The Coast Guard advises sportsmen to drill through the ice to determine depth before advancing onto the ice. Thickness can vary as much as 12 inches within 10 feet.
Officials offer these Ice Fishing Guidelines:
- One person: 2 inches of ice.
- Two people: 4 inches.
- Snowmobile: 5 inches.
- A car: 8 inches.
- A light truck: 12 inches.
Officials warn that ice does not form in uniform thickness, so people deciding to venture on to the ice should check thickness often. Check with local bait and tackle shops for current information for that area.
The Coast Guard also offers this advice when going out on ice:
- Use the buddy system. Never go alone.
- Wear an exposure suit that is waterproof and a life preserver.
- Try to wear orange and carry a whistle to help rescuers in case you plunge through the ice.
- Carry two ice picks or screw drivers to help you pull yourself out of the water.
- Put your cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag. You can use it to call for help after you’ve been in the water.
- Bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet.
- Leave a travel itinerary with a friend or family member and stick to it.
Dale Stroschein’s Wacky Walleye Guide Service has been guiding Door County open water and ice fishing for 25 years. Dale is a regular featured guest on John Gillespie’s Wisconsin’s Waters and Woods. To book your next guide trip call 920.743.5731 or visit www.WackyWalleye.com.