Ice fishing this week? As temperatures soar, think twice

“So nine inches (of ice) becomes five, four, three, two, one, zero very quickly,”

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Last March, Chief Jason France and his team from the Lake Shore Fire District rescued a dozen on-water ice fishermen in Braddock Bay.

“What happened last year was that they ended up on an island because everything around them had broken,” France explains.

Those who fished learned many lessons that day. France says if you go there should be a minimum of four inches of ice under you. With high temperatures predicted for Wednesday and Thursday in the 50s, he says, think twice.

“When it warms up and it’s above freezing, stay off the ice,” he says.

Syed Ahmed Mustafa of Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support at Webster says to keep in mind that ice in places like rivers and lakes is melting both above and below.

“So nine inches becomes five, four, three, two, one, zero very quickly,” Mustafa explains.

The ice, he says, is beginning to crack and shift. “…it’s very unstable and unpredictable and it’s emotional. So stay off the ice,” he says.

Kevin Dubartell had gone fishing in Irondequoit Bay on Tuesday and made a decent catch, some perch which he plans to cook with white sauce and garlic. He was also ready to “catch up” if he broke through. He came prepared with ice picks tied to strings around his shoulders.

“Let’s say you fall in, then you want to shove them into the ice and they’ll allow you to get some friction and get back up. So always bring things like that,” he says.

Dubartell’s trap. He plans to eat them with white sauce and pasta.

Dubartell says to let people know when you plan to return, go with a buddy, and try to fish where others are within shouting distance.

The US Coast Guard also says to bring things like a radio and a whistle in case of an emergency. Also bring life jackets and avoid other recreational activities like ice skating or snowmobiling. Chef France agrees and asks to take note of it. He says this season has been quite busy.

“We’ve had more ice and cold water rescues this year than we’ve had in recent autumns and early winters, which has been interesting,” he says.


The U.S. Coast Guard reminds the public to exercise extreme caution on the ice along the lake
Erie and Lake Ontario. There have been several incidents this winter where people have fallen into the freezing waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario due to weak ice. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature for the 2020-21 winter season averaged 32 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to the 2021-22 winter season it averaged 34 degrees Fahrenheit as of February 14, 2022. Due to the increase in outside temperatures, the thickness of the ice may have reduced to levels unsuitable for recreational purposes. Current forecasts call for unseasonably warm daytime temperatures, which can quickly reduce ice thickness and contribute to dangerous conditions. The Coast Guard continues to advise the public not to venture onto the ice and to never assume the ice is safe. Hypothermia remains the greatest danger after falling through ice. The Coast Guard recommends keeping the 1-10-1 rule in mind: one minute to practice breath control, 10 minutes of meaningful movement, and one hour of awareness before core body temperature drops too low. The Coast Guard also recommends that those who engage in recreational activities on or near the water in cold weather take appropriate safety precautions. Wear appropriate clothing to avoid hypothermia and choose bright colors to be easily seen by others. Carry safety equipment such as a whistle or noise-making device, VHF-FM radio or personal locator beacon, and ice punches or screwdrivers, which can be used for self-rescue in the event of an emergency. accident on the ice. Please contact the Buffalo Area Public Affairs Officer at (716) 843-9321 with any questions.


Dubartell says the ice was 9 inches thick in Irondequoit Bay on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday could be a different story.

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