SWEETWATER COUNTY — With winter in full swing and another ice fishing season upon us, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind anglers to please exercise caution when on the lakes and to remember there really is no such thing as “safe ice.”
Water levels in reservoirs like Flaming Gorge change constantly. Add to that subtle weather shifts affecting wind, freezing and thawing patterns, and the reality is that ice conditions can fluctuate drastically over short times and distances.
Please be aware of recent weather conditions before going out. Scout the area you intend to fish, looking for overflow, wet areas and open water. Avoid pressure ridges, fissure and large emerging cracks in the ice. Wear a life-jacket or personal flotation device, carry an ice pick, and wear ice cleats on bare ice. Avoid taking any vehicles, snowmobiles or ATVs onto the ice. Packing extra clothes and hot liquids may also help prevent hypothermia in the event of accidentally falling into frigid water. You should not fish alone, and always let friends or family know where you are going.
There are six different types of ice and it is useful to be able to recognize: frazil slush, frazil, pack, layered, snow and clear. Clear ice is generally the strongest. Snow ice, also known as white ice, is milky or cloudy-looking that forms when ice freezes, thaws and refreezes, or from air bubbles or frozen snow. Snow ice is not always stable and is generally much weaker than clear ice.
For safe fishing, clear ice should be at least 4 inches thick, and you should check the thickness of the ice every 100 to 150 feet. For snow ice, double the recommended thickness.