With winter comes ice fishing in New York State, and with it comes the need for safety and caution. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or new to the sport of ice fishing, it’s important to review the ice safety guidelines before heading out. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos recently reminded anglers that they should exercise caution when venturing onto the ice due to wild weather fluctuations this season. Let’s break down the key elements of staying safe on the ice while enjoying a great day of fishing.
Check Ice Thickness Before Venturing Out
The most important safety tip for all anglers is to check the thickness of the ice before leaving shore. According to DEC standards, four inches of solid clear ice is usually considered safe for walking on, but it can vary from location to location. If you see any evidence that suggests unsafe conditions—such as cracks or chunks—err on the side of caution and find another spot or wait until conditions improve. In addition, pay attention to areas near inlets, outlets, and docks as these locations are usually more susceptible to changes in weather conditions compared with other spots on larger bodies of water.
Wear Appropriate Clothing and Gear
It’s also important that winter recreationists dress appropriately when out on the ice. Wear several layers of clothing instead of one heavy layer; this will help keep your body temperature regulated no matter what kind of weather you may be exposed to during your outing. Additionally, make sure you have proper gear like gloves, hats, snow boots with good traction, and even a life jacket if possible. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption When Ice Fishing
Lastly, it is recommended that anglers avoid drinking alcohol while out on the ice. Alcohol consumption can slow your reaction time, lead to unsafe decisions, and increase the chance of hypothermia. Be responsible while enjoying your ice fishing trip.
Plan Your Next Ice Fishing Outing Today
Overall, being safe when participating in recreational activities like ice fishing is always key; by following these tips from DEC Commissioner Seggos and taking extra precautionary measures whenever necessary, we can ensure everyone has an enjoyable time while staying protected from potential harm. So grab your gear and get ready for an exciting day out on the lake—just don’t forget your safety protocols. Happy fishing!
- New York State DEC: DEC Encourages Anglers to Safely Enjoy Ice Fishing this Winter