The 5 Basic Safety Rules of Ice Fishing

Ice fishing jig
Red bobber and fishing line in an ice fishing hole in a Minnesota lake

Ice fishing is an exciting sport and hobby that can yield great rewards in the form of a catch. Sadly, the cold, frozen conditions of ice fishing can be a dangerous affair if the proper safety rules are not followed. Experienced ice fishers follow a set of safety rules to ensure their safety and the safety of their companions. To help you get started, here are the five basic safety rules of ice fishing.

Always fish with a buddy. Ice fishing should never be done alone, as if an accident were to happen, a companion would be better able to help in an emergency situation. Not only will it help with safety, but having a companion will make the ice fishing outing that much more enjoyable.

Be prepared for the cold temperatures. Ice fishing is done in very cold temperatures, and thus it is very important that the right attire and protection is worn. Appropriate clothing includes warm clothes, boots with enough grip, a hat, and, of course, gloves. Additionally, prepare with a basic first aid kit and a cell phone in case of emergencies while you’re out on the ice.


Avoid alcohol. Stay away from alcohol and drugs while ice fishing; this is not only dangerous but illegal. Alcohol and drugs can impede one’s ability to properly judge the situation and make rational decisions if an emergency were to arise.

Check the thickness of the ice. Ice fishing should not take place unless the thickness of the ice is at least four inches. Check for ridges, pressure cracks, and other signs that may indicate a change in the thickness of the ice.

Carry a spud bar. A spud bar is a long implement with a sharp tip, allowing the user to measure the thickness of the ice throughout a fishing body of water. Additionally, it can be used to chop away loose ice the clear the area around where you’ll be sitting, providing greater safety and easier access to the fish.

These five basic safety rules of ice fishing will help ensure you make the most of your time on the ice, while also helping keep you safe in the process. As long as you follow these rules, you will be sure to have an enjoyable and safe fishing experience.

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