Never ice fishing but dozens of times trapping. Since that occurs in shallow water you just keep breaking ice until you can drag yourself out by grabbing onto a branch, weeds, etc.
Ever fall through the ice?
My old buddy Cal (RIP) , used to be the first person on the ice every year in his area. He took 3/4 plywood and made two 8ft x 1 ft skis, the fronts were upturned like real skis. He was 165 lbs, would go out on barely one inch of ice, 3 or 4 punches of his spud bar between his legs and he had an 8 inch hole. Ice was so clear, he had to wait patiently for 20 minutes sometimes before the fish stopped being wary. But usually got his limit. Fell thru a couple times but he never fished water over 5 ft deep like that
I left early so I didn't see it happen, but my buddy's 4 year old was kicking ice and snow into the 10 inch holes while everyone else was busy packing up to go. He stepped into one and started screaming his head off because he was stuck in ice water up to his arms and couldn't get out!
I live on a lake so I set up tip ups, have the flood lights up real high and reflectors and lights on everything then I sit on the porch and wait. Well I went out at about 10pm one evening last year to pick everything up and left my 6 year old son in the house as it was a 15 minute drill. On the last tipup I stepped back and my leg shot straight through the hole and I went down hard. First I panicked, then I tried to rip my leg out of the hole but my boot wasn't coming out, as I struggled I twisted my knee just enough to make me stop moving. I thought, your not under water, your foot went in, it will come out, try and relax and carefully try and get your leg out. When I got back to the house reality really hit. What if I had twisted or broke my leg? Or slammed my head off the ice. I had no phone with me, my kid was alone in the house, and no one knew I was out there. I don't mean to sound dramatic but it really made me think about how stupid I was and how quick something can turn on a guy. I have never made that mistake again. I fell through when I was young once but this last one scared me more than the first one.
Many years ago on early ice on Bago I walked out from Asylum Point onto snow dusted ice toward a group of guys way off to the south, in the bay. They must have walked out from the landing inside the bay because the snomobile trail I was following started to get a little slushy. I broke thru but bounced off a sand bottom leaving me soaked up to my arm pits. I tossed my finder back a ways and quickly clawed my way out then rolled away from the hole. When I got back to the car another guy was unloading his stuff. I told him NOT to follow my tracks because the ice was too thin and I broke thru. He walked over to me in disbelief, looked at me, then said "You're all wet!" I drove back to Green Bay in my undies with the heat blasting. I have a few stories of cars and trucks getting into big trouble driving on the ice of Green Bay but that's for another thread. If "Stitzo" ever reads this post he will probably laugh his butt off......The pic is of early ice on Little Sturgeon.
Once, when I was 16. I was fishing a small lake on a very warm spring day. Easily 12” of ice, but at the time we were too stupid to understand how quickly the shoreline ice erodes. I was maybe 20 yards off shore and went in chest deep with a mucky bottom. I was able to break ice back to shore.
What did I learn? Don’t be stupid. Carry picks on early and late ice. Most importantly, have a healthy respect for how quickly things can take a left hand turn.
I pulled a 300lb man out of the ice who went through in deep water. He was able to hang on to the edge until I was able to throw a rope to him. By the grace of God a couple other guys ran over to help and we got him rolled onto a sled as he was starting to lose consciousness. The rope actually broke a couple of his ribs as we pulled him out, but that was better than the alternative. By the time we got him to shore and waited for an ambulance, his clothes were so frozen I had to cut them off of him. I gave him my hat and jacket until the ambulance got there. A few weeks later, somehow the guy found me and brought by jacket and hat back to me.
Moral of that story is that we all need to pay it forward. Outdoor pursuits are dangerous and I’ve had total strangers save my life as well, and they went way out of their way to do it. Stick together out there!
I fell through once in my early twenties on a private pond. I picked up some waxies at the nearest gas station and a pack of smokes. The attendant told me I was crazy to be icefishing and that I was going to fall through. It had been warm for the first couple of weeks of april eroding the shorelines but we had just had a little cold snap and everything seemed solid. Me and my brother showed up to 8ft of open shoreline. Here is the dumb part. This pond was being filled in by bulldozers so the shoreline fell right down to 16' deep. We grabbed a 2x6x12 and my brother made it across. Foolishly he stayed at the end of the board, as I crossed the board sagged in the middle and water poured over but it held. That is until I got to the end of the board where my brother stood. We both went straight down. My brother was light enough to climb his way back on to the ice shelf I was not. I was having trouble keeping my head above water as I was in a heavy duck hunting parka and carhart bibs. Also the shock of the cold took my breath away and I had to regain my composure. I doggie paddled to the shore and grabbed hold of a large chunk of concrete sidewalk that had been pushed over the edge of the pond. My feet and legs got swept under the concrete and I felt it shift a bit. That was the scariest part easily, picturing myself pinned to the bottom of this mucky pond. I eventually got myself pulled up on shore and re adjusted the board and my brother high tailed across without falling back in. I walked back into the same gas station with water pouring out of my pant legs and dripping from my arms, pulled out a soggy $10 bill and bought another pack of smokes from the same guy who anticipated my demise. Didn't say a word to him and walked out. Lol
Twice once on Delevan around 1960. I walked on snow over black ice! My buds pulled me out with much difficulty.I drove home,changed,and went back.4 days later I developed double pneumonia. Dammed Perch ! I went through on Geneva too. Them perch again! Melting ice opened up a large hole. Got myself out. I moved on Tichigan in 1987 and witnessed 2 2 drownings since. Many springs and currents in the lake. Use Caution. Especially on the SE side. CARPIO
Several years ago was pheasant hunting in late January on a game farm in Illinois. It had been sub zero at night and 10 above during the day for over a week. Decided to chase a crippled bird that ran down the river. I went through, the dog and bird did not.
The things I remember most:
1. how quickly it happened
2. how hard it was to get out, water was only about 2-3 feet deep but solid muck underneath, so no solid footing.
Told the story several times over the years and numerous people stated you have to be careful on rivers because water levels may fluctuate, causing weak or saggin ice.