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Well the ice fishing season is upon us here in the "ice belt"! Man O Man I'm excited! I haven't augered a hole for fish in 9 years. I'm wanting to rush out and start drilling and unlocking the winter mysteries that await. But, for those of us that have the same feelings, we must exercise patients and caution! Early ice is the best time to catch big gills and crappies. It is also a time for mishaps that can cause tragic problems. I just want to urge all that are going out ice fishing for the first time this season, becareful. Your life and health is far more important than a double digit (length) gill. I know this from experience. I have gone through twice! It is not fun! So, becareful, have fun and be smart out there!

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Thanks for this BWorm...I havent gone thru the ice yet but in my enthusiasm for ice fishing there just might be a first time .Since you have twice, would you kindly relate the experience in detail and tell us how you survived. Your warning is very helpful but your anecdotees with a little more detail could even be more essentially lifesaving!
Would be happy to John! The first time I went through the ice, was early ice, just like what is going on right now. I was approximately 100 yards from shore and neglected to do a test drill. I like to test drill every 10 yards or so, checking for thickness. I was just too caught up in the moment and CRACK!!!/SPLASH!!! I was lucky to be in only 4 ft of water. I was able to push off the bottom and hop back onto the ice. Once on the ice I rolled for about 5 yards, then stood up and ran back to the truck. A friend was called to go retrieve my equipment.

The second time I took a dip was perhaps, the scariest! It was mid-winter! I had been fishing on good 25 plus inches of ice all day. The fishing was not that good and I was wanting to explore new terriorty. I packed up my Clam and began to pull it closer to shore, looking for green weeds when all of a sudden I was down! Thankfully the Clam and the gear that was in it didn't go with me. I was over a good 12-15 feet of water. No pushing off the bottom this time. I kept as calm as I could and used my ice picks to pull myself out. I never leave home for ice fishing without my ice picks. The ice picks I use are ones I made. I cut an old broom handle into two 6 inch pieces. Next I drill a hole through one end of each, this is for the rope that connects the two together. After the holes are drilled I pound a big nail into the end and take it to the grinder to take off the nail head and give it points. When all done these life savers hang around my neck all winter. What I can figure from what happened that day in mid-Feb was, I walked across a spring or some unseen under water current. I barely made it back to the truck. I was lucky that it was extremely cold that day and the water froze before it could get to my skin.

This all happened years ago. The first time was when I was 20 and the second time was a couple of years later, around 22-23. I have always respected the ice and the danger that comes with it. It was a reminder that the ice is never safe and be prepared at all times.
Thanks BW for sharing your horror stories.Glad you took the time! I have a cheap pair of ice picks maybe I 'll get better ones.Thats cool you make your own!
Patrick, I can't wait for first ice....I'm building my underwater tripod this week, and expect to get some innovative camera angles this winter.

I've also been thru....you really never expect it to happen, but it does.....Take precautions and never ice-fish alone!
Scary indeed,makes me rethink walking around on 2" s of the hard stuff. But I am careful as I just took it up last year and I continually spud on my way out to where I want to fish.I stay to shallows during first ice so I dont go over my head in case theres a week spot.But I think with this weather that we are currently having I may be out trying for the first time this weekend.

However walking around on a local county lake last year I had about 6 holes drilled and I was busy looking in one of them and was rewarded with a nice 30" plus musky swimming right under one of them,very cool thing to see. Be safe everyone and happy ice'n to ya all.
went in today dec 23 09,got caught up looking at a red fox and ventured to close to cattails next thing i knew up to my belly button in water five minutes on the ice at dark.what a move i knew better than to walk by the muck bottom.another blessing from up stairs all is good be safe.
Cold weather this week! I can't wait to go ice fishing next weekend! I have Dave Genz FishTrap Lite and FishTv! I always drilling lot of holes to find fish! No fish in 10 minutes then I move to drilling other hole! Hot spot can happen to get over 100 fish per day but please release at least 8 inch and above back to water for the future trophy bluegills! Dave Genz and Mark Strand's biggest bluegills is over 2 lbs came from ice fishing!
Check ice every yard to make sure the ice is safe! I wear 100 feet rope to tie around my belt and tie to tree if I go out alone!
Have fun, be safe and keep warm!

Nice website about ice fishing is

www.iceteam.com
Thanks for the link John ! Helpful videos!
It's 14 below tonight and making ice like crazy...
CKOutdoors.com is having it's annual ealry ice MuleFest this weekend.
I'll shoot as many pics as I can of the action.
Sitting on 4" and heading towards 6-8 by this weekend.

Crappie, I'm very pumped for drillin 'em holes! Mr. Thompson and I are going to get together this winter, hopefully more than once, for some hole punchin and panfishin! I hope you are coming as well!
Your welcome to join me anytime.I'm a guide in the area.
MT comes up a few times every year.
If it's not too late we can get on some of those big gills.
We will be on them this weekend.

3-4" is ok for me to start and yes we have extentions for our augers.
How thick is the ice when you start fishing,or how thick does the ice have to be to support your weight? Ice fishing is not an option here but am looking forward to ya'lls updates.

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