Well the recent fishing reports say due to the warm spells and rain, The ice fishing has ended. It will probably take several weeks of extreme cold to get the water frozen enough to safely support a person to venture out to fish and what ever else they do. You need at least 4″ of solid ice to support an average person. 5 with gear and fishing.I would need 6!! Vehicles need 10-12″ of solid ice.
If you find the right conditions to go out on the ice, always have on a PFD, and ice picks connected by a string that is as long as your arms, which you would carry over your shoulders or running down sleeves of your coat. And ice cleats will help you stay sure footed on the slick ice so you don’t fall and hurt yourself. These will help you get out in the event you fall through! Also carry a long rope in your pocket, so you can help someone out of the water or they can help you.
Some northern guys wear mustang survival suits when they are out on the ice! If you fall in, these will help prevent hypothermia and provides floatation. Never walk across fractured/ cracks in ice. Use a chisel to check the ice thickness.If it penetrates or cracks the ice, follow your path back and get off the ice. Use common sense if you decide to go ice fishing. Always let somebody know where you will be and check with pros or local people that know about the ice conditions on the body of water you are at. If the ice doesn’t look like it will hold , don’t take the chance.Several factors come into play on ice thickness.
NEW ICE VS. OLD ICE. Clear blue, freshly formed ice is much stronger than old ice that has been partially thawed or broken up and refrozen.
LAKE NARROWS. Unprotected, weedy, dark-bottom narrows between lakes or lake basins are often shallow and subject to current flow, inhibiting ice formation.
RIVER CURRENTS. River ice varies greatly in thickness, depending on the channel depth, bottom content and current velocity.
SPRINGS. Inflowing springs bring warmer, moving water that can create pockets
of open water or thin ice.
ICE CRACKS, HEAVES AND RIDGES. Anglers should avoid pressure cracks, heaves and ridges. Such areas form when layers of thickening ice expand, often leaving lines of open water that may expand as winds shift the ice.
We don’t have the cold periods of weather like we did in the days before the 1980s ! Unless your in Minnesota!
Be careful out there folks! Fishing is fun but not worth the risk of drowning!!
I hope this helps you in your quest for some late season ice fishing.