(NEWS10) – Ice fishing season is here, so when is it safe to go out on the ice? The season booms around February into March but be sure to stay safe by wearing proper clothing and checking ice thickness.

Most ponds and lakes offer great ice fishing potential but according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), certain waterways favor certain fish. Large, shallower ponds and lakes favor species such as chain pickerel, northern pike, yellow perch and sunfish. Deepwater lakes need to be fished selectively to get good catches of northern pike, walleye or lake trout.

Then there is ice safety, here are some guidelines for staying safe. These guidelines are based on clear ice over nonmoving water.

  • 2 inches – STAY OFF
  • 4 inches – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5 inches – Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8-12 inches – Car or small pickup
  • 12-15 inches – Medium truck

According to the DEC, slush ice is about 50 percent weaker, clear, ice over running water is about 20 percent weaker and double the recommendations for white ice.

When walking on ice-covered by snow, be sure to use a walking stick to check the ice you are about to walk on. Also, be wary of areas close to shore or near docks as the ice can be less thick and more unstable in these areas. Bubblers are often used near docks to protect them from ice, they weaken the ice considerably.

Also, be careful of snowmobiling over snow-covered lakes, there could be dangers hidden under the snow like rocks and splits in the ice.