Ice fishing can be a cool adventure

It’s time to get those rods out for ice fishing action at reservoirs in central and Northern Nevada. Though conditions are not quite safe in most locations, anglers are readying their gear for ice fishing adventures at destinations such as Eagle Valley Reservoir, Echo Canyon Reservoir and the reservoirs at Kirch Wildlife Management Area.

“Believe it or not, we do have a cadre of dedicated ice anglers here in the Silver State,” said Doug Nielsen, conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “It’s hard to explain the attraction to people who have never fished the hard water, but it can be very fun. One key to having a good time is dressing in warm layers so you can adjust to changing conditions and temperatures.”

To fish through the ice, you will need a hole through which to drop your bait and then to reel in your catch. In Nevada, that hole can be no larger than 10 inches in diameter, and all bag limits and other regulations still apply. No special equipment is necessary. A standard rod will work fine.

Though ice fishing is a fun activity, it can turn to tragedy in an instant. Before venturing onto the ice, it’s important to know its condition and how thick it is. Naturally it’s best to find out before you get on the ice. Keep in mind that just because the ice is thick enough to fish at one reservoir doesn’t mean it is at another. If the ice is clear blue and consistently more than 4 inches thick, it can support adults safely. If there are dark areas of ice and snow with slush, it is probably too thin. Perhaps this saying can help, “Thick and blue, tried and true. Thin and crispy, way too risky.”

In addition, it’s always a good idea to use the buddy system. Go with someone else. That way you each have someone available to help if you fall through the ice or have other problems.

Since there is always the chance of breaking through the ice, it is recommended that anglers carry ice claws made by using four- to six-inch wooden dowels with a nail inserted in the end. This will enable them pull themselves from the ice should they fall in. By connecting the two claws with a string, they can easily be worn around the neck for easy access should an emergency occur.

If you were to fall through the ice, turn and face the direction you came from and use the ice claws to grab the ice. Pull with your arms and kick with your feet to climb out of the hole. Once out, don’t stand up, but roll a few yards away from where you fell in. If you are trying to help someone who’s fallen through, don’t go to the area to grab the victim. Use a rope, jumper cables or even fishing rod at a safe distance to pull them out.

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