Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend is this Saturday, Jan. 19, through Monday, Jan. 21 in Minnesota.
During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing.
“This weekend is a way to encourage anglers to take a kid fishing,” said Jeff Ledermann, education and skills team supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Ice fishing is a great way to get outdoors in winter.”
The right clothing keeps anglers warm and dry
• Stocking Cap: May be the most important piece of winter clothing. Wear a knitted or fleece hat or cap that covers ears. In addition, a hood helps block the wind.
• Scarf or neck gaiter: A scarf, muffler, or neck gaiter can be pulled over the face if it gets windy.
• Mittens: Mittens trap more heat than gloves. Mittens should be thick and warm. Thin gloves worn under mittens are good when mittens need to be taken off for tying knots or taking fish off of hooks. Connecting mittens to jacket cuffs may be a good idea for some.
• Warming layers: Layers of clothing trap body heat between them. Most long underwear (layer next to the skin) made of polypropylene (or silk) wicks moisture away from the skin. The next layers are for insulation. Ideal insulation layer materials retain some insulating qualities, even when wet (such as a wool sweater or fleece jacket). If it's really cold, wear more than one insulating layer. The top layer blocks the wind and may also be waterproof.
• Socks: Wear thick wool socks. Some people like to wear two pairs of socks. Be sure to avoid cotton socks.
• Boots: Boots should be insulated and rubber-soled. Make sure boots aren't too tight – toes should have room to wiggle.
Basic safety gear for your ice fishing trip
• Hot chocolate and snacks: Keep anglers happy.
• Band-aids: Patch hook pricks or minor cuts.
• Hand warmers: Warm hands and feet.
• Personal flotation device on rope (seat cushion-type): To rescue someone if they fall in the water. Sled with attached rope: Carry gear and/or a person, if necessary.
• Wool blanket or sleeping bag: Warm anyone who gets wet or cold.
• Cell phone: Make calls for help.
• Ice rescue claws: One set per person for self-rescue in case of falling through the ice. You can even make your own.
• Sunscreen and sunglasses: Sunburn is caused from sunlight not heat, glare from the ice and snow intensifies the sunlight and the potential for sunburn. Before heading out, anglers or spearers should check ice conditions locally.
Visit www.dnr.state.mn.us for ice safety guidelines and for more information about taking kids fishing.
Logo courtesy of the Minnesota DNR