JOHNSTON, Iowa — Lakes and ponds all around Iowa are covered with ice but that doesn’t mean they are safe to walk on.

Here are some tips to ensure you are safe while ice fishing or enjoying other ice-bound winter activities.

  • Check the weather
  • Tell someone where you are going
  • Bring a friend
  • Never be the first one on the ice
  • Bring the right equipment

Ice must be at least 4 inches thick to be considered safe for ice fishing.

Tyler Stubbs, a Community Fisheries Biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said that snow-covered ice can be dangerous.

“This time of year with the weather that we’ve had recently where we gained a lot of ice really quickly and had a lot of snowpack on top of it, that can really make the ice very variable. And so ice that didn’t have any snow on it is good and clear ice and very strong and thick and ice that has maybe had a foot of snow or two sitting on it for the last week is gonna be considerably thinner,” Stubbs said.

To learn more about how to stay safe while ice fishing visit the Iowa DNR’s website.


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