Ice Fishing: tips to staying safe - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ice Fishing: tips to staying safe


 By Patrick Manning - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

 SCHOFIELD (WAOW) -- It's starting to feel more and more like winter outside, and ice anglers are taking advantage of it. But is it safe yet?

 Ice fishing is a sport loved by many people who live in central Wisconsin. But before you head out on the ice, check to see if the conditions are safe.

"You never know. It doesn't freeze equally. It might be two inches here, but one inch over there," says Chris Barber, of the Wausau fire department.

 Barber says it's not a good idea to start ice fishing unless it's at least 4 inches thick.

Otherwise, you might be sorry.

"If you break through, try to get yourself out, try to self-rescue. Basically, try to swim yourself onto the ice," he says.

Above the Schofield dam on the Eau Claire river, Saturday the ice was measured by anglers to be a little more than four inches thick.

One fisher we spoke to tells us to be safe he avoids conditions that may still have a current.

"This [area] doesn't have much current. So the ice forms sooner here, and gets thicker faster," says Rick Jones.

Another avid angler says when you're approaching the ice, examine the area and take it slow.

"Safety wise, I feel comfortable with a couple of inches as long as you use precautions, common sense walking out. Four inches is usually a good, safe number. But you still want to check, because there could be a couple of spots you may not be aware of," says John Haegerl.

Barber also recommends to not go ice fishing alone. If you fall in the water, get a hold of the surface as fast as your can.

"If they happen to break through, hypothermia would set in and you don't have the ability to hang on once your hands get cold, if you can get yourself out you are better off than waiting for someone to get there," he says.

Barber says these tips will help you stay safe, but to use your best judgment so you can have a fun and bountiful ice fishing season.

Online Reporter: Patrick Manning


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