An unusually warm winter has made several ice fishing destinations in Wyoming precarious for anglers.

Wyoming Game and Fish says many fisheries in Wyoming may not be safe this year thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Falling through the ice has already cost at least one Wyoming resident his life.

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"Ice fishing is a fun winter activity but it does require attention to safety," Game and Fish Chief of Fisheries Alan Osterland said. "Many fisheries around the state are warmer than usual, so staying safe on the ice is very important to prevent accidents."

In order to stay safe, anglers should remember:

  • Ice should be at least 4 inches thick
  • Check the ice thickness every 100 to 150 feet
  • Avoid fissures in the ice and significant sized cracks in lakes
  • Clear ice is stronger than cloudy or white ice

Additionally, changes in water levels and wind can affect ice conditions and make it dangerous for anglers.

"Be aware of recent weather conditions and temperatures and scout out the lake you wish to fish for overflow, wet areas and open water," Game and Fish said. "With variable ice conditions across the state and rapidly changing conditions, anglers are urged to call their regional game and fish office to inquire about ice conditions."

And, added Osterland, "The best way to stay safe is being extra cautious — avoid driving a motorized vehicle on a frozen lake and ice fishing on rivers or on other moving water that has frozen over."

He also recommends not fishing alone, wearing a life jacket and carrying an ice pick.

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