Frigid Temps Beneficial For Ice Fishing

Frigid Temps Beneficial For Ice Fishing

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — These negative temperatures might be taking a toll on many of us in the Sioux empire, but they’re good for at least one thing — ice fishing.

From December to nearly March South Dakota lakes are packed with those hoping to score a perch, northern pike or walleye.

With a few straight days of negative temperatures, you might guess the ice is in prime fishing condition but the Sioux Empire also saw an unusually warm fall which is raising concerns about the ice’s readiness.

Todd Heitkamp of Dakota Angler says there’s no such thing as ‘safe ice’ but in the current conditions he says fishermen are able to hit the frozen lakes.

“The ice is the safest it’s been all year long there’s no doubt about that with the colder weather. With the extreme temperatures that we’ve been experiencing we’re adding two to three inches of ice per day, and so the thickness right now is 10 to 12 to 14 inches of ice in many of the areas,” says Heitkamp.

Lots of people are encouraged to stay indoors during these bitterly cold temperatures but Heitkamp says outdoor sports are an exception.

“With ice fishing it’s come along so far in the recent years that if a person is cold out there on the ice they either don’t have the right type of house or the right type of clothing to keep warm because there’s no reason not to be warm out on the ice,” says Heitkamp.

Heitkamp says 4 inches is the standard depth for someone to walk on ice, 6 inches for an ATV and 15 inches for a pickup truck, but unfortunately accidents still happen.

“We’ve had a pick up just recently go through Lake Poinsett by De Smet, but that was due to going over an ice heave which is a weakness in that ice. That’s why I always say there is no such thing as safe ice. You have to always respect it and know what you’re driving over in that point in time,” says Heitkamp.

If anyone has any questions or concerns they should contact a local bait shop before heading out onto the ice.

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