Game, Fish and Parks warns of unsafe ice conditions

January 12, 2021

PIERRE, S.D.–Mother Nature has thrown ice anglers a change up this winter. Warm temperatures across the state have led to poor ice conditions.

In the past week, we have had multiple reports of vehicles, ATV’s and even a snowbear breaking through the ice.

Anglers need to take precautions when hitting the ice. Avoiding ice heaves, historic areas where springs exist or rotting/discolored/dark ice areas is a good place to start.

At this point, anglers should plan to leave their vehicles on the shore. ATV’s and snowmobiles, or even better yet, walking out on the ice are your best bet.

If you are heading out to ice fish, take these precautions:

Avoid ice heaves, springs and current areas.
Always check ice conditions as you are traveling on a body of water. This year, more than ever, ice thickness and strength are extremely variable.
Check social media and local sporting goods stores for ice conditions and areas to avoid.
Avoid traveling on the ice after sundown, especially on lakes that you are not familiar with.
Carry ice pics and rope in your coat or pants.
Always fish with a buddy.
Wearing a floatation coat/suit or a lifejacket is recommended.
Always let someone know where you are. It is also a great idea to let someone know when you are leaving shore to fish and then let them know often that you are ok.
Keep your cell phone in a waterproof bag and in a pocket at all times.
These tips will help you minimize risks, but remember ice conditions are not typical this year. If you have any doubts, do not take the chance.