Nebulus Flotation Device

Ice Aggressor Spud bar

Clam Ice Picks

Late/Early Season Ice Safety  

After reading about an ice rescue just a few miles from my house, and hearing about a quad going through in shallow water even closer, I thought it was time to remind everybody about staying safe on the ice. There are a few companies making great quality cold water suits that will help a person stay afloat should they happen to go through the ice, but at a high dollar price tag not everyone can afford one of these, so here are a few simple, cheaper ways to make sure you stay safe on the ice.

PFD - Just about every company makes an affordable flotation suite these days but if you're the diehard in Carhartts than a life jacket will come in handy. Yes, everyone wants to look cool, but in a sport that can kill you if you don't respect it, I'd rather look goofy than the alternative.

Other Fisherman - I never fish alone. Very simple, and free. I drive to places by myself, and don't always have someone to meet me there, but if I pull up to the launch and there is no one else there, I find somewhere else to fish.

Creepers - Early and late in the season there tends to be less snow on the ice and more water, making for a very slick surface. A fall on the ice can break a bone or at the very least be embarrassing. You need something to help you keep traction on the ice. 

Spud - A spud is essential and will save your life. Just give the ice a couple of good whacks every couple of steps. If it cracks out or you have some water creep in where you hit the ice, head in another direction.

Ice picks - Ice picks should be worn around your neck and down your sleeves. If you do go through the ice they are already within hands reach without fumbling in your pockets. You stab them into the ice and just pull yourself out.
Should you go through and have to pull yourself out, it's important to remember not to stand up right away. You want to roll away from the hole. Your weight being more evenly dispersed. You can even make your own set with an old broom handle, a couple masonry nails, a drill, and a cord from an old hoodie.

Whistle - If you go through and can't get yourself out this will let you alert other people in the area that you need help. After you've fallen into cold water odds are it will be louder than your voice yelling for help.

Marine rope - A marine rope might not save your life, but it could help you save another ice fisherman. I carry one about 50 feet with a caribiner clip on the end to let the person in the water wrap around themselves and attach it. If I ever need to use it will let me help someone out of the water without getting too close to the weakened ice putting myself in danger.

Nebulus - This is a device that you strap to your ATV or snowmobile and at a pull of the cord, it inflates to hold 1000 pounds. Preventing your machine from going to the bottom of the lake and providing 18 cubic feet of room for you to get in and stay dry(ish) until help can get you out. If you're using a machine on ice you should definitely have one of these.

 Any one of these eight things can be the difference in a tragic day on the ice and everyone getting home for the fish fry. We all want to be out there during early and late ice, as the bite seems to be more voracious than in between, but we need to remember to stay safe.

Until next time friends....

Kahtoola Microspikes