Midwest cold snap prompts ice fishing safety reminder
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As the first significant cold spell makes its way through the midwest, ice fishermen are packing up their gear and heading to the lakes. This means it’s a good time for safety reminders to avoid a dangerous situation on the frozen water.
“There’s not a whole lot else we can do this time of year in South Dakota. So if you want to be outside and enjoy the outdoors, ice fishing is one of those great options for you. It’s just important to remember to bring along your safety equipment,” Josh Heitkamp said, the manager of Dakota Angler in Sioux Falls.
Heitkamp has three things that all fishermen should remember before going on the lake, first is a spud bar.
“Just to check the ice out in front of you as you walk. That’s step one, to make sure before you take that step out, that the ice is safe in front of you. If it takes one jab to go through generally it’s not going to be safe to walk out on it,” Heitkamp said.
The second is a pair of ice picks.
“These are going to be the tool that if you end up going through the ice, this is what’s going to get you out of the water,” Heitkamp said.
Most importantly is a floatation suit.
“These are what’s going to keep you buoyant. It’s not going to keep you afloat for 30 minutes, but 10 minutes. Enough time for you to get your picks out to be able to pull yourself out,” Heitkamp said.
It is recommended to have at least 3-5 inches of good ice to walk out, 7-9 inches for a 4-wheeler, and a foot to 15 inches for any larger vehicles.
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks are reporting 6-7 inches of ice in the Sioux Falls area and 10 or more inches in the Aberdeen area.
Once the ice is thick enough to take those larger vehicles out, it’s important to remember to keep your windows down and your seatbelt off. So that you are able to open the door and get out as quickly as possible.
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