OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Officials urge caution when ice fishing following December warm spell

Dec 19, 2023, 2:00 PM

ice fishing set up...

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said anglers must drill and measure the ice around their spot to make sure it's at least four inches thick. (Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — State wildlife officials are urging Utahns to be extra careful when ice fishing this year, following a very warm start to December in northern Utah.

KSL Meteorologist Matt Johnson said as of Tuesday, 13 of the 19 days so far in December were at or above normal temperatures around Salt Lake City.

That could be part of the reason why most state parks around the Wasatch Front have little to no ice accumulating on its major water bodies. As of Tuesday, only Willard Bay had a quarter of an inch of ice in the main marina, according to the park’s official website.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Spokesperson Faith Heaton Jolley told KSL NewsRadio that some ice fishing competitions have already either been postponed or canceled.

Scofield State Park had one of the highest ice totals of any state park as of Tuesday with 5-7 inches of ice.

Staying safe while ice fishing

Jolley said anglers must drill and measure the ice around their spot to make sure it’s at least 4 inches thick. People should stay off ice any thinner than that.

“[Falling through the ice] can be detrimental…when [there’s] freezing temperatures outside and then the water is also freezing,” Jolley said.

Jolley also said people should always bring an ice pick and rope. She also advised fishermen to never go ice fishing alone, just in case someone were to fall through the ice.

People can check the current conditions of any state park ahead of time by visiting the official state parks website.

“Just don’t rush it…don’t force it,” Jolley said. “If it’s not thick enough…just wait.”

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Officials urge caution when ice fishing following December warm spell