This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Keeping safe while having fun on the ice

Posted at 10:15 AM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 12:15:56-05

This is the time of year many people start thinking about hitting the ice and trying to catch a few fish. Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks Morgan Jacobsen says if that’s an activity you plan to participate in, some safety tips must be followed.

First, Jacobsen notes that you must dress for the weather. Long exposure to cold and sometimes wet conditions can turn an uncomfortable situation into a dangerous one in a short period of time. He especially notes footwear that will keep your feet dry and layers of clothing for the rest of your body. Jacobsen used his ice auger to drill several test holes before venturing too far out on the Bozeman Pond.

He says the ice must be at least four inches thick to support a human. He says it's important to know that ice might be thicker or thinner towards the middle of a body of water and he also says depending on conditions the ice can form in layers meaning it's not as stable as it should be. Jacobsen says ice fishing is a relatively inexpensive activity because it doesn’t require much gear, and it can be a fun family activity. He stresses that early safety preparation will go a long way to saving a dangerous situation later.