For safe fishing, ice should be at least four inches thick. Anglers should take special efforts to check the thickness of the ice every 100 to 150 feet. Avoid fissures in the ice and significant sized cracks that can emerge in a lake. Clear ice is stronger than cloudy or white ice, which has frozen, thawed and refrozen and is not always stable. White ice can also be from air bubbles or frozen snow and is much weaker than clear ice. For white ice, double the recommended thickness.
Fluctuating water levels in reservoirs and wind impact ice conditions and can create dangerous ice conditions. Be aware of recent weather conditions and temperatures and scout out the lake you wish to fish for overflow, wet areas, and open water. With variable ice conditions across the state and rapidly changing conditions anglers are urged to call their regional office to inquire about ice conditions.
While ice fishing, prioritizing safety is key to preventing accidental drownings. Game and Fish discourages driving any motorized vehicle on a frozen lake as well as ice fishing on rivers and or other moving water that has frozen over. Anglers should never fish alone; always fish with someone else. Remember to wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device and carry an ice pick. To prevent hypothermia if an ice fishing accident does occur, pack an extra set of clothes and hot liquids.
Anglers venturing on fishing trips this winter should also keep in mind the Fishing Regulations and the Special Winter Ice Fishing Provisions, available on the Game and Fish website, regional offices and Cheyenne Headquarters.
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