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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Thickness of ice impacting one ice fisher's favorite pastime

A metro man said he's gone ice fishing fewer times this winter season compared to past ones because he's not always comfortable with the thickness of the ice.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Average temperatures in Des Moines have been about six degrees warmer for the month of January, according to Local 5 meteorologist Taylor Kanost

With the warmer temperatures, it has impacted how often a metro man has been able to go ice fishing this winter season. 

Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Aron Arthur drilled a hole into the ice at Terra Lake Thursday and discovered at one location a little over nine inches thick.

However, checking one location on a lake is not an indicator for how thick all of the ice is. 

The DNR requires ice four inches thick to safely be able to ice fish.

Larry Gilliam, who has been ice fishing for decades, said the conditions Thursday were perfect for his hobby. He has gone ice fishing fewer times at this point in the winter season, compared to past winter seasons.

"So I haven't [gone] out that many times," Gilliam said. "I'd say about six times."

His reason for going out less? The thickness of the ice is not up to his comfort level.

"We always believe in a saying here: 'There's no such thing as safe ice,'" Arthur said. "Depending on where it's at, if there's springs or structure along the edges where it heats up, it's going to be thinner than where it's out. It doesn't form uniformly."

Checking all of the ice in an area you want to walk on or fish in is also important, because it could reduce the risk of falling through the ice and leading to an ice rescue situation.  

Whhen going ice fishing, Arther says make sure to wear proper gear like a float suit, bring ice picks and if you can, go fishing with a friend. 

For more ice fishing safety tips, click here.

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