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· King of Eels
4,227 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The two best times of the year for ice fishing are early ice and late ice,both require care and caution.

Here are ice strength tables as posted by the Mass. Division of fisheries on their web sight,they originaly were from the Army corps. of engineers.

These ratings are for clear,new ice,snow ice is half the rated strength of clear new ice. River ice is 15% weaker even if it is clear and new,as it never freezes evenly.

Rotten or honey combed ice is never to be trusted. Honey combed ice is most prevelant this time of year when you have warm thawing days and below freezing nights, honeycombed ice that may support your weight first thing in the morning and can sink and break apart as soon as the sunlight begins to penetrate it..... if it looks iffy.... stay off of it!

Ice strength Table

2" ..... one person on foot
3" ..... group in single file
5" people)
71/2"..passenger car(2 tons)
8"......light truck(2 1/2 tons)
10"medium truck 3 1/2 tons
12"heavy truck 7-8 tons
15".....10 tons
20".....25 tons
25".....45 tons
30"....70 tons.

Always check ice thickness frequently if you are unfamiluar with the ice conditions.

In addition I carry a little Item called picks of life,they are a pair of spikes that have handles and can be kept around your neck to aid yourself in getting out if you should go in.
allways be wary of inlets and outlets,and rememember ice thickness can vary from spot to spot on the same lake.....please use caution and be fish is worth dieing for.

· Veteran
1,894 Posts
In addition I carry a little Item called picks of life,they are a pair of spikes that have handles and can be kept around your neck to aid yourself in getting out if you should go in.

You can make them out of phillip head screwdrivers and drill a hole in the handle of both so you put them around your neck

· Registered
1,065 Posts
I only carry them when its if I'm near where a stream enters the lake or its early or late in the season....
...If theres like 12" of ice out...I'll keep them in the bucket...

But I always drill a test hole before I go out....

· Registered User
18,706 Posts
As the season is close once again heres a reminder and to reiterate what Roccus already posted.

Be aware on snow-covered ice, as snow insulates ice, hampering solid ice formation, and it makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides the blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.
Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
Remember, ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly within a few inches.
Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on to a lake.
Daily temperature changes causes ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
Visit with locals – other anglers and people at local bait shops before going on a lake that’s unfamiliar.
The Game and Fish Department recommends that early in the winter it’s a good idea to double the ice thickness figures to be safe:
These tips could also help save a life:
Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
An ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
Treat hypothermia by removing wet clothing and replacing it with dry clothing. Place the victim in a sleeping bag – another item to take on all outings on the ice – with another person. Immediately transport the victim to a hospital.
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