Fluctuating temperatures is making ice fishing dangerous

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Do you ice fish and were planning to head out sometime this week? You might want to wait because conditions might not be the safest.

With fluctuating temperatures, if you’re headed out to do some ice fishing you’re going to want to make sure the ice is safe. One way you can do this is to use a big stick and check how thick or solid that ice may be.

“We’ll just push out ahead of us. And we’ll check the ice. See this is not safe ice at all.”

Kevin Ryan owns Hudson River Bait and Tackle and is an experienced ice fisherman.

“We’ll check it periodically. Walk out 20 or 30 feet. Check the depth and thickness of the ice. Go another 20 or 30 feet check the thickness of the ice.”

He was shocked when NEWS10 ABC’s Ayla Ferrone told him about two men in Syracuse who fell through the ice while fishing and died earlier this week.

“It bothers us every time we hear that story because it’s really a fish is not worth your life.”

That’s why he always wears a life vest and safety ice picks before heading out.

“Now you can have seven or eight inches of ice here at the shore and in the middle, it could be two inches,” Ryan said.

If the ice is that thin, someone like Albany County Sheriff Department Emergency Medical Services Division’s Brian Wood might need to come rescue you.

“You need four inches of ice to walk on and it needs to be a good four inches of ice it can’t be murky water it needs to be a good four inches of pure ice,” Wood said.

He’s with the Albany County Ice Rescue team and says their process happens fast when they arrive on the scene.

“There’s really only one thing to do. They either go out or we go get them and it really happens fast.”

Commander Lee Bormann says it can be dangerous for the rescuers too.

“The rescuer going out there would have a tag line he would be secured to another rescuer on the shore.”

That’s why they want to make sure people are cautious before ever setting foot on the ice.

“If you or your partner is going on the ice to ice fish make sure you do have people on shore that can assist you,” Bormann said.

“Any time you’re there you can trip fall in anything can happen,” Wood said.

Ryan says he knows it can happen first hand.

“Luckily I only went down four or five feet and caught myself.”

He fell in once about 20 years ago and says it’s a mistake he won’t make again.

“It’s a shock. It really is. It’s scary,”  Ryan said. “That ice looks safe. Could be safe but I wouldn’t chance it.”

You can always check with your local tackle shops about what the ice conditions are like and the DEC also has some guidelines on their website.

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