No Ice Is Safe

Check Locally for Ice Information

An article from WWA’s Words From The Wardens.

This article originally appeared in Wisconsin Waterfowl Association’s February, 2021 eNewsletter

By Lt. Tyler Strelow/Supervisor of the DNR Mississippi River Warden Team

One of the best things about Wisconsin is that there are four seasons and many opportunities for year-round fun.

Wisconsin Waterfowl Association members are outdoor enthusiasts. With the swings in winter weather and the abundance of Wisconsin waters, I want to stress the importance of ice safety to make all your outdoor events safe, fun and memorable.

The first thing to always remember is ice is never predictable – and should never be considered safe.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not monitor ice conditions. Please check in with your local fishing clubs, outfitters or bait shops to get a sense of local conditions. And be mindful, ice conditions can vary across one body of water.

Here are a few more safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Fish or walk with a friend. It’s safer and more fun.
  2. Carry a cell phone, and let people know where you’re going and when you’ll return home.
  3. Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or a float coat, to help you stay afloat and slow body heat loss.
  4. Wear creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.
  5. Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas.
  6. Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the ice.
  7. Do not travel in unfamiliar areas – or at night.
  8. Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have currents that can thin the ice.
  9. Look for clear ice. Clear ice is generally stronger than ice with air bubbles in it or with snow on it.
  10. Watch out for pressure ridges or ice heaves. These can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water.
  11. Take extra mittens or gloves, so you always have a dry pair.
  12. Driving on ice is always a risk. Use good judgment and consider alternatives.

Because of unstable conditions and unpredictability, anyone who travels on frozen lakes and rivers is taking a risk and should use caution.

Enjoy your outings and stay safe out there!

For more information: visit /topic/OutdoorRecreation/activities/iceSafety.html