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How do you know when the lake is ready or if it is even safe?

Discussion in 'Hard Water Discussions' started by fishintiger, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. I fish a lake most of the time that I would like to ice fish on. The only problem is that it is feed from a creek at one end and has a dam on the other end. How can I tell if the ice is safe to walk on or not? I have gone over to it in Mid March as it is starting to warm up and there is still a pretty good layer of ice on it but how can I tell. I really don't want to end up on the front page of the newspaper when all I wanted to do was fish. Thanks guys.

  2. If you know there is a feeder creek and current there, keep away from that area. The saying goes "NO ICE IS SAFE ICE" and with that said, and this is MY experience only and I DO NOT recommend doing this to ANY of you, but I have been out on and fished 2 inches of ice without going through. I'm 6'3" tall and weigh 330lb. To be safer, I'd wait until 4" for those who are less daring(or smarter). But, if you fish a lake that has currents and/or springs, then you need to be EXTREMELY careful. Always fish with a buddy, stay 10-20 yards apart when going out, wear a life jacket, carry some spikes with you, carry a 30-50ft length of rope too, and a boat seat cushion. You may need to help someone out there. Lots of things you can do to be safer. Safety in numbers is the way to go. Oh yeah, keep an extra change of clothes in your car/truck too. Can come in handy to get you warm again if you go in.

    I have yet to go through in all my years of ice fishing, and don't plan on doing it any time soon, but be ready, just in case.

  3. crappielooker

    crappielooker The Corn Chucker

    i'll just walk behind big daddy to make sure its safe.. i usually wait until a few braver souls goes out there first, then i'll follow them.
  4. I Ice Fish Pits Alot And I Always Tie Off A Safety Rope If Possible. Unless Im Familiar With The Ice Ill Drill One Hole Off Shore Ten Feet Or So To Check Thickness And Water Level. Ice Is Ussualy Thicker In The Middle But Sometimes Shifting Ice Will Appear As A Rise In The Ice 6-12in. Avoid These Areas Also. :)
  5. bttmline

    bttmline E.B.C.C. Founder

    what ever you do, do not stand between big daddy, big country, craig fletcher and gator. but if you do see these guys in one area you can probaply feel safe to fish from your car out there.
    but being serious you should always be aware of your surroundings, and aware of others around you. when on the ice all must look out for each other. and like b.d. said, ice fishing is best done as a buddy plan. you can be on 10 in and find bad ice. so don't rush out there, try your smaller ponds first to bide your time on the reservoirs and lakes. if you need some one to fish with and can't find some nearby give us a howler on here. it will be better to
    venture out with some one with ice experience to help get started. a pry bar is a good investment. it will help find weak ice.
    well just be careful and be aware.
  6. Best way I know of is to carry a spud bar and hit the ice in front of you if it goes through you probably will too. Check it that way befor getting on it. after you get a few feet from shore drill a test hole and check the thickness, I think 4 inches of clear good ice is the recomended min. continue to check it as you wok your way to where you want to fish. I have fished on as little as 2 1/2 inches, not smart and not safe, and as much as 28 inches, alot of work with an 8 inch hand auger.

  7. chaunc

    chaunc Staff Member

    I start checking the shallow area that i fish first. I know the water depth there because i'm familiar with the area. A lot less pucker power when you know the water under you is only 3 feet deep as compared to 10 ft. I drill holes every 5 ft, and check thickness. If it starts at 3" and 5ft out farther it's only 2", i stop and head back to shore. Give it a few more days and repeat this process. When it's 4 inches consistently, i'll fish. Anything less is unacceptable to me. Some of those little guys, 130lbs or so, will fish thin ice. Not me.I'm 240. Better safe than sorry.
  8. I talked with a local bait shop over the weekend and they said that the lake usually freezes over pretty good. Now I just have to wait until it freezes and I need to get some ice gear. This will be the only time you hear me say this but Come on cold weather. I want some ice.
  9. fishingful

    fishingful Time to fish!

