Jarrid Houston column: No ice is safe yet; please be patient
Organizing gear, refilling tackle boxes, attending ice fishing shows are good ways to bide time.
Although the rest of this week is supposed to be warmer, we need to accept the fact we are moving into winter.
The opening weekend of Wisconsin’s deer hunting season had us all bundled up in our tree stands with many hand warmers. It also had many of us wondering how the ice development period is going. As of this report, we have no safe, fishable ice! As I mention every year, don’t be the first to jeopardize safety for a fish. We all need to take it slow.
The weather helped cover up many shallow back bays and small bodies of water but we are still a long way from fishing ice, especially given the mild temperatures forecast for Thanksgiving weekend. If you are so inclined to go fishing, the best advice I can give is check in with our friends from Upper Red Lake as they will be letting foot traffic out of some resorts in the very near future. Otherwise, now is a good time to organize ice gear to be ready.
Let’s refresh a little ice safety: We need 4-5 inches for walkable safe ice. Make sure to check several spots and check often. Best ice is the hard, clear stuff. Wear a personal flotation device or float suit at all times, especially on early ice. Be in shape in case you ever had to pull yourself out. Push-ups, pull-ups and sit ups, as well as conditioning do help. Dress warm and consider bringing extra clothes in case of an emergency. Tell someone where you're going and when you’ll be back and also try and fish with a buddy or buddies. Bring along the general ice safety equipment including, but not limited to: ice picks, rope, a throwable float, spud bar/chisel, working cellphone and/or radio, a safe game plan and common sense. Never push your limits. Many have heard me say it before, but, if it doesn’t feel right, chances are it probably isn’t.
Quick report: Ice is certainly forming on small ponds and shallow bays. Fishing has not been an active sport this week on account of deer hunting. A very few die hard anglers are getting out, but we have not heard of any success. For those that are still deer hunting, great luck!
And we will end with one question: What are you thankful for? My quick answer: I'm thankful for health, family, fishing and hunting! Happy Thanksgiving everyone, see ya in the woods and on the water.