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Thin ice

Winter anglers are often tempted to traverse thin ice. 

YELLOWSTONE — As temperatures take a dive around the state, anglers are often tempted to venture onto thin ice. Here are a few safety tips to ensure your ice fishing adventure doesn’t become a polar plunge.

Safety First!

Ice fishing is generally a safe activity if you pay attention to ice conditions and remember that they can change from day to day.

The best way to check ice thickness is to drill a test hole before venturing too far. Follow these guidelines — and remember, it’s ultimately your responsibility to determine if it’s safe to be on the ice.

General guidelines for ice safety

  • Three to 4 inches of solid ice is the minimum to support a person, and thicker ice is needed for groups.
  • Ten inches of solid ice are needed to support an ATV or snow machine.
  • Ice does not typically get thick enough to drive cars and trucks on Idaho’s lakes and reservoirs.
  • Drill test holes to determine thickness — and remember, thickness is not always uniform. Holes can be no larger than 10-inches in diameter for safety’s sake.
  • Beware of conditions that can create weak ice, such as inlets and outlets, springs, or near docks and other structures that can absorb sunlight and weaken ice.

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