Very few reports are coming in since we are in the transition period between open water and ice. Those who have been able to access open water on the White and Muskegon have still been getting perch. Letís hope that they stay in place until we can walk out to get to them.
This is a good time of the year to talk about ice safety. Many, myself included, have such an overwhelming desire to get a hole in the ice and drop a line that caution is an afterthought. Donít let it be, the fish will wait for another inch.
Remember that 4 inches of good new ice is considered safe for all activities. Dark, sometimes referred to as ďBlackĒ ice, is the strongest ice of the season. Obviously, any moving water is a different proposition, and watch for areas that may be subject to reflected heat from objects along shore or embedded in the ice. Shoreline ice typically freezes slower than the main body due to this reflected heat, so returning to shore is a time to be especially vigilant about changing conditions.
If you know the body of water well, and conditions are right, you can get ice of lesser thickness that will support you but bring your caution along with you. Ice picks, cleats, a PFD are good to bring along. Never venture out alone. Go with a friend but donít walk side by side, spread out a little. Bring a throwable boat cushion tied to a rope to help someone if they go through the ice. If someone near you goes through the ice, get yourself in a prone position to disburse your weight. Yell for help, donít panic.
Bottom line: Donít go if it is iffy, the Fire Department has more important work to do than rescue you for being dumb.
Happy New Year, and see you on the water, not in it, OK?