With winter now (officially) begun, many anglers are heading out to the ice for some frozen fishing fun. It’s important to make safety your top priority anytime you’re on the ice. Remember: there is no reliable “inch-thickness” to determine when ice is safe.
Your safety is your responsibility, so always make sure you’re prepared. Dress warmly and bring a life jacket, ice picks and a cell phone that will have signal while you’re on the ice. Avoid areas of ice with protruding debris and areas with weak ice, which will appear milky.
Never fish alone (but make sure to practice proper social distancing of at least 6 feet if you’re with people who don’t live in your household), and always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.
Use extreme caution if temperatures begin to rise or fluctuate during the season. Repeated thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its integrity, decreasing its ability to support additional weight of people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.
Visit Michigan.gov/IceSafety or watch this ice safety video for more in-depth tips, including what to do if you fall through the ice.
Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy time out in nature. Check out the DNR’s ice fishing page for more info on techniques and where to fish.