Survival isn’t camping, and it doesn’t just happen when the weather’s nice. If you are in a real survival scenario where you are living from day to day and trying to get the food you need to survive, you need to know every possible method of adding to your stores, and that certainly includes ice fishing. Here are some tips you need to employ when you are fishing out on the ice.
Know the Safety of the Ice
Ideally, the ice will be a minimum of five inches thick when you are ice fishing. This is generally thick enough to support a snowmobile, for example, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you to walk across. However, you always want to listen to the ice for any disturbing sounds that could indicate that it’s cracking. Remember that the ice is always going to be thinner near the edges of the body of water. In fact, the thickness can vary throughout the lake, so be wary.
If the ice is white rather than clear, it’s called snow ice, and it tends to be only about half the strength. You should only fish or walk on the ice if it is eight inches thick, at least, in this case. Anytime you have any doubt about the safety of the ice, just don’t go out on it. It’s the safest option. You don’t want to run into a situation where you end up in a freezing lake. You aren’t likely to make it out.
Keeping Warm and Choosing the Right Gear
Always make sure you have enough clothing to keep you nice and warm, but remember, you don’t want to be sweating too much. When you stop your activity, the sweat will freeze on your body. If you have a portable shelter, you can take that out onto the ice with you. Some of the other items you will want to bring with you include an ice chisel, auger, and a tape measure. The chisel and auger will help you get through the ice, and then you can measure the thickness. You will also need bait and your tip-ups.
Since this is a survival scenario and you aren’t ice fishing for pleasure, we’ll assume that you will be using tip-ups, or similar rigs that you can set up and leave on the ice. When a fish bites, the flag on the tip-up will pop up, alerting you that you have a fish.
To make sure you are keeping warm, you may want to set up the tip-ups on the lake and then find a location off the lake where you can have a fire going to keep warm. You can take care of other survival duties, such as collecting wood, making traps, or hunting, while your tips ups are doing work for you. Then, just check on them occasionally and rebait them or haul in your fish.
This might not sound like a barrel of fun, but survival ice fishing is about getting food, not having a great time.
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