Ice Fishing is Safe Amid Warmer Temperatures

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Warm days are few and far between during the winter months, so we cherish them when we can. But what effect is the warmer weather having on a popular winter sport?

In the thick of winter the ice on area bodies of water might not be as thick.

“Generally this time of year the sun doesn’t have a lot of strength, so it doesn’t really affect the ice much. What we’re running into is that it’s not adding to the ice, so we could use a little more ice out there,” Matt Staab Northview Bait and Storage owner.

Staab says the ice is ranging from 4-8 inches in thickness.

With the weather hanging around the 40’s, he says normally only the top inch could melt away.

“There is no safe ice. There is ice that is safer than others,” says Staab.

And it’s important to be cautious.

“The hard core ice fisherman knows that the ice is fine. For the general public a little common sense goes a long way. If there is already somebody else out there that’s a good indicator. Stay away from the big cracks.. Anywhere you see water that is on top of the ice,” says Staab.

No matter the weather those who ice fish have a passion.

“I try to go as much as possible,” says Donovan Schweigert of Sioux Falls..

Schweigert is taking advantage of the nicer weather with his family, but there is a downside to the higher temperatures.

“Haven’t been catching a lot of fish because of the warmer weather and you’ve got to be careful because the ice gets thin in spots,” says Schweigert.

The ice fishing season in South Dakota typical starts in December and ends in March depending on temperatures and water levels.

Nice weather or not Schweigert plans on hitting the lakes.

“As long as the ice can hold my weight I’m going fishing,” says Schweigert.

Other tips to remember if you’re walking on ice make sure it’s 2.5-4” thick. A snowmobile requires 5-6”, a small car 7-12” and then for a full sized truck 14-16”.

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