North Dakota Game and Fish tips on ice safety

Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 5:27 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As temperatures drop, lakes, rivers and ponds start to freeze.

Mike Anderson gives us some tips on how to stay safe on the ice, in this week’s segment of North Dakota Outdoors. If you plan on ice fishing, spearing or participating in any other lake activity in the next couple of months there are some guidelines to follow to make sure the ice is safe.

“So for people just on foot, single person, a minimum of four inches is recommended. Six to eight when you start to have a larger group of people walking on the ice, when you get into the snowmobiles and ATVs. The larger UTVs are probably going to fall into that small vehicle category where you’re going to want to at least eight to 12 inches of ice, anything larger than UTV or small car, you’re going to want at least a foot and a half to two feet before you bring those big trucks out on the water,” said NDGF Game Warden Supervisor, Jackie Lundstrom.

There are some simple ways to check ice thickness when venturing out for the first time.

“We always recommend for checking the ice thickness, obviously a chisel or an ice auger if you are going fishing. If you’re hunting, take a chisel with. Also always have a pair of ice picks with when you’re out on the ice. We also recommend wearing a life jacket, especially this early season where you just don’t know how thick the ice truly is,” said Lundstrom.

The color of the ice can be an indication on how safe the ice is.

“Ice that is cloudy or gray in color is considered the least safe ice. And we recommend people stay off of that type of ice. What’s considered the safest ice is the clear blue ice,” said Lundstrom.

Remember, ice is never 100% safe, yet if you do accidently fall through the ice remember these tips.

It’s important to have those ice picks around your neck. You’re going to want to make sure you pick into the ice. Kick with your legs like you’re treading water to get your legs up. And then you’re going to need to pull with your arms. Once you get yourself up on top of that ice, you want to roll away from the hole. So you always want to go back the direction you came from because you know that ice was thick enough to hold you at the moment,” said Lundstrom.

Warden Lundstrom says to also watch for springs, where the water in some areas doesn’t freeze completely. Game warden Lundstrom says it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going.

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