The ice is beginning to freeze over again in New York State, which means it's time to get back to ice fishing.

With winter being so inconsistent in New York, sometimes we run into a stretch where the water goes back and forth between being frozen or not. Regardless, it's important to be safe before walking onto a lake.

Photo by Glenna Haug on Unsplash
Photo by Glenna Haug on Unsplash

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has four tips to follow while ice fishing this year.

Check the Thickness

This is obviously one of the most important factors when going ice fishing. According to the DEC, four inches of clear, solid ice is a safe thickness to go out on.

How do you check? Use an auger or spud bar periodically as you make your way further onto the ice.

Dangerous Area: Thin Ice
Bryan Sikora

Avoid the Edges

It's best to stay away from ice near open water or around docks. This is typically where ice is the thinnest, increasing your chances of breaking through.

Bubblers are often used to prevent ice from forming around docks. This is good at preventing damage to the dock, but could be dangerous for anyone walking out on the lake.

Carry Ice Picks

This is huge in case of an emergency. You can take every step to prevent a breakthrough, but accidents still happen.

Having an ice safety pick will help you pull yourself out of the water if you fall in. They can be store-bought or homemade, both are great options to get you out.


Tell Someone Your Plans

Communication is extremely important before you go out on the ice. Let someone know you're going out to fish and also tell them when you plan on returning.

This will increase your chance of survival and being rescued if you do find yourself in an extreme situation.

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