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Be Careful and Prepare Before Heading Out on the Ice


February 12, 2016 - 12:06 PM



COLUMBUS – Winter appears to have finally arrived for good in Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) wants to encourage eager ice anglers to be cautious and aware of the conditions before ice fishing on Ohio waters. While Ohio offers an unparalleled fishing experience, it’s important to remember that no ice is safe ice, and any ice that is covered by snow should always be presumed to be unsafe.

Ice Fishing Safety Tips

  • Ice anglers should file a “float plan” to let people know when they will be out on the ice, where they will be fishing, where they will park their vehicles and when they will return home.
  • Always fish with a partner or in an area where several other anglers are present.
  • Contact a local ice guide or bait shop to ask about ice conditions.
  • Put a cellphone in a plastic bag to protect it from getting wet.
  • Adequately check the ice thickness before traveling onto the ice.
  • Dress properly for conditions, which should include wearing an approved life vest.

Staying Safe and Warm While Enjoying the Winter Weather

  • Dress warmly in layers. Start with insulating fabrics and use a final layer of protective fabrics.
  • Come prepared, be aware and know when to go indoors.
  • Keep your head, neck and hands covered, and wear waterproof boots.

Additionally, ice anglers should make sure they have a valid Ohio fishing license. Licenses expire on Feb. 29 so anglers should purchase a new license by March 1. Ice anglers should also know the size and daily limits for the fish they hope to catch.

For more information about dressing for the winter weather in Ohio, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/winter. To learn more about ice fishing in Ohio, go to wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/ice-fishing.

ODNR also licenses fishing guides in the Lake Erie region. For people interested in going on an ice fishing trip with a guide, go to wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/ice-fishing/ohio-ice-fishing-guides.
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