If you’re like many Eastern and North Central Washington residents, you are trying to socially distance from other people but growing restless with being cooped up inside with limited sources of entertainment — and you still have at least a couple more winter months ahead.
This year embrace winter and try something new: ice fishing. This sport makes it easy to avoid people, it’s outside, relaxing, and inexpensive. With some safety precautions, you can be doing it safely in no time.
When temperatures fall below freezing for an extended amount of time, the colder regions of the state (like Eastern and North Central Washington) turn into prime spots for catching trout, perch, and crappie through the ice.
Tips and tricks for fun and safe ice fishing:
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife does not measure ice on fishing lakes and cannot guarantee ice fishing safety, so be extremely careful.
Ice fishing essentials
The beauty of ice fishing is that you might already have much of what you need. (Some additional safety items you might be interested in are below):
Look for ice fishing opportunities at these eastern Washington lakes*:
Not sure how to get started? The video below, shot at Hog Canyon Lake, covers basic techniques for ice fishing and safety considerations.
Sorry to dwell on this, but as one Eastern Washington fishing guide said, “There is no such thing as safe ice; there are levels of thickness that can hold certain amounts of weight.”
Once wet, the human body can shut down quickly from hypothermia, so there are some safety tools you might want to consider investing in before heading out on the ice:
Most of these items are available at your community general or outdoors store and are all affordable items that can save you a lot of trouble with a small investment. But let’s hope you never have to use them.
For more information, visit the WDFW ice fishing page.
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