Ice Fishing on Lake Erie (Local Laws and Rules to Follow)

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Lake Erie is a beautiful location and can provide an excellent place for you to go Ice Fishing. Located between the US and Canada and occupying space in many different states, including New York and Ohio, this Lake certainly has a lot to offer any potential Ice Fishers.

For anyone intending on spending time out on Lake Erie to go Ice Fishing, it is definitely worth knowing what to do to keep safe and get the best catch, as well as the local laws you have to follow.

Within this article, we will take you through these aspects of Ice Fishing on Lake Erie in order to make sure you are properly prepared and ready to go when out on the lake, so that you can have the best and most rewarding time possible.

Safety Precautions for Ice Fishing

Whilst Ice Fishing can be one of the most rewarding and interesting types of fishing available to you, it is also one that you should partake in with caution and a safety forward approach.

With the dangers of cold water and ice, it is really important that you take steps to ensure the safety of both you and the people that you take ice fishing with you so that you can all enjoy your time and don’t come to any unnecessary harm that could at best spoil your trip or at worst make it your last.

Check your local Ice Reports

One of the major aspects of making sure you are safe when Ice Fishing is ensuring that you are in the know as to the strength and the thickness of the ice you are going to be spending your time upon when out on Lake Erie.

Depending on the area of the Lake you are going to be occupying, there may be differing levels of ice thickness.

Make sure that you check for the ice reports in the entry point or state which covers the area of Lake Erie you are intending to visit, whether it be Michigan, Ohio, New York, or Pennsylvania.

If the ice is determined to be weak, either consider fishing in a different part of the lake where it may be thicker or coming back another day when the ice is stronger so that you don’t bring about any unnecessary risk to yourself and others.

Dress Appropriately

Due to the cold nature of ice fishing, make sure you dress the part is an important part of maintaining your safety and avoiding any nasty complications that can come from exposure or temperatures that are too cold.

It’s also important to make sure that you are wearing gear that can help to combat the inherent dangers of the lack of friction that ice can have and make sure you spend as much time as possible standing on your own two feet and not having them escape from under you!

Waterproof, and wind-resistant clothing is essential and will provide very much needed protection from the elements when out on Lake Erie.

On most occasions, waterproof clothing is more of a convenience than a necessity, but in such cold conditions, you will find that you most definitely need it.

Ice Fishing on Lake Erie
Ensure you have suitable clothing for the cold temperatures

If your clothes were to become wet and soak through, this would provide an avenue for the cold to make direct contact with your body, and whilst it may just be a nuisance at first, with how cold Lake Erie can be, may lead to hypothermia.

Making sure you have high-quality boots is another important safety aspect, even if the ice is strong for walking on, you don’t want to test it by suddenly dropping your whole body weight on it with force if you were to slip over.

Waterproof boots with a good layer of insulation and grippy rubberized soles will help to ensure that you maintain your grip with some additional friction so you can keep yourself standing. Even still, it will pay to move with caution and purpose out on the ice.

Finally, make sure to protect your more sensitive parts of your body that are sometimes overlooked such as your ears and hands are important. Warm and insulated ear protection such as a good thick hat or earmuffs is a good way to start.

Also making sure that you get a pair of waterproof, insulated gloves is an excellent way to keep some dexterity in cold conditions. Wearing some regular wool gloves won’t do; even a little bit of water will soak through and have you feeling the cold in the worst of ways.

Bring a Friend and a Life Jacket

An effective way of making your time Ice Fishing all the more safe is to bring a friend or a group of friends with you. You should really never go Ice Fishing alone as if you were to fall into the ice there would be nobody around to help you or even know that you had fallen in.

In a group, if anything should happen, you can find help and make sure someone is there to call the emergency services. Whereas if you were alone this would not be possible. It’s also just more rewarding to share the experience of Ice Fishing with others.

You should also ensure that you, and all of your friends that are joining you, are wearing life jackets so that in the unfortunate event that you fall into the lake you can at the very least stay afloat and not go under.

Test the Ice and be Aware

As you traverse Lake Erie, it can be in your best interest to test the thickness of the ice in the areas going to spend your time, even if you have looked at the local ice reports.

Bore a small hole and see for yourself to make sure that the ice at least 4 inches thick (the minimum thickness to support 200 pounds, which is including any gear you might have).

You should also be aware of the areas to avoid in a more general sense, where the ice will tend to be thinner.

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Any ice formed around structures like piers or rock formations, areas like feeder streams or springs are all places that should be avoided as ice will tend to be on the thinner side.

Permits and Licenses

In terms of the local laws that you have to follow when out on Lake Erie, having the right permits or fishing licenses is the most important.

Each state has slightly different ways of making sure you are permitted to go ice fishing on Lake Erie and it is well worth checking in with the local authorities of whichever entry point you are using to access Lake Erie.

For example, if you were to enter Pennsylvania there is a stand-alone permit for fishing on Lake Erie, and some other states can have permits that are only good for certain times of year (usually the most popular times).

So, check with the proper authorities of your specific state to find out what permits that you need for where you need to be and for the time of year that you are going to be spending on the ice.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, you should make sure that you take all of the necessary precautions to ensure that the time you spend out on the ice of Lake Erie is as safe as possible so that you can enjoy your time.

Make sure to wrap up warm in waterproofed and insulated clothing and take some friends with you to watch your back. Ensure you have all the proper permits and have the right to fish upon the lake.

Hopefully, this article has been useful in giving you valuable safety information and will keep you safe out on your trips to Lake Erie.