SWEETWATER COUNTY — Organizers of the 2015 Burbot Classic Fishing Derby on Flaming Gorge have announced that this year’s event will take place as scheduled February 6 – 8, so the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is once again promoting safe ice fishing practices.
Local officials noted that unsafe conditions contributed to the recent death of a Green River man, John Henderson, when he fell through the ice while fishing in the Lost Dog area.
The Sheriff’s Office offers the following safety tips for ice anglers:
- First and foremost, bear in mind the tried-and-true adage that there is no such thing as safe ice. Ice conditions can fluctuate drastically over short times and distances; water levels in lakes, and especially in reservoirs like Flaming Gorge, can change – freezing and thawing weather patterns come and go, and submerged springs in certain areas can make a big difference. Always exercise caution and never become complacent.
- Check ice thickness before venturing out and check thickness every 100 to 150 feet. (A cordless drill with a 5/8-inch, 5-inch long wood augur bit makes this an easy proposition.) Clear ice 4 inches thick or more is generally considered safe for an angler on foot, and though guidelines exist for appropriate ice thickness for snow machines, four-wheelers, and larger vehicles, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office does not recommend taking motorized vehicles of any kind out onto the ice, regardless of thickness.
- Never ice fish alone.
- Wearing a PDF, (Personal Flotation Device), commonly called a life jacket, is highly recommended. A little more bulk won’t matter much, and a PDF might safe your life if the ice gives way.
- Remember that fishing from shore ice when the lake is not frozen over from bank to bank can be particularly hazardous.
The Sheriff’s Office recommends an excellent 10-minute ice fishing safety video produced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources called “Danger, ThinIce!” which can be found on YouTube and elsewhere on the Internet by entering the term “Danger, Thin Ice!” into Google or other search engine.
Among the many safety issues and tips highlighted in the video is the use of either the homemade or commercially-manufactured ice picks, which are easy to carry on the ice and can make all the difference in getting yourself out of trouble.
–From a press release