Anglers encouraged to use caution on ice covered lakes

Warmer temperatures will begin causing weak spots on frozen waters 

PRATT – A recent cold-spell had many Kansas lakes covered in thick ice, creating ideal conditions for ice fishing, but even with very cold temperatures, ice anglers must be vigilant. Now that temperatures are warming, extreme caution must be used in avoiding weak spots on lakes and reservoirs.

If you have an itch to drop a line this winter, keep these following common-sense ice safety rules in mind:

  • Wait for at least 4 inches of clear, hard ice before venturing out on foot.
  • Make test holes as you venture out to determine the thickness and quality of ice.
  • Avoid ice over moving water, springs, or where large flocks of ducks or geese have roosted.
  • Never icefish alone.
  • Carry or wear a personal floatation device.
  • Carry ice handspikes, which can help you climb out of the water and on to ice if you fall through.
  • Include in your gear a length of rope and float cushion; something that could be thrown to someone who’s fallen through.
  • Avoid ice if temperatures have recently warmed; avoid honeycombed or dark ice.

Remember that no ice is truly safe. Err on the side of caution, and if you have any doubts, stay off. It only takes minutes for hypothermia to take effect in icy water, making a fall through the ice deadly serious. Icefishing is a great way to catch fish and enjoy the winter outdoors, but it requires attention and caution.

Information and photo thanks to Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

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