Ice fishing is upon us! Some waters are open on larger and moving waters, thin ice is on more open waters, but higher altitude lakes, and sheltered waters, are frozen.
Check for safe ice! I stay off ice that is fractured, mushy, or less than 5 inches thick. Big Boys need Big Boy ice! Use a ski pole or ice chipper to feel your way onto the ice.
Wear a pair of bibs, or ice fishing suit, that has floatation. A pair of safety ice picks around your neck is always a good idea. These corded handles have a sharp nail on them to stab your way out of the water. Use your legs to kick as you flop back onto the ice. If the ice does not look safe, stay off it! No fish is worth dying over.
Check your local Ice Fishing groups. Facebook has the Montana Ice Fishing Group. You may also want to sign up on www.iceshanty.com. This national site has local blogs with incredible information.
Ice Fishermen are the friendliest bunch of Sportsmen! We share info. and look out for each other. On a cold winter day fishing on Canyon Ferry, a guy stepped into an ice hole. When he went down, he snapped his thigh bone! Talk about screaming! Before you knew it, several groups of nearby ice fishermen were on site. They cut holes close to his leg, so they could carefully free him. Next, they were able to lay him onto an ice sled. A second guy, with a wheeler, prepared to slide him to safety. Another was on the cellphone with a local Fire and Rescue. As he was ready to leave, another old guy handed him a flask! Within 15 minutes, the lone fisherman was saved.
Sharing Ice Fishing info. Is ok. Weather limits when we can fish. Most places are not crowded. Ice fishing is hard! Most people want to do it but… Most ice fishermen go fishing, few catch fish. Keep what you can eat, and is legal, but know the consumption warnings if they apply. Filet and prepare the filets properly.
Ice makes for a level playing field. Access is unlimited, boats are not needed, money will not buy you great fishing, few outfitters and guides will hog up the ice, the average guy can enjoy the entire lake.
When ice fishing is Hot, get on the right spot!
For more Montana Grant, catch him at www.montanagrantfishing.com.