    crappielooker took the words out of my mouth :rolleyes: i followed big dady out on magadore last year on about 2 in of ice 1.5 turns of the auger and you had a hole but we had the safty equipment with us and i would not go out by myself ........just dont tell my wife ;) ........jim :eek:
  10. If you want to fish thin Ice I'dpush a small john boat out with you to be safe and fish from it . We use to do this on a17 ac pond that was spring feed and had no problems. If your at buckeye lake and fall thru look for my brother to come out and drag your butt out of the water. When I was on the Fire Dept in Millersport we use to get all kinds of calls we went clear to new lex to pull 2 guys out one made it and one didn;t they were fishing about 2 inches of ice with warm temps in the day time not good as the sun and ice makes as a magnifin glass efect on the ice. Just my 2 cents so think before you go out and be safe Later Matt
  11. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    I always like to see fresh footprints if possible and see other guys out there already. I usually walk where others have walked whenever possible. Of course i never crowd anyone, i kinda enjoy being alone sometimes, the lack of sound except for the wind and the spinning of the vex is almost hypnotic.

    And the flopping sound of a fish on the ice is nice too.

    Personally i am nervous if there is anything less than 4" of good clear ice. Ill fish on less but it isnt as much fun to me. (nerves.....aka "pucker factor"

    I love to strike off on my own when my confidence in the ice is high.

    Last year (first ice) at mosquito there was about 3" of pure "black" ice, but the sound was indescribable. The ice was getting thicker and really "singing"! almost similar to thunder but a pinging sound, from far away, then it gets closer, and then goes past you...... constantly..."peeewwwwwwwwwww......peeewwwwwwwwwwwww........" ill never forget that! but i guess thats a good sound cause it means the ice is getting thicker.

    Ive never heard ice make noise when its melting. Except when it cracks apart as you fall through. been there done that. each time, i shoulda known i do. each time was different, too. any ice that isnt pure( air bubbles or frozen snow) black (clear) thick (4" min. imHo) ice is potentially dangerous ice.

    1. watch out for ice near the edges, after the end of a long, sunny day, the ice you walked out on perfectly safely in the morning might not be so safe at dusk.

    2. avoid ice that has broken apart and refrozen. itll look like a mass of frozen ice chunks.

    (anyone/everyone), learn from my mistakes. the water under the ice is "burning" cold.

    Not to scare anyone off from trying ice fishing, beleive me. Its FUN! Just have to be careful out smart and be safe and have fun!
  12. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman

    hey Tony, did I get you hooked last year??:D We will have to get together again and find some of those gils liek we did last year. Take it easy man
  13. From experience, I know the two places in NE Ohio that freeze first.

    It's usually after an extended period of nights below freezing(mid-20's) followed by a good WEEK of constant below freezing temps, with the coldest days with highs in the teens and single digit lows, but a good solid week of temps between 0 and 25 degrees, BUT!!! be careful how much snow comes down and stays on the ice. It can act as an insulator and slow down ice formation.

    Then, I take a ride out to Old State Park at Portage Lakes to scout. If anyone is out fishing, I'll head to Mogadore off Congress Lake Rd and scout. If folks are out there, I go home, get all my stuff together, toss and turn all night, and call off work the next day with a SERIOUS case of the fishing flu. Then, I head back to OSP. It's ALWAYS the first to freeze and I always start there for my first trip of the year. Sort of a tradition. Usually, I'll catch 70-100 dink gills with a bass in between, maybe a crappie, depends. Anyway, the heron is VERY happy after my first trip out. LOL.

    When I go, I'll post and any of you are welcome to meet me on the ice any time.
  14. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    Hey BD Id like to come, if its on a Sat. or Sun. :)
    kayak1979 likes this.
  15. No problem.

    Look for an UPDATED PAGE concerning the Presque Isle trip raffle. The dates have been chosen, the raffle is still going on. Going to post a nice page so we can get it rolling. Almost time!!!

  16. I wouldn't say it is hooked. I would use the term addicted. It was a blast. I have a couple of places here that I want to try out and see what I/we can find. I would definetly like to get some more gils like last year. This year though I am going to get a fish club and thump them a couple of times before I go to clean them. Nothing like a fish flopping across the cutting board.