North Dakota Game and Fish discuss ice safety

Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 8:25 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Even though it’s a bit warmer than usual now, temperatures will soon be dropping and ice will be forming on bodies of water statewide.

Ice fishing accounts for about 25% of all fishing in North Dakota on an average year, and that’s why it’s important to follow these recommendations when venturing out.

“If it’s 2 inches or less, you should be staying off of that type of ice. Four inches is probably the minimum you want to be going on as an individual. Six to 8 they say you can take an ATV or snowmobile out on. And once you get into the 8 to 12, then you can start taking lighter weight vehicles out there, 12 to 15 for a smaller pickup. Once you start getting into the three-quarter ton pickups, you’re going to want probably 15 inches or more before you go out there,” said NDGF game warden supervisor Jackie Lundstrom.

A November snowstorm that dumped several inches over parts of the state will play a role on how ice forms.

“That snow acts as a blanket. And so, the ice underneath that is forming, doesn’t form as clear or as strong as it would have would there not have been the snow cover and the wind action,” said Lundstrom.

There are some simple ways to check ice thickness when going to your favorite ice fishing spot.

“We always recommend that you bring an ice chisel with. If you’re walking out, check those depths with the ice chisel or if you prefer, dig a few holes along your way,” said Lundstrom.

And equipment to always carry with you in case the unthinkable happens.

“Always have a set of ice picks on you. It’s always good to have a life jacket with too,” said Lundstrom.

Anglers need to be aware of springs and pressure ridges, too.

“There are quite a few areas in North Dakota that do have springs underneath the water. And so, those are not areas that we can necessarily mark. In regard to pressure ridges, the rule of thumb is stay away from them. They’re unstable ice to begin with, that’s why the ridge is there,” said Lundstrom.

Lundstrom said it’s always good idea to have a plan and let someone know where you’re going.