SAFETY ON ICE
from the New Hampshire
Fish and Game Department



Judging Ice Conditions
“Thick and blue, tried and true Thin and crispy, way too risky” Look for bluish ice that is at least 4 to 6 inches thick.* Even if the weather has been below freezing for several days, don’t guess about ice thickness. Check the ice in several places. Use an auger, spud or axe to make a test hole, beginning at shore and continuing as you go out. If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, stay off. Don’t go on the ice during thaws. Watch out for thin, clear, or honeycomb shaped ice. Dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots. Choose small bodies of water. Rivers and lakes are prone to wind and wave action, which can break ice up quickly. Avoid areas with currents, around bridges
and pressure ridges.

Tips for Anglers
WAIT for a long cold spell
TEST the ice
FISH in small groups

Dressing ForWinter’s Worst
“If your feet are cold, put on your hat.” That may seem odd, but it’s good advice. Most of your body heat is lost through your head and neck. So wear a hat; cover your face and neck. Dress in layers. Wool, silk or certain synthetics are best; they’ll keep you warm even if they’re wet. Insulated, waterproof boots, gloves and a windbreaker are very important. Bring extra clothing.

What if I Break Through the Ice?
If you break through the ice, don’t panic. Don’t try to climb out – you’ll probably
break the ice again. Lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard. This will help lift your body onto the ice. Roll to safety. To help someone who has fallen in, lie down flat and reach with a branch, plank or rope; or form a human chain. Don’t stand! After securing the victim, wiggle backwards to the solid ice. The victim may need treatment for
hypothermia (cold exposure), artificial respiration or CPR.

Twelve Quick Tips
• Test the ice.
• Beware! Wind and currents break
ice.
• Dress in layers.
• Bring food and hot drinks.
• Fish with a partner.
• Don’t gather in large groups.
• No fires on the ice.
• Bring blankets and a first-aid kit.
• If you fall in, reach for solid ice, kick
and roll to safety.
• Follow fishing regulations.
• Don’t drive cars onto ice.
• Clean up.

Etiquette and Ethics
There's more to being a good angler than obeying fishing regulations. Be courteous. Use public access to ponds, or ask permission to walk across someone's land. Don't crowd other anglers. Clean your fishing area. Litter will wash ashore in the spring, polluting the water and endangering people and wildlife. Be sure to check your New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest for current regulations before going fishing.

New Hampshire
Fish and Game Department
2 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-3212
www.wildlife.state.nh.us

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