OUTDOORS + RECREATION

DWR, Utah State Parks hope for cooler temps ahead of ice fishing events

Dec 28, 2023, 9:48 AM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 9:01 am

lake ice...

FILE - Ken Snow, a happy ice fisherman, holds up a nice 16-inch Cuthroat Trout on Strawberry Reservoir in 2002. (Don Grayston/Deseret News)

(Don Grayston/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Parks and the Division of Wildlife Resources have planned 10 ice fishing competitions this winter. Now, the organizations hope temperatures cool down so there’s enough ice to host them. 

According to Faith Heaton Jolley, the public information officer for the DWR, the ice needs to be four inches thick to be safe to fish on. However, ice cover thickness can vary across lakes, creating a potential for dangerous conditions. 

Heaton Jolley said it’s too soon to tell if any of the events will be canceled or postponed. 

“Organizers are going to just probably have to wait and see if the warm temperatures continue. Some of these events might have to be cancelled or postponed,” said Heaton Jolley.  

Additionally, Jolley said the weather has been a lot warmer this year. The warmer temperatures have caused a lack of adequate ice formation for ice fishing. 

If you’ve registered for the events, keep an eye on notifications and emails containing updates on the events. 

Ice fishing safety tips

According to the Utah Division of Natural Resources, those looking to go ice fishing should take the proper safety precautions. 

The DNR said there should be a minimum of four inches of clear ice before people venture onto the ice on foot. Before taking a snowmobile or ATV out, there should be at least six inches. Clear ice can hold more weight than cloudy ice. 

Secondly, the DNR website said drilling test holes into the ice is advised before you head out. According to TakeMeFishing.org, test holes can help verify the thickness of the ice. 

Thirdly, the DNR said dress in warm layers, wear a life jacket and make sure you’ve got safety gear. Ice picks can be used to pull yourself out of the water and a rope for rescuing others. 

Finally, always fish with a partner. According to the DNR, it is difficult to get out of the water on your own should you fall through the ice. Additionally, avoid having large groups gather in small areas and spread yourselves and your equipment out. 

Mariah Maynes contributed to this article. 

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DWR, Utah State Parks hope for cooler temps ahead of ice fishing events