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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Be safe, check ice thickness before dropping a line

Posted at 1:31 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-06 15:31:37-05

BOZEMAN - On today's This Week in Fish and Wildlife Montana This Morning’s Chet Layman talks with Morgan Jacobsen from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks about safety out on the ice.

Jacobsen notes that folks are starting to venture out onto Montana’s frozen lakes and ponds to drill holes and do some ice fishing. He says that is a great family activity here in Southwest Montana but it can also be dangerous. Jacobsen says there are many ways to check to see if the ice is safe to be on before you leave the shore.

He says first off see if others have been out on the water. If not, then check with social media about that body of water or drill test holes to make sure the ice is thick enough to hold you. Jacobsen says there should be at least 4 inches of clear ice before you attempt to venture out.

If it’s not that thick, then don’t go. He says you also need to be careful of snow-covered ice that could conceal old fishing holes or thin places from recent thawing. Jacobsen says many popular ice fishing locations around Southwest Montana have people who have experience on those waters so you should rely on them for information. Jacobsen says, especially early on in the season like right now, never go alone and only go on the ice one at a time until you can confirm it is thick enough to hold you.