This video is a great reminder of how to be safe while out on the ice.
This time of year, our favorite outdoor activity is undoubtably ice fishing. As much fun as dropping the ice auger and pulling a lunker from a frozen lake is, ice fishing does come with some risks. Most notably, the ever-present danger of falling through thin ice. It only takes a few minutes to succumb to hypothermia in cold conditions.
It pays for ice anglers to be well versed in recognizing ice conditions and when it is not safe to fish. Case in point, today's video from YouTuber 618 Fishing.
Nick is out trying some micro fishing for bluegills on a small pond. By his own admission, he ignored multiple warning signs that indicate the ice thickness may be good, but the quality of the ice is poor. Towards the end of the video comes a truly terrifying moment when he falls through into the cold pond.
He was extremely lucky this incident happened close to shore and not far out in open water or he may be on the bottom of the lake quickly with no help coming. The pooling of the water around the holes he was fishing was an ignored warning sign that the thickness of the ice was indicative of its strength. Fortunately, he had his ice picks around his neck and was able to use them to pull himself out of the hole. He was especially lucky since it didn't look like there was anyone else around. And in the water, his cell phone would have been next to useless. It's never a bad idea to have a flotation device or flotation suit for extra piece of mind either. You already take precautions while boating, make sure you do the same while ice fishing.
One of the best ice fishing safety tips we can give you is to always be observant of the ice and how it behaves when you're walking on it. He probably thought he was safe after checking with an ice chisel, but the appearance of solid ice was an illusion that wasn't obvious until the footage was played back. It's very likely this was old ice that was slowly being weakened by warm water due to changing weather conditions. Note the lack of snow at the start of the video. Note in the video that what we see in the video is mostly grey and white ice. These are usually signs of it being less stable. Blue, black and clear ice are going to be the safest ones to walk on. The DNR in most states have thickness guidelines recommending at least four inches of thickness for walking, five inches for a snowmobile or ATV and at least 12-15 inches for larger vehicles. When in doubt, ask the local bait shop or other area anglers how the ice is faring before ever stepping foot on it.
This was a scary video of the dangers of fishing hard water. We're glad to see that Nick was able to pull himself out of the hole and share the video with the rest of the world as a prime example of how to stay safe during your ice fishing expeditions this winter.