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AKRISONER

Sketchy ice - sketchy situation

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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.

Edited by AKRISONER

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Wow, wasn't expecting any of this reading your post from my cubicle this morning. I am glad you are ok!

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I was going to be ok no matter what because I could see the bad ice. I got to make the decision to let him potentially drown while keeping myself safe or save him. I can honestly say that if i was not wearing the floater and didnt have picks, my dog wouldnt be alive today...thats hard to think about.

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Dogs don't understand danger so if there's any issues with ice I'd for sure leave the pooch in the cottage. 

Good to hear it all ended well for both of you.

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Glad to hear it turned out OK. Scary situation for sure. Good job to take time and think rather than just going for it.

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8 minutes ago, lew said:

Dogs don't understand danger so if there's any issues with ice I'd for sure leave the pooch in the cottage. 

Good to hear it all ended well for both of you.

absolutely, that was 100% my mistake. The ice was so good where we were walking that I didnt consider that there could be spots that were that bad still that he would be able to easily access without totally running off to the other side of the lake. Turns out he just had to go over that one 10x10 spot of ice in the whole area. Next time he will be staying home for sure!

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Well man, we all make mistakes.  Thanks for sharing yours!  

 

I was hiking in the bush with my .22 hunting grouse one year when we had some good early ice.  And I accidentally walked over a partly frozen stream.  Turns out it was about 3' deep in the middle where I broke through.   But the way the ice broke, it end up on a 45° angle, which caused me to slip fall on my butt in the water, which was now up to my neck.   I was able to break the ice up and stand up straight,.  but then I need to reach back down under the water to get my rifle....  Then break my way back to the shore and climb out! 

Same deal, about 5 minute light jog home.  Except I was in a cheap insulated coveralls.  So I was absolutely drenched to the bone and boot full of water.  

You described it perfectly.....

 

The ice has been F'd up this year.  I was on 8" Sunday morning, but I was spudding.  I always spud, even on thick ice.  I use it as a walking stick.  And you can tell just by the sound and the "pong" if the ice is changing.  Sure as poop, I smacked ice and could tell it had changed.  Pop a quick hole, 2" of ice.....   Stay safe man.
 

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Scary stuff for sure! I'm glad that you & Cash are okay! I never take any chances, even though I'm prepared with a floater & ice picks. Be safe out there everyone!

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All I can say is "Thank God both you and your dog are alive because I'd have hated to read about this in the paper"!!!!!

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Keep safe AKRI no fish is worth a life. Great sport but dangerous at the same time.

I have seen some beauties on Simcoe in the 80s. With “cowboys on snowmobiles” 

 

 

 

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Wow man, great read and scary for me the way you wrote it.  I have NO clue if what I would have done.  Happy you are all okay!  Cheers for staying calm to get out of it with the pup still by your side now.  

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Scary S man. Glad it all worked out. No ice is safe ice. I sometimes get carried away and walk and chip to fast. Just in a hurry to get to my fishing grounds. Your story has made me rethink this now.

Glad it all turned out well for you bud. Yes, leave the pooch at home. They always like to wander.

 

 

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Scary story. What kind of floater suit do you wear? Ive been wanting to test mine, in warmer weather lol. I have a striker ice float pants and jacket, but its heavy just walking, cant imagine it being soaked with water trying to move. 

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58 minutes ago, Tjames09 said:

Scary story. What kind of floater suit do you wear? Ive been wanting to test mine, in warmer weather lol. I have a striker ice float pants and jacket, but its heavy just walking, cant imagine it being soaked with water trying to move. 

I wear a one piece nautilus. It needs replacing but the $1,000+ price tag of suits that quality sucks. It’s a shame nautilus doesn’t even seem to make them anymore. I think helly hanson makes something similar.

That’s what scares me about those striker suits. They are advertised as ice fishing suits and come with picks etc. but they aren’t flotation devices. They are just meant to keep you warm not keep you alive if you go in.

it sounds like you have their float suit version. Is it coast guard approved?

my snowmobiling suit is an fxr floater, I should jump in with it now and see if it’s much different.

the nautilus felt like I was wearing a life jacket I was super buoyant 

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2 hours ago, AKRISONER said:

I wear a one piece nautilus. It needs replacing but the $1,000+ price tag of suits that quality sucks. It’s a shame nautilus doesn’t even seem to make them anymore. I think helly hanson makes something similar.

That’s what scares me about those striker suits. They are advertised as ice fishing suits and come with picks etc. but they aren’t flotation devices. They are just meant to keep you warm not keep you alive if you go in.

it sounds like you have their float suit version. Is it coast guard approved?

my snowmobiling suit is an fxr floater, I should jump in with it now and see if it’s much different.

the nautilus felt like I was wearing a life jacket I was super buoyant 

I dont think any ice fishing suits are coast guard approved. Not the ones hat keep you warm as well. I have a Striker Ice Climate Jacket which has "150g Sureflote® Flotation Assistance Technology". But I dont know how well it will float, its supposed to though. 

 

I dont think the FXR ones are coast guard approved either, its probably a similar product. 

 

I believe the entire Striker Ice lineup floats, I dont think they make products that dont. Its the same as most jackets sold at Bass Pro in the ice fishing section. 

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29 minutes ago, Tjames09 said:

I dont think any ice fishing suits are coast guard approved.

My Mustang suit is.  

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yup my nautilus is as well but its beat and needs replacing. Worked well though! Speaking of, has anyone seen the "deluxe" mustang at cabellas or anywhere in vaughan/barrie? I see that sail sells them but they are sold out. I am thinking of retiring my old full of holes dirty as hell and no longer waterproof suit after its one actual usage lol.

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Last year I checked for the Mustang Integrity Coats, very hard to find and going for over $700.  I checked their "Catalyst" series and felt they weren't much more than a life jacket inside a coat.  Seemed like a lot of void areas.  The one piece suits don't fit me well, need what would amount to an xxl top an xl bottom, inseams are too long.  This is the one I was hoping for https://www.stevestonmarine.com/floatation-clothing/mustang-thermosystem-plus-coat

Edited by Fisherman

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My old Salus banana suite was coast guard approved.  And my new(used) nautilus jacket is coast guard approved.  But my pants are snowmobile pants that have flotation, but not approved. 

 

if I went through I would be drenched to the bone...  But I would float!

 

WAY more comfy in the hut to be able to take my jacket off though.  So to me it's worth it.  I never seem to go through when I am wearing my floater anyway! 

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1 hour ago, Tjames09 said:

I believe the entire Striker Ice lineup floats,

This suit is sweet but your going to pay for it.  I had the nautilus coast guard one piece. It was great, but bulky. The upper part felt like I had a large PFD on.

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