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Fishing WisconsinSafety first! Ice fishing in Wisconsin

Stay warm!
Bundle up for cold weather!

We hope you have a great ice fishing season, but also a safe one. Check out these tips to increase your safety while you're on and around the ice.

Stay on top of the ice.

The DNR does not monitor ice conditions or the thickness of the ice. Check ice conditions before heading out. Make sure the ice is at least four inches thick before walking out onto it. If taking a snowmobile, ATV or other vehicle, at least five (5) inches is needed to safely travel onto the ice. Because thickness can vary across an area, check more than one spot. Remember this rule of thumb: "Thick and blue, tried and true. Thin and crispy, way too risky."


Stay warm.

Dress in layers. Wear wool hats, mittens and waterproof boots. Bring a wool blanket or sleeping bag and handwarmers for your hands and feet. Ice shanties keep the wind and blowing snow from chilling you to the bone.

Don't get lost.

To avoid getting lost on a large lake, be aware of daylight and weather conditions. Learn to use a map and compass to stay oriented.

Ice Claw
An ice claw could save your life.

Make simple tools.

You can make a simple tool that could help save your life if you fall through. Drive nails in one end of two stubby dowels, drill a hole in each of the other ends and tie a rope through the holes. Keep this and a piece of rope in an accessible pocket. These tools can help yourself or others if a break through occurrs. Use it to dig into the ice and quickly claw your way out if you fall through. Once on the ice surface, crawl or roll in the direction that you were coming from and call for help or assistance.

Don't go out alone.

Head out with fishing friends. Take a cell phone if available and make sure someone knows where you are and when you are expected to return.

Last revised: Monday December 17 2012