Caution when ice fishing

Ice Fishing Boat Small

Caution when ice fishing

The recent polar vortex gave us some solid ice for the first time in a couple of years. If you could stand the elements with the aid of a good shanty and heater, you might have been able to entice some nice panfish.

But up and down weather can be a bane to those who fish in the winter, too. The quick warmup in midweek left us with a lot of melting snow, which yields plenty of standing water, an aspect my ice fishing buddies and I abhor. We hate standing in cold water. Along with a slushy mix, the combo prove to make for some miserable conditions to fish.

The latest predicted snow along with frigid temperatures can lead to standing on a thinner layer of ice, which breaks and leaves you standing in cold water again. Water on top of ice can make conditions quite unsafe and drastically weaken ice. Years ago, a buddy and I went out again after a period of melting snow. We gingerly and cautiously checked the ice, which was at least 9 inches thick. We augered a hold while standing on shore. The ice appeared safe. I took one step onto the ice and my foot went through. I was there with one leg in the water and the other one shore. Needless to say we didn’t do any ice fishing that day. Always carry a long rope with you and a pair of hand ice grippers. They come in handy should you go through the ice. And don’t fish alone.

A hot bit locally had been reported on Ferguson Reservoir where yellow perch about 9-12 inches were being caught under 7-8 inches of ice and 22-25 feet of water. Use ice jigs tipped with waxworms or just a minnow.

There had been hordes of ice anglers on Lake Erie. And there have been reports of walleye and yellow perch being caught through the ice 1 to 3 miles west and northwest of Catawba Island State Park. There also have been reports of panfish being caught in the harbors. Recent strong winds and warmer weather have affected ice conditions so use extreme caution when ice fishing on Lake Erie or any other area bodies of water covered with ice until it definitely firms up again.

Originally posted on January 12, 2018 by Al Smith – Guest Columnist at LimaOhio.com

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