Ice Conditions Continue to Deteriorate
“There is always a level of risk associated with ice fishing,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Even during our coldest winters, ice conditions vary and are never totally safe.”
The record setting warm spell over much of Iowa has eliminated ice fishing over the southern two thirds of the state and is stressing ice quality on many of the northern lakes. The tragic incidents of three anglers drowning recently while ice fishing in Madison and Black Hawk counties brings the safety discussion to the forefront.
“Ice fishing is a lot of fun and a social activity many of us look forward to each year. If you are going out, head north and plan to check the ice thickness often. Bring safety items like 50 feet of rope and a throwable cushion, like the kind we have in a boat. And do not go out alone,” said Larscheid. “If the ice does not look right, don’t go out.”
Ice depths are not uniform on any body of water and there is no such thing as safe ice. There are many factors that impact ice formation making some locations thinner than others. With the warm weather, ice conditions can change a lot in one day. Verify the ice thickness for yourself and test it often.