While most Iowans have done at least a little grumbling about this week’s extreme cold, there’s one group of sturdy outdoor lovers who are reveling in the frigid conditions — those who ice fish.
Brian Lammers is Hamilton County’s conservation director and says many of the region’s lakes and rivers have at least a solid foot of ice, but he says you should always err on the side of caution. “Ice conditions vary on different portions of any body of water,” Lammers says. “It’s just best to use precautionary measures. If you’re not sure, don’t venture out. Just because you see one set of tracks doesn’t mean it’s always safe.”
A few tips — never go out to ice fish alone. Wear or carry a floatation device. Carry ice picks so that if you do go through, you can grip the ice and pull yourself out. Also, check the ice thickness frequently. “You want to look for ice conditions, good clear blue ice is a good sign,” Lammers says. “Anytime you see a black or dark-colored ice with any type of honeycomb configurations in it, that’s probably a sign of weaker ice.”
Another tip to remember: there’s no such thing as 100-percent safe ice. Learn more about ice fishing at www.iowadnr.gov.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City