Winter safety: Be careful if you go ice fishing

William Brittingham …… 2/27/15 …. last chance to fish before they close the point for the summer. (Submitted photo)

Did someone order massive amounts of snow, wind, ice, and cold? I have spent most of my outdoors time fixing frozen pipes and cutting firewood preparing for this weekend’s storm.

The “it’s too cold to work outside, let’s go fishing instead” is no longer an option. It is truly too cold. Some people are even trying ice fishing for the first time. By the way, be careful, there is a lot of unsafe ice, and then when you cut a hole into it to fish you just weakened the ice around you.

I have been looking for a list of safe ice on ponds, Delaware does not have one, Maryland does.

Yellow perch picking up

Yellow perch fishing has picked up, and that is not surprising since the temperatures have plummeted in the area waters. You just have to find some open water, and watch out for duck hunters.

Despite the cold, the duck hunters are loving the weather as long as they can find some open water. You can see the signs of them (duck hunters) at boat ramps where there are tracks in the ice from pulling boats. Not much stops those boys.

Maryland blue crab found in Florida

Tagged blue claw crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. (Submitted photo)

A Maryland blue crab that was tagged in the Chesapeake Bay over two years ago was found in the Crystal River. That is in the Gulf side of Florida, I kid you not. I have spoken with the researchers who did the tagging. Apparently this is the second tagged blue claw crab to make it to Florida in the past 20 years.

The crab is being collected next week by the researchers from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) Animal Tracking Studies for testing.

Chillaware Tournament May 5

We have announced the first annual Chillaware Island Spring Surf Fishing Tournament for May 5. The tournament rules and regulations are the same as the fall tournament we just had, and all the details are on the website www.delaware