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Well guys I’m posting to tell you about my mistake and a scary situation I found myself in yesterday. ive been on the ice since early December, taking all of the precautions, wearing the float suit, carrying picks. Spudding around, measuring ice and of course staying extremely close to home <200 meters. with the wild weather I have fished on some absolutely atrocious ice this year but I made a mistake this past weekend and i should have known better. Basically anywhere right now that water flows on my lake was completely wide open. That also includes near any structure such as docks or boat houses. saturday night we had a cold snap up north and it got to -11 overnight which happily for me really solidified the terrible ice that we had and also locked up a lot of the open areas with a skim of ice again. here’s where I made a stupid mistake. Once again taking all precautions me and my buddy decided that we wanted to try fish about a 5 minute walk down the lake for the day. If you know me, my dog basically always comes fishing with me. He’s a 30lb cocker spaniel lab mix, extremely intelligent, an incredible swimmer, absolutely loves the water but loves running out on the ice even more. with there being 5 inches of clear ice on the lake now I thought absolutely nothing of having him come out for the walk down the lake to fish. Well sure enough just as we were arriving where we wanted to fish I hear my buddy say “oh $|-|!7” I look and cash had gone near a rock outcrop where water had been rushing down into the lake he was about 10 meters from shore, and he was swimming for his life. im very confident on the ice because I take the required precautions, and furthermore I know that when I’m close to home and wearing a floater with picks, if I go in I’m getting cold and going home no big deal. I never considered that my dog could ever fall through being 30lbs and on 4 feet. I sat for a second and thought first of all, ok what’s the situation, can he get himself out, can I safely get him out? And I thought about the people that have died trying to save their dogs. I calculated everything and knew that I could easily get out and home from where I was at so I dropped my sled rope, said to my buddy, “I gotta save him” I watched cash narrowly miss getting himself out of the water and as he fell back in backwards I could tell he was now really scared. It was a weird feeling walking towards that crappy ice. It started to crack under my feet. I was walking probably on half an inch of ice. I then got onto my stomach and started to army crawl closer to the hole and In I went. Adrenaline surging through my veins I didn’t even feel the cold aside from my boots noticeably filling with ice water slowly. Cash scrambling swam back to me and I forced him towards shore where I was then able to push him out. Now here I am swimming in about 5 feet of water. I was able to consciously decide. To hell with the picks I’m going to see if I can get out without them. Sure enough totally calm I got out no problem at all the float suit nearly launching me onto the ice as I kicked. made the walk home and here were my observations. 1. my feet were soaked and boots were full of water it felt like walking in ice buckets. That hurt and was miserable. 2. My hands really started getting cold after the 5 minute walk and a bit of the adrenaline cut out. 3. My hiking hard 5 minutes home completely zipped up in my survival suit, I started actually warming up. This was incredible to me. Those suits with the wrists cinched and the zipper done all of the way up I could feel the heat building in my body incredible 4. when I got home and took my under layers off, my undershirt was actually fairly dry! I couldn’t believe that the cinches on the suit kept a lot of water out. Sections of my sweater were also dry. Pretty incredible considering I had literally gone underwater for a second when I first fell through the ice. 5. you can literally feel yourself dying after you plunge. The first thing I noticed was that I tried to tell my buddy that I’d be ok and that he could meet me at home but even in my calm relatively warm state it was very difficult to talk. As I marched home my breathing was heavier from walking fast and my chest felt super tight as if I had a chest cold. Warming up made that go away entirely. my dog didn’t like the feeling of the cold water on his fur so he scandanavian bathed the whole way home rolling in the snow to try and dry off. lesson learned. Don’t mess with sketchy ice unless you have 100% control of the situation. Never ever go on bad ice without a float suit (I never will again) stay calm and the act of falling through and getting out is actually nowhere near as bad as the horror stories seem to make them out to be. If you are prepared, wearing the right clothing, calm and carrying the right tools, you will most likely survive to post about it here another day. ive heard people suggest it but it’s true, if you spend a lot of time on the ice, go in and then get yourself out. You’ll see what if feels like, what getting out is like so that when it unexpectedly happens to you you’ll be an old pro. last but not least, I don’t give a damn what you hear, the ice can be 5 inches and clear, with people snowmobiling etc etc, if there’s snow on the ice all bets are off. If you can’t see what you are walking on at all times, you gotta be checking. The switch in quality in a spot that I would have never imagined to have bad ice was incredible. Lesson learned I should have been more accountable for my dog myself and my buddy.