Tips to keep you safe when ice fishing this winter

Dec 20, 2023, 12:45 PM

Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months. (Utah Division of Wildli...

Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — Ice fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.

If you do go, however, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says there are a few safety tips to keep in mind.

The basics

If you are going to be out on a lake during the winter months, staying warm is important. The DWR recommends dressing in layers and have all the necessary equipment to stay warm.

Additionally, if you bring children, it’s not a bad idea to have something warm to eat or drink, such as soup or hot cocoa.

Another danger of ice fishing is the potential of falling through the ice. The DWR advices not to step onto the ice unless it is at least 4 inches thick.

The DWR also offers additional tips when considering the thickness of the ice.

  • The thickness can fluctuate across a lake.
  • Don’t assume the thickness is the same for the entire lake.
  • Large groups of people and equipment should not be in small areas – spread the weight out.

Large groups of people and equipment should not be in small areas – spread the weight out. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Trina Hedrick, DWR sportfish coordinator, also offers some other safety suggestions that could save a life.

“As a basic precaution, you should also purchase and always wear ice safety picks, which can help you get out of the water if you fall through the ice,” she said in a news release. “I’d also recommend taking a throw rope with you, and it’s always a good idea to have someone else with you when ice fishing.”

Additional safety tips can be found by clicking here.

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Other things to know about ice fishing

In addition to staying safe, it’s also important to follow the law when ice fishing.

The most common mistakes that DWR conservations officers encounter are:

  • License violations
  • Fish caught exceed the legal limit

“Quite often, ice fishing is so good that people can forget about the regulations and take too many fish,” DWR Capt. Chad Bettridge said in a news release. “If you are lucky enough to experience one of those kinds of fishing trips, please remember the rules so other anglers can enjoy that same kind of day later on.”

For a map of where to go fishing around the state, click here.

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Tips to keep you safe when ice fishing this winter