BlogMarch 2021

When to Stop Ice Fishing

When to Stop Ice Fishing

By Andy Whitcomb

Mar 01, 2021

An important part of ice fishing is knowing when to stop. Here are some suggestions to help stay safe at the end of ice fishing season.

It might be hard to believe but spring is just around the corner. The return of warmer temperatures means that the best time to ice fish is rapidly nearing an end. And just as there was a time of uncertainty of when to start, there can be an uneasy transition of when to stop ice fishing.

Ice Fishing Safety

Ice fishing safety is always a concern, even during the coldest periods and after achieving how much ice is safe for fishing. However once the warm-up begins, there should be extra precautions because it is well known that “old” ice is weaker than “new” ice.

Ice Fishing Reports

Watch ice fishing reports, especially through social media routes which are updated constantly. Much of the content may cover not only when to ice fish but when to stop ice fishing. Anglers readily share info about ice thickness and possible weak areas, even if they may be a little tight-lipped about the hot bait and exact depth of the fish.

Keeping everyone safe

Keep in mind too that disregarding ice fishing safety is more than just about you. A recent social media post showed a picture of two people who had ventured out on a large shelf of ice on the river. If the ice had cracked, safety of first responders would have been jeopardized too. And it seems each ice fishing season ends with anglers being rescued off an ice flow in Lake Erie.

Is ice fishing safe?

It certainly can be, when all precautions are followed. 5 inches plus of new, clear ice can provide a stable platform for a unique fishing experience, often for large groups of anglers in shanties and huts. But, one of the first signs to stop ice fishing will be the absence of any other anglers on the ice. If there are any other ice fishing “red flags” except for tip-ups, it just isn’t worth it; start prepping for casting again.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.