CASPER, Wyo — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is advising “extreme caution” to anglers venturing out this ice fishing season to prevent accidental drownings.
“Ice on many waters may not be safe, especially when temperatures warm up,” Game and Fish said Monday.
“Many fisheries around the state are warmer than usual, so staying safe on the ice is very important to prevent accidents,” said Alan Osterland, Game and Fish chief of fisheries.
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Ice that is safe to walk on should be at least four inches thick, Game and Fish said. Anglers should check the thickness every 100 to 150 feet.
For white ice, “double the recommended thickness,” WGFD said.
“Clear ice is stronger than cloudy or white ice, which has frozen, thawed and refrozen and is not always stable. White ice can also be from air bubbles or frozen snow and is much weaker than clear ice,” Game and Fish said.
Anglers should also avoid fissures and significant cracks in the ice.
Fluctuating water levels in reservoirs and wind can both impact ice conditions and can create dangerous ice conditions.
“Be aware of recent weather conditions and temperatures and scout out the lake you wish to fish for overflow, wet areas, and open water.”
With variable ice conditions across the state and rapidly changing conditions anglers are urged to call their regional Game and Fish office to inquire about ice conditions.
“Avoid driving a motorized vehicle on a frozen lake and ice fishing on rivers or on other moving water that has frozen over,” Osterland said.
Osterland also recommends that anglers:
- Not fish alone
- Wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device
- Carry an ice pick.
- Pack extra clothes and hot liquids to prevent hypothermia if an ice fishing accident does occur.
Anglers venturing on fishing trips this winter should also keep in mind the Fishing Regulations and the Special Winter Ice Fishing Provisions, available on the Game and Fish website, regional offices and Cheyenne Headquarters.