Ice fishing in the Bitterroot Valley can be hazardous, with the wild temperature changes we experience through the winter. But, generally, it's safe if you talk to other ice fishermen and use caution.

No matter if you're an old hand or a beginner, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has some tips:

  • Tell someone where you plan to fish and when you plan to return.
  • Know the basics about hypothermia before going out on the ice, especially if you're fishing with young people.
  • Speaking of young people, NEVER leave children unattended on the ice.
  • Test the ice ahead of you with an ice spud bar or an auger.
  • Blue Ice is usually hard. Opaque, gray, dark or porous spots in the ice are danger areas. Ice is usually thin at shoreline.
  • Avoid ice on rivers and streams. Lakes are best.
  • Know something about ice safety and rescue techniques.