How to avoid Ice Drama


Well-Known Member
Hi All.
I figured with the "locking" of another thread that got too negative that I would start one and get some positive stuff happening.
Maybe we could put some of the tricks we use to get us off the Ice when conditions get ugly.

Being prepared should probably be number 1.

Stomp mentioned that he points his machine back to where he wants to go.
I do that almost always and my Auger as well:) I also do a short march, about 30 feet kind of like an arrow.
After keeping an eye on that other thread I decided to do something else. I bought another compass, ten bucks, so both my Portables have their own and then I brain stormed.
I went on E-Bay and found a refurbished GPS for thirty bucks. The GPS I bought says it will last 24 hours on two double AA batteries. That didn't seem too long for me so I put a lighter outlet on my sled, the kind for a boat so it is weather resistant.
Someone else mentioned little Pine Trees in a row. That is what is used to mark Landing Strips for Ski Planes and also used by Northern Snow Machine Clubs on larger lakes. I think Jimmy has put sticks up in the past.
There might be some MNR rules about this though and we can't just go around cutting pine trees down.

That is all I have for now. Please post any little trick that might help.
Cheers, Clark
Hi Guys: I have a hut on Lake Simcoe, what I just did is set my Garmin gps for pedestrian & marked the co-ordinates of hut & ramp at shore named them. Thanks Walleye
number one rule with a compass if you want to get back make sure to take a bearing before the weather gets bad. another hint as you're heading out look back so you know where you want to get back to .
have fun
We were out on the Bay of Quinte on Monday and I got my compass out of the ATV to get my bearings. It was acting a bit strange and I knew it was not pointing North. As I messed around with it, I figured out that the liquid inside (glycerine I think)was nearly frozen and not allowing the needle to move properly. It was about -25C at the time. A few minutes in the inside pocket and it was fine but could have been a problem if I was actually trying to follow it without warming it up first. Just something to keep in mind.

Thanks Walleye for putting a positive spin on the topic.:)
Walleye, great idea!!! Keep it Positive!!!!
What did we do 10, 20, 30 plus years ago, the technology we have today was never available. The best option to do is DON'T panic and stay with your hut. It's when you try to come in you get lost. All storms will come to an end. Everyone now has a cell phone/BB/Iphone or what ever, just call your loved ones to inform them of your situation.
Hi All.
I posted this in a bit of hurry

I should have also said that constructive criticism of an idea, not the person posting is welcome.

Things like batteries on GPS don't work so good when it's cold not to mention the GPS doesn't work so good cold either. Compasses freeze up as well. Marching in the snow to make an arrow can get blown in if you don't keep up and quite often the Bay doesn't have enough snow to do this.
Please feel free to post any helpfull idea and also point to flaws in those ideas so they can be perfected or at least known.

Maybe we can come up with an, " Ice Fisherman's" guide, so to speak.

I would also like to point out that on the thread that was locked we started to isolate ourselves into two groups making a them against us type of battle as opposed to all of us helping each other. I posted on that thread hoping just that might occur.

On that note I will try to mend a fence. ch312 and BASS-master-Gordon. Please post your opinions here as you have made a difference for me.
I want to thank you for your posts on that other thread because you got me to buy another Compass which will help me be better prepared and also I spent minimal dollars on E-Bay to buy a hand held GPS which I will learn to use. This is important for me as I have an expensive color Fishfinder/GPS in my boat and yet I didn't have one for the Ice Season.

Keep the ideas coming. Matbe we can come up with the guide I was speaking about earlier and once complete take it to our local fishing store as a hand out.

Cheers, Clark
now thats a great idea! making a manual to hand out, give them to guides, shops, etc around the area, so people will know, put this board on there too, how would we get this going?

fishing,for some a hobby, for most an addiction
ya and whatever did happen to the sticks? they sure helped when the ice was sketchy, wherever they were you know it was good ice, and they served as a pick up system for the taxi, you just waited near the stick, maybe the thaw screwed that up?

fishing,for some a hobby, for most an addiction
One thing we are all forgeting is the weather, none of us would head out in our boats if they were calling for 50+k east winds. So why do icefisherman go out on the ice when storms a rolling in. I guess this goes with being prepared, anglers need to be aware of the current and upcoming weather sometimes we get suprised (I got caught in a T-storm on the bay)which was prolly the case with these 4 people lets all as a group just try to do 1 thing different to increase our own saftey on the ice wether it's getting ice picks or cleats for your boots if we all do this there will be less incedents on the ice .

Great post Walley!


I would like to thank Denali custom rods and The Rod Glove for their support
Make sure all your equipment, like gps, camera, flashlight all have the same size battery. That way if the gps dies and you forget your extra batteries, you can exchange the good ones into the gps. Take a bearing with your compass to the general location you are going, before going, and when you get there, buy turning the dial 180 degrees it will take you back to your approx. location. Also keep your panic in check as much as possible when bad weather hits!!!

Brian (Legend Man)
Hi All.
Good thoughts.

jumbos. Good point. My high intensity but low power usage light uses 2 AA's and my new GPS when I get it will as well. I didn't consider that when I bought the GPS.

SRT8. The forecast is important but please remember that the forecast can be wrong. I agree with you on the wind. I think the problem with Ice Fishing might be that because we can't see the waves that we wouldn't take a boat out in we just don't relate it to the danger.

BASS-master-Gordon. Excellent. I am glad your contibuting. The sticks were never an indication of good ice but rather a way in or out. This is just my opinion as I didn't put the sticks in. I did use those sticks last year as a guide and felt they were helpfull even on good day. I think Jimmy used them just as you described as a pick up point and the fact that I am an oportunist, I used them as a way home.

You also make a good point on how woud we would distribute a so called "guide". My thinking is that once we all put our ideas here on this thread someone could gather the ideas and then colate them so they can be rendered and then printed. I would be willing to handle the printing cost if you would be willing to help me with the gathering of information and more importantly help me make it look interesting enough that people would read it. Please PM me if you are interested and we can get to work.

There may be a problem with my idea though. If we came up with a "guide" would there be a liability issue and if there is how can it be avoided so that people can still be helped without hurting the people trying to help them?

Sincerely, Clark
put "WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE" in BIG letters for people to say, and at the front put "THIS IS ONLY A GUIDE-WE CLAIM NO RESPONSIBILITY" maybe get a lawyer or legal thing on this???

fishing,for some a hobby, for most an addiction
maybe we should also include something in the local papers, so fishermen and newbies can see, just a little checklist for every outting.

fishing,for some a hobby, for most an addiction
Hi All.
BmG good idea. I am heading down to the Bay this afternoon and I will report this evening. I really like the idea about the local Newspaper.
Cheers, Clark
walleye, great idea. it would be cool to see signs posted at every major ice access point with a list of ways to avoid disaster...

1) always have a gps, compass, and/or map.
2) if unfamiliar with an area, stick around a group of huts.
3) check weather reports before heading out.
4) call hut operators or check online for current ice conditions.
5) be prepared for the worst scenario. ie spending the night.
6) have a FULLY CHARGED cell phone.
7) don't be afraid to admit you're lost and ask for help.
8) let someone know where you're going and when you'll be home.
9) no fish is worth your life...use your head.

i'll gladly help anyone. BUT, if you get lost and it's your own fault you better be ready for an angry rant coming your way when we get back to shore ;)
ch312... there is a sign at the end of old cut,,from Norfolk,,stating ice fishermen should have compass,gps,whistle,flaslight,etc,etc,I would figure there is also 1 at St. Willies...what a great idea to let all know safety precautions they should be taking before going on the ice....

If Cans r flyin,they will b dyin...
Hi All.
Well. I thought I might go out this afternoon. Forecast says 4 cm of snow.
We left Ingersoll at 14:20, no snow and roads clear. Turn onto Ostrander road and the snow is starting to come down. We get to Springford and it is a whiteout and the road is getting sloppy. We turned around at HWY 3 and here I am typing.

ch312. I like your list and would add. Know how to use your equiptment. Using a Compass/GPS is not as easy as some may think.
Another thing might be to say, " dress as if you are going to be fishing without a shelter".

The reason I like the Newspaper idea so much is that people will have it before they leave home and prepare ahead of time. The fishing store is also good because people can still get prepared before hand. The signs are good however they are at the very last stage of the process. There I am, all my gear is packed and on the sled. I have bought the bait and spent the gas money. I am looking out onto the Bay and it looks good. Do I turn around because I am missing something or not prepared as the sign suggests. This is me I am talking about and yes I read that sign on that Saturday and yet there I was fishing away.

Keep the ideas coming.
Cheers, Clark
Hi all.
Kinda looks like this one died. I called a local Paper and they weren't interested. Oh well it was a good effort.
Cheers, Clark
Regarding the comment about GPS batteries being good for xx number of hours:

The 12v outlet on the sled or ATV is a good idea. My Honda has a factory installed 12v outlet that I use for my gps, and I mounted a RAM holder on the handle bars so I dont have to hang on to it while driving.

If you are relying on a battery powered GPS, keep a set fresh of batteries in your front pants or shirt pocket to keep them warm. (keep the innuendo to your self guys...)

If the gps is turned on when you leave shore and set to log a trail or route, you can turn it off when you get to the hut, leave it in an inside pocket of a jacket coat etc or take the batteries out and put them in your pocket, and the batteries should stay warm no matter how cold it gets. Once the GPS is turned back on, you pick up the trail and follow it out. Even the most innefficent GPS should be able to manage 2 hours of battery life. (an hour in and an hour out).

This does mean however, that you must learn how to use the features of your GPS, and I dont mean just getting your kid to show you how to turn it on. Just like using a compass and a map properly, your GPS can save your life if you know how to use it. Its a good idea to take enough batteries so that you can teach the guys you are fishing with how to use it as well in case you end up hypothermic or otherwise incapacitated. Just keep the unit away from any open holes. Most GPS wont float. I have a Lowrance hand held that will float if I put rechargeable batteries in it, but not if it has alkaline batteries. The problem is, rechargeables dont have the same run time as a fresh set of alkalines.

Just like a compass, learn how to use the GPS, and once you do, believe what it tells you.

Being prepared is the key!

B Kerr
Thorndale Ont
If any of you remember Fred Howe and his operation of many, many years past you may remember the short cedars he used to map out a road. Fred and his men took great care to make sure the "road" avoided the pressure cracks and big slush holes. I would suggest that the commercial operators invest in a few pieces of cedar brush or maybe the F&G Club or the LP Anglers could get themselves organized to do this. Think of all the Xmas trees that went to mulch and we could of easily had a mound of pine branches to mark the trails. If we look after ourselves there will be fewer "officials" giving us their "expectations.

Yours in conservation
Jim& Pat Abbey
1053 Col. Talbot Rd
Courtland, ON
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