After looking at all the great pictures and reading all the great stuff this site has offered "so far", I can't stand it anymore...I wanna fish dang it! Here in ohio at this present time I would have no choice but to go ice fishing if I wanted to fish. I've never been ice fishing in my life. Is this something that someone like myself could set out to do on their own? I read muskie mods little story and thats what really did it. I thought hmmm....I got a spud bar that I could use to knock a hole in the ice and go at it. I do realize how dangerous this type of fishing is, thats why I felt this was a good disscussion to bring up. I don't want to get killed or hear about anyone else getting killed trying something maybe they/I shouldn't even try. I guess what I want to know is...
1. what would be the minimum temp and for how long?
2. how do you "test" the ice for safeness?
3. how thick should it be?
4. ANYTHING else I should know
I am bracing myself for the "don't even try it if you don't know what your doin"
routine that i may get. Which is why I bring all this up..so me and maybe others wont do something stupid, or atleast have some insight on how to go ice fishing for the first time. I will be going by myself since my partner in crime is too fat to be on the ice. I wanna go fishing not save a whale! My 360 and rapalas tournament fishing just aren't doing it for me anymore.
I am by no means an expert but I'll give some insight that you'll have to weigh against your conditions and experience.
In New Jersey the tackle shops say 4 Inches of ice is safe.I'm not heavy180-190 lbs depending on how much beer I 've been drinking. I have been out on 3 " and been a little scared as the sun beats down and the ice starts making weird sounds.Ice thickness is not consistent always and can be less thick in some areas..But I've seen bigger guys out so felt safe as long as I walked their routes.I once almost refused to retreive a tip up that was further out when hearing sounds I didn't like. I ended up retreiving it and not feeling stupid about my fear.
Dont rush in for early ice wait till you see other less cautious or hopefully more knowledgeable folks ice fishing and give it several weeks of consistently cold night temps .20's and teens I guess.Shallow lakes or shallow areas of bigger lakes are what you should try first. Shallow areas protected by the wind are safer than large open areas I believe .I think high winds on an open area will prevent freezing.
My small lake is safe before open areas of the nearby reservoir are frozen.
Ya gotta watch the weather and be trusting in Nature.
Check the other blogs on this topic ...there are some much more experienced guys than me here and you need to get their opinions.Best of fishin' to you!
When you start, you won't want to stop. First let me say that there is no such thing as safe ice. What I mean by that is that you always have to be cautious. Your good with three inches, your big buddy to. I am around 225 and take friends that sit and walk around me the whole time. It usually takes about a day or so of 20 and below for the ice to thicken up. Once it does your good even up to around 40 degrees. What to watch out for is the warm water that might run into a pond or lake. If it rains watch out, that is an ice killer. It looks thick but it might be what people call rotten ice(contains holes, and is spongy looking) even when new ice forms over this, it is bad. You won't see rotten ice either, it's underneath. When ice melts off and reforms that is way better. Most guys want to hit first ice, it's always best. When entering the ice be very careful, this is when you need to pay close attention(most dangerous). Walk about ten to fifteen feet apart. Drill holes as your going out make sure at least 3" thick. Do this every 20 feet or so. Try to avoid walking on around docks, sea walls, etc. These usually have thin ice around them. Never go alone! But if you do always let someone know what your doing. Items that you should have are Ice spikes(these hang around your neck and you can use them to climb out by sticking them in and pulling out)see my picture. A rope with a loop, and weight on the end is a must for you or some one you might have to help. Take a bucket to sit on and a cushion, one that floats is best. Buy a ice auger, the hand ones are cheap and much safer, a six inch is fine for Gills. Don't go banging around on ice with a spud, very dangerous if you don't know the ice. Call or check around for ice conditions with the local Bait shops or DNR. When you catch the big one, DON'T JUMP UP AND DOWN YOUR ON ICE! Just be smart, being affraid is good, keeps you on your toes. I could go on forever, but I am at work. I wil write more later if you want, ask anything I love ice fishing!
I checked a local pond near my home on Sat morn and drilled a test hole in shallow water...3 in thick, but 1 1/2 inches was clear, hard ice and 1 1/2 inches was white or 'snow-ice', which is not nearly as strong as the clear ice. Hence, I backed up and went home and told the local kids and pond owner of the conditions...just too risky and dangerous for conservative me. I fish on nothing less than 4 in of the clear hard stuff and after the last two days in the 60's I doubt that there is any 'safe' ice within 100 miles of my central MD home. Any ice fishing ops in my region are usually brief and some times every three years or so.
The best way to get into ice fishing safely is to fish with someone who has done it quite often. If you pay attention to them and listen to their experiences you will learn. Ice is great but as unpredictable as a Rottweiler. I won't go out on less than 5" of clear ice. 2 nights of no wind and single digit temps will usually get you there. It's a very addictive sport and once you lose the fear you should probably quit for your own good. There are just so many little things that make ice safe and unsafe, you really need to fish with a level headed experienced person to learn. Ice also varies greatly between lakes so each lake is different. Good luck, you'll learn fast.