SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Last week’s frigid cold temperatures might have some people thinking about ice — how thick is it, and is it ready for fishing?
Since November, Todd Heitkamp at Dakota Angler has seen quite a few people coming in and gearing up for ice fishing season.
“First thing I always tell people is you got to remember, ice is never 100% safe. That’s the thing that you need to remember. You need to respect it and you need to know your lake,” Todd Heitkamp, owner of Dakota Angler, said.
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks says the minimum thickness to even be walking on clear ice is four inches.
“If you want to ride ATVs, snowmobiles, minimum of six inches. Again, this is just clear ice only. If you want to do a small car or something like that, you want at least ten inches. If for like trucks and permanent ice shacks, things of that nature, you’re going to want at least 12 inches,” Justin Harman, a wildlife conservation officer with SDGF&P, said.
Harman says you should double those thicknesses for snow-covered or foggy ice. He also wants you to remember these safety tips.
“I think one of the biggest things is carry some ice picks. Put them around your neck because if they’re in your pocket or if they’re in your bag, they’re not going to help you. So if you do go in, you’ll have those ice picks around your neck and then you’ll be able to take them off and you’ll be able to kind of pick your way out and roll onto your belly and kind of slide out,” Harman said.
“One thing that people violate most often is they go out by themselves. It’s best to go out with multiple people so that they can pull each other out,” Heitkamp said.
If you do go alone, Harman says to make sure to have a plan and let someone know the details.
“Tell someone which lake you’re going to, be as specific as you can — which part of the lake you’re going to be at, how long you plan to be out there and what time they should expect you back and be off the lake,” Harman said.
Authorities across KELOLAND have already had to make a couple of ice recoveries this year.
In Day County, a missing snowmobiler was found dead in Bitter Lake earlier this month.