Digital Exclusive: Ice fishing safety tips

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As temperatures start to get colder, lakes are starting to freeze, and that means it’s almost time for ice fishing.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends that there should be four inches of clear blue ice before anglers venture out to fish.

The Iowa DNR said it’s important to dress in lots of thin layers of loose clothing with warm, wool socks and waterproof, insulated boots. has offered some safety tips for anglers this season.

  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. Four inches of clear, newly formed ice may support one person on foot, while a foot or more of old, partially thawed ice may not.
  • Ice seldom freezes uniformly. It may be a foot thick in one location and only an inch or two just a few feet away.
  • Ice formed over flowing water and currents is often dangerous. This is especially true near streams, bridges and culverts. Also, the ice outside river bends is usually weaker due to the undermining effects of the faster current.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process. The extra weight also reduces how much weight the ice sheet can support. Also, ice near shore can be weaker than ice that is farther out.
  • Booming and cracking ice isn’t necessarily dangerous. It only means that the ice is expanding and contracting as the temperature changes.
  • Schools of fish or flocks of waterfowl can also adversely affect the relative safety of ice. The movement of fish can bring warm water up from the bottom of the lake.

For more information on ice fishing in Iowa, click here.

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