Stay safe on frozen lakes this year

WALL, S.D. — We’re still at the beginning of winter and we haven’t had consistent weather.  So far, we’ve had a blizzard but there have also been warm days. With the inconsistent weather it’s important to be prepared when ice fishing, walking or riding on frozen lakes.

On Friday first responders were called to Sheridan Lake after an ATV fell through the ice. Luckily no one was hurt and the driver was rescued by surrounding fishermen, but not everyone gets that lucky.

When going out on the ice there are a few things you should carry.

“You need something that’s going to help you get out of the ice. So the ice picks are incredibly important so that you can self-rescue, pull yourself out, and then once you get away from the hole you roll away,” says Jim Bussell, part of the pro-staff with Cold Snap Outdoors.  

In terms of what you want to wear, warm clothes, an ice suit that floats, and ice cleats are all essential. Along with the picks, you should have a spud bar and a throw bag. The spud bar helps you check how strong the ice is.

“Generally the rule is if you hit the ice twice with the spud bar and your bar doesn’t go through you’re okay to proceed. We have a throw bag with us, in case someone was to go through the ice,” says Bussell.

The throw bag has a rope with a loop, which someone can grab onto and be pulled to safety if necessary. Which is also why it’s important to go out on the ice with at least one other person. If you do decide to go alone, tell people where you’ll be and how long you intend to be there.

Depending on the activity you’re doing, you’ll want the ice to be of a certain thickness.

“Four inches minimum to walk out on, pull a sled, and bring your gear. You want 8 to 10 inches of ice to have a four wheeler or an ATV, and then you want a foot or better for small vehicles, permanent fish house, things like that,” says Bussell.

Our last tip, have fun.

“Again this is a great activity. I’ve got my son out here and friends with us today. We’re having a great time. This is a great way to spend time outside as long as you’re careful about it and being safe,” says Bussell.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News