Parker Dam State Park Manager Jim McCorkle says no ice is safe ice, so there are a few tips to keep in mind if you plan on going ice fishing.
First, always remember to check the thickness of the ice as you go.
“The ice doesn’t form in uniform ways across the lakes and ponds, it’s changing all the time,” said McCorkle.
The Fish and Boat Commission recommends at least four inches of ice for an individual and seven inches of ice for a group.
The second tip is to be aware of changing weather conditions.
“So if you’re out in the morning and it’s 30 degrees, the ice seems good,” McCorkle said. “You’re out there for most of the afternoon, the sun’s been out, or perhaps it’s raining, the conditions are going to change, again check the ice as you’re leaving as well.”
Third, always have the proper safety equipment with you in case the worst happens.
“You want to make sure you have ice awls with you, that’s something that can help you get out of the ice if you end up in the water,” he said.
When you head out on the ice, always bring a buddy, and wear a life vest or float coat.
And if you see someone who has fallen through the ice, don’t put yourself at risk of ending up in that same situation.
“You can try different objects out of your vehicle that you could maybe reach out to that person,” he said. “Around our lake we have ring buoys staged and some reach poles as well.”
And finally, if you’re heading to a State Park to ice fish, check the winter report that has all the park’s current ice and snow conditions.