While ice fishing has been in full swing for several months, anglers heading out are encouraged to bring a friend and check the ice often as they make their way to their favorite fishing spot.
“Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water, even in the middle of the winter. Things like melting snow and runoff can create weak spots and lakes with current or springs will have areas with slower ice growth,” says Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Anglers should also avoid areas with things sticking through the ice like rocks, trees or docks that will conduct heat and make the ice around it less stable.”
The winter storm that left a fresh blanket of snow over most of Iowa will cover potential areas to avoid, so anglers are advised to use safety techniques usually associated with new ice.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recommends a minimum of four inches of quality ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.
Anglers should pack ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and should bring a floatation seat cushion that they can sit on while they fish. It could then be used in case of a rescue.