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Trail's End

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Ice fishing is a great sport if you're prepared

Now that winter is really here and we are experiencing cold temperatures it would be a really good time to go out ice fishing. Ice fishing can be a really fun thing to do, but it can also be dangerous if you do not take the right precautions while out on the ice. Before you do go out, here are some safety tips and other helpful information to make sure that you are safe. For places to fish, rules and regulations, visit the fish and game website at www.fishandgame.idaho.gov. I hope that I will be able to go out ice fishing soon with my mom and dad. We all love to go out ice fishing because it is a great way to spend time with your friends and/or family.  

I decided to break down the things that you should consider before going out on the ice. These categories will be conditions, clothing, and equipment to take.

Conditions:

Make sure to wait to go out until there is at least four inches of solid, clear ice for you to walk on.

Do not go out when it is or has been raining because the rain makes the ice slick and you could slip and fall.

Do not go out in a big snow storm because you can’t see so you might get hurt.

When you go out to go ice fishing it should be a nice day when the sun is out (that’s the only type of day my mom would go out).

Clothing:

Good waterproof gloves.

Layers of pants; you will want to be warm because you will out in the open.

Winter boots.

A good hat.

A good winter coat.

Thick socks.

Layers of shirts to go under your coat.

Things to take:

A first aid kit.

A fishing pole.

Propane heater.

A cell phone (make sure that it is fully charged).

Small flashlight .

Spud bar (for checking ice thickness).

Camera (disposable works best).

Ice fishing shelter (if you’re super serious about it or if you are going to do it a lot).

Lantern.

Matches or lighter (for propane heater).

Food.

Drinks.

Sunglasses.

Something to sit on, like a stool.

A towel.

Tissues (in case your nose starts to run).

Extra gloves.

A fishing tackle box with all of your fishing essentials.

These are just a few things that you should bring with you but there are more things if you want to take them. In addition, make sure that you take plenty of snacks with you, especially if you have a kid along.

When you go out ice fishing you should always take another person with you in case of an emergency, such as if you or the other person were to fall into the water there would be someone there to help. Taking another person is a good idea also because if something happened the other person could go and get help.

You should never drink alcohol when out ice fishing because it messes with your judgment. It could cause you to do something that you normally would not do.

Although I have seen people out on the ice with their dogs while they are ice fishing, it is not a good idea to take your dog(s) because they get cold and they could hurt themselves out on the ice by slipping and falling down and they could fall through the ice. Please don’t take your dogs out with you when you are out ice fishing, they probably would rather be home where it is warm!

One of the biggest dangers when out in cold weather is hypothermia and/or frostbite. A person could suffer from hypothermia if they were to fall into the water. Hypothermia happens when you are extremely cold for long periods of time. You usually shiver for a long time, and then you lose consciousness. After that, your body temperature can drop to life-threatening levels. Frostbite is when you do not wear the correct type of clothing when out in cold conditions. Your body starts to freeze, generally on the extremities, like fingers, or exposed areas like cheek bones. Frostbite can be mild, as in first degree burns or it can be very serious as in second to third degree burns. For more information about hypothermia and frostbite go to www.surviveoutdoors.com.

If I get a big fish I will have my mom or dad take a picture of it with me and I will put it in my next column. I will also add in anything I might have missed in this one.

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Author info

Tess Vogel Tess Vogel Tess Vogel is a junior high student at Clark Fork Jr/Sr High School

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