BAZETTA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – As the conditions begin warming up again, first responders are warning about the dangers of ice-fishing on area lakes and waterways.
Even on a day with temperatures climbing well above 50 degrees, there were still a handful of people fishing through the ice Wednesday on Mosquito Reservoir in Trumbull County.
“These are the same individuals that during the warm weather season, they are out in their boats or fishing from shore,” said Bazetta Township firefighter Rob Wasser.
Wasser is also an avid fisherman. He says this time of year people travel out onto the ice to see that they can catch, but Wasser warns that there is no such thing as “safe ice.”
“What we have to be concerned with right now is with the rising temperatures. The ice is going to deplete rapidly, especially when you’re talking about the shoreline ice,” Wasser said.
Already this month, there have been fatal accidents in Ohio and Pennsylvania involving people falling through thin ice. Many of them suffering hypothermia in water that’s barely above freezing.
“You’re talking about having complete muscle loss, fatigue sets in so much faster than it does during the warm season,” Wasser said.
Bazetta is one of three departments surrounding Mosquito that respond simultaneously to rescue calls, equipped with cold water wetsuits, life jackets and helmets and even a small boat that can skim the icy surface.
Wasser says those fishing on lakes with ice need to remember ice thins out both above and below the water line.
“Where guys need to be concerned, in particular, is any body of water that has any current or any flow that will also deplete that ice faster,” Wasser said.
Additional ice safety tips include:
- Never, ever ice-fish alone
- Use a personal floatation device, such as an approved life jacket
- Have a length of rope nearby you can toss to someone in trouble — or that they can toss to you
- Have a cell phone handy and call 911 immediately if someone falls into the water — do not wait to see if they can get out themselves; call right away