It’s that time of year for me to write an article about ice safety that, for the most part, will go unheeded. There are some simple safety rules to follow that will ensure a safe and enjoyable ice season. It starts with understanding that two inches  or less of ice will not support you and your equipment, even if you see someone out on the ice don’t go there, it’s just not safe. Before you go make sure you have all the right gear with you for safety.
First thing to make sure you have is a throw rope. If you go in the water, this will give you a chance to help someone coming to your aid to help you without endangering them as well. The next thing to have is a set of ice picks; these should be around your wrists at all times. If you go thru even thin ice you could pull yourself to thicker ice and out of the water. Don’t even get on the ice without an ice chisel, especially on early ice. You should be testing the ice several feet in front of you as you walk out to be sure the ice is safe, if the chisel goes into the ice in front of you, turn around. Most importantly you should be wearing a floating jacket and bibs anytime you are on the ice. Ice is a most unforgiving and unpredictable element, you need to be prepared for that sudden dip in the lake. If you don’t know how thick the ice is, and you don’t see four wheelers and snowmobiles out on the ice, don’t take a chance on falling through the ice.
The ice reports from area lakes is some very thin early ice and with the temperature changes we see these past weeks, it will hard to build a good ice level just yet. The Chain of Lakes has 2-3” of ice in some of the channels. Lake Delevan has good ice in the harbor but that’s all and Bangs Lake and Crystal Lake are reporting 1” of ice along the shore but 20 feet out from shore 3-3.5” of ice.
So please be careful out there, until next time…keep a tight line.
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