We have safe ice

We have safe ice

Usually ice that is four inches thick is considered safe ice. Neilson’s Channel off the Fox River north of Barrington had four to five inches of ice two weeks ago. Now it has about seven inches.
Chicagoland ice anglers who have been so anxious to start drilling holes are now catching panfish and perch.
Jerry Bauer of Plainfield fished Neilson’s Channel the last two weekends and did very well.
“I was out for three hours when it had about five inches of ice. I caught and released over a hundred fish.” Bauer said. “About a quarter of them were keeper gills as big as your hand.”
Other ice anglers who fished just south of the Fox Chain had similar results. Some fished by the “T” Channel off Rt. 12. They too found safe ice.
Many locations on the Fox Chain are good but bridge areas with stronger currents are wide open and caution should be used.
Some of the small ponds west of Chicago and in the south suburbs are now catching up. More reports are being made of decent catches of blugills and crappies. Most of the crappies though are coming during the last hour of daylight.
When there is a the lack of snow on the ice, anglers should be wearing ice cleats. The bare ice is very slipery for rubber and leather soled boots. Last weeks snow could be around for awhile.
Other safety equipment that ice anglers should have includes a pair of ice picks on a lanyard. They work well to help pull you out of the water should you fall through the ice.
A personal floatation device will not only help keep you warm, but also help keep you afloat.
Always ice fish with a friend, but don’t walk side by side. Walking a few yards away from one another is always a good practice. If one should happen to take a cold water bath, the other can help in the rescue efforts.
If you fall through the ice, don’t panic. By remaining calm, you can bob back to the surface. Without kicking and thrashing, you’ll hold on to trapped air in your clothing for a few moments longer. You may just be able to slither out on your own by using the ice picks.
If your fishing partner goes through the ice, you should immediately lay prone to distribute your body weight across a larger area. With nearby ice being thin, it makes no sense taking a chance.
A rope is another life saving tool to have. Toss it to the person in the water and help pull him out.
By carrying an auger and ice bucket with all your rods, baits and tools, you are adding pounds per square inch of weight on the ice. Use a sled to transport your gear.
Having the sled on a rope could also save your life. The sled can help keep you stay afloat and it might be enough to get out of the water.
Ice fishing is really a lot of fun. It’s different, challenging, and a great sport. With every passing day where the temperatures are dropping, the ice is getting thicker by the moment. So from the Fox Chain of Lakes up north to Shabbona out west and the Mazonia Lakes down south, there are plenty of places to wet a line through hard water. And that makes great fishing not that far away.

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