Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Hardware Fishing

Bob Humphrey photot

Bob Humphrey photot

Bob Humphrey photo

Bob Humphrey photo

By Bob Humphrey

The heart of winter is here and many folks in northern states will be venturing out onto the ice to ice fish and ride snowmobiles, ATVs and Side-by-Side vehicles.  What follows are a few safety tips whether you’re venturing out on the ice on foot or (especially) on or in a vehicle. 

1. Avoid areas with currents such as stream or river inlets and outlets.  Moving water often means thin ice. 

2. Avoid areas around bridges and pressure ridges as ice may be thin or absent here as well.

3. Avoid shoreline areas if ice is cracked or spongy, or any areas of thin, clear, honeycombed or dark ice, all of which can be signs of weak spots.

4. Check ice thickness before venturing far from shore.  Use your ice auger or some other device to make a test hole and determine thickness.  Continue testing as you make your way out onto the lake. 

5. Never check the ice alone.  For that matter, never venture out on the ice alone, period.  Make sure you have a partner, so there is someone there to help if necessary.

6. Follow established trails.  Traditional routes are usually established on the safest areas.  

7. Take along ropes and personal flotation devices.

Hopefully you never will, but if you should break through the ice...

1. Don’t panic.  Once the initial shock of ice-cold water passes, try to calm yourself. 

2. Reach for solid ice.

3. Lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard to help lift your body onto the ice.

4. Once on the ice, roll, DON’T WALK, to safety.

5. To help someone who has fallen through the ice, lie down flat and reach with a branch, plank or rope or form a human chain.  Don’t stand. After securing the victim, wiggle backwards to the solid ice.

(Some information provided courtesy of the Maine Warden Service.)