Learning the ropes of ice fishing

Photo by Jade GlabDemonstrator Jack Baker shares ice fishing tips with families during the Kid's Ice Camp held by the North American Ice Fishing Circuit Tournament.

La PORTE — The La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the North American Ice Fishing Circuit Tournament over the weekend.

As part of the festivities, the NAIFC Pro Staff hosted ice fishing and skills demonstrations at Cummings Lodge. The event was free of charge Kid’s Ice Camp and was open for any families who wished to attend.

The demonstration was given by Jack Baker, NAIFC Pro Staff and ice fishing enthusiast. He stressed the importance of safety out on the ice.

Before stepping foot out on the ice you should know the ice’s thickness. The Indiana DNR website recommends that the ice be at least four inches thick of clear ice “like you get from your freezer.” This can be tested by drilling a hole near the shoreline before setting foot on the frozen lake.

Baker warned the families that ice strength can vary by destination.

“You should always be careful when you’re out there," Baker said. "Just because the ice is so thick over here, doesn’t mean it’s the same thickness in other spots out on the lake.”

Safety and other fishing gear was demonstrated by Baker. He noted the importance of wearing life jackets and/or having a floatation device on your person while ice fishing for safety. Life jackets come most recommended, as they serve a second purpose by providing extra warmth under your coat.

Another important safety precaution is wearing ice picks. Many stores carry ice picks that are attached to either end of a cord that is designed to worn on your neck for safety. These picks are to be worn as a precautionary measure in case you find yourself falling through the ice. They will provide a means for you to dig into the ice and climb out of the frigid water.

In addition to providing information on ice fishing safety, Baker also gave tips on how to achieve a successful family fishing day. He shared some of his personal experiences ice fishing with his own daughter, who became a national ice fishing champion at the age of nine.

Some of his methods included encouraging the kids to build snowmen on the ice, and other safe cold weather activities while waiting for the fish to bite.

Baker also recommended packing the kids their own “snackle” box to keep them entertained. By packing your children sortable treats like M&M’s candies and utilizing the different compartments that come in a standard tackle box, they can develop patience and organizational skills that mirror those necessary for ice fishing as an adult.

After the demonstrations were finished, the families were invited to go ice fishing out on Stone Lake. Each child was given a complimentary Lucky John fishing rod so that they could test out what they had learned. Other equipment was also provided free of charge for attending the Kid’s Ice Camp.

More information on the North American Ice Fishing Circuit Tournament’s events can be found at www.naifc.com/events.

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