are some tips:

  • Check the weather
  • Tell someone where you're going.
  • Bring a friend - for company and safety.
  • Look for signs that others have been out on the ice first. Never be first on the ice!
  • Check ice thickness and clarity - there should be at least 4-6 inches of clear ice
  • If there's snow on the ice, use caution. It can hide the ice condition.
  • Don't approach open water.
  • Stay clear of pressure ridges and/or large cracks.
  • Be extra cautious around areas that can make ice weaker such as docks and other structures. inlets and outlets, and springs.
  • Spread out if you have a big group.

You can't determine how thick the ice is by looking. Drill a test hole and measure it to make sure it's safe.
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)