Handy Tips and Tricks to Stay Safe While Ice Fishing


Ah, the outdoors! The warm breeze, tender green leaves, warm, sun-kissed skin. Wait. There are no leaves on the trees. What is this white stuff on the ground? Why are my steps crunching? Oh No! It’s WINTER! Hold on. We can go ice fishing! Handy shares a few tips and tricks to stay warm and safe while ice fishing.

Let’s dive into ice fishing while avoiding diving through the ice!

Ice fishing is a relaxing, almost meditating winter activity that has a few adrenaline-filled moments. We want to avoid having dangerous moments on the ice, however, as exposure is a real danger to this family fun activity.

Ice Thickness. Quite obviously, you want to make sure the ice you will be standing on is thick enough to support your weight. Ice can be deceptive, however. Judging ice thickness is not something that should be judged by eyesight alone. Following local ice reports is ideal. If your area allows ice fishing, then there is bound to be guides and daily reports. If you are new to ice fishing, or new to the area, find your nearest bait store and ask. Those guys want your business and will be more than happy to provide you with the best local report available. A good rule is anything under two inches of ice is unsafe and will not support the weight of an adult.

Warm Clothes. This one is a given, as you will be spending time outside during the winter. However, there are warm clothes, and then there are clothes that will keep you alive! A high visibility float suit can save your life if the ice gives way beneath you. While a bright orange suit may not be appealing, the high visibility means faster rescue. Having reflective stripes will also help in case of rescue. While any rescue is time sensitive, winter rescue when water is involved, seconds can mean the difference between rescue and body recovery.

Spud Bar. This handy little stick is more than just a walking stick. Actually, it is not a walking stick at all, although it can definitely keep you standing. This hard pole is used to test the ice! Careful not to poke your feet with it, however, as the spud bar has a chisel or blade at one end. A few hard strokes on the ice will help you determine if it’s safe to walk on. If your spud bar goes through the ice, it’s time to turn back!

Ice pick and Rope. It’s not just for mountaineering! This cheap piece of equipment can keep you afloat and give rescue time to reach you. Simply wear them through your sleeves, the same way your mother kept your mittens through your winter coat as a child. In a pinch, you will be able to dig the ice pick into the ice, and possibly even pull yourself out of the water!


Ice fishing is a healthy hobby where you can spend time with family and friends, and even catch some food! Staying safe while doing any kind of sports is of the utmost importance, and we hope you will consider staying safe with Handy tips and tricks!