Go Fish with Chuck Martin

I don’t like this bitter cold weather. I would prefer that “Benny the Bass’s” prediction (at the Buckeye Lake Winterfest) of an early spring be accurate, but I suppose a bass’s weather forecasting is no better than a groundhog’s.

But it looks like we may have something of an ice fishing season.

But if you are tempted to venture out on the ice to catch some walleye, bluegill or whatever, make safety your first priority. There are many websites pushing ice fishing safety and most say essentially the same thing:

No ice is completely safe, but you can take steps to make your trip as safe as possibly.

New, clear ice, formed by the direct freezing of water, is safer than old ice or ice formed from freezing show. This Polar Vortex is certainly going to provide the cold!

Anyway, four inches of new, clear ice is usually enough to support one person on foot.

There should be five inches before you venture out on a snowmobile or ATV, while eight to 12 inches will support a small pickup and 12- to 18-inches for a medium truck.

Remember that ice is not always uniform. Currents and springs can eat ice from underneath and ice near bridges and culverts should not be trusted.

Don’t trust ice on flood control lakes because the rise and fall of water levels can make ice dangerous.

Weed growth should also be avoided because the decomposition of weeds will generate heat, which can weaken ice.

Wear a life vest or flotation suit, carry ice picks (which you can use to crawl back on the ice if you fall through), have a rope with you, carry a spud bar or something similar to test ice ahead of you and don’t go alone.

Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Don’t drink alcohol. It doesn’t warm you up, but instead makes you more susceptible to the cold.

And while you’re loading a sled to carry all that, don’t forget your fishing tackle.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or cmartin@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews




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