This year embrace winter and try something new: ice fishing. 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:
These perch were caught at Curlew Lake in December 2020.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife does not measure ice on fishing lakes and cannot guarantee ice fishing safety, so be extremely careful.
These are rough guidelines. WDFW does NOT recommend taking motorized vehicles on ice. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
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):
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, including where to give ice fishing a try, visit the WDFW ice fishing page. There is also a wealth of how-to information to check out thanks to resources from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.
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