BlogFebruary 2018

How to use ice safety picks effectively

How to use ice safety picks effectively

By Tom Keer

Feb 01, 2018

 An ice safety pick is a handle and spike tip that fishermen use to pull themselves out of the water when the ice breaks under their feet.  Their $10 cost makes them the best purchase you can make.

It's winter and that means many of us are outdoors ice fishing so it’s important to have in mind ice safety picks before adventuring yourself out there  Ice freezes in patches on lakes and ponds and moving around from area to area can be unsafe.  Each year, dozens of people fall through the ice.  Carrying a pair of ice fishing safety picks can be the difference between a good experience and a tragic one. . Check below for important ice safety picks to always have in mind:

Ice Fishing Safety

If you fall into the water, you'll need to get out.. Ice fishing safety picks can help you to get out fast! Soaked clothing is heavy, cold water makes movement difficult, and hypothermia can set in very quickly.  It will take a bit for folks to gather ropes or ladders to help with a rescue, so to make sure you get out quickly, ice safety picks are the answer: 

What are ice fishing safety picks?

Ice safety picks are handles made from wood or plastic that feature spike tips made from hardened steel.  The tips are pointed but not super sharp, and they may be the cheapest and most important piece of ice fishing safety gear you own.  They're inexpensive so buy a pair or if you're a do-it-yourselfer then make your own.

How to use ice fishing safety picks

You're cold and in shock.  Your soaked clothes are heavy, and you can't get a grip on the smooth ice around the hole.  Ice safety pick digs in to the slippery surface and offers traction, so you can pull yourself out of the water.  Use short, choppy strokes and go a short distance at a time.  When you get out of the water and onto the ice, roll away from the hole.  Standing up can break more ice.

Also Known As: Some folks refer to these essential pieces of ice fishing gear as ice picks, bear claws or ice gripers.  

Call them what you will but the next time you go ice fishing be sure to carry a pair of ice safety picks; and don’t forget to check these great ice fishing safety tips before you go.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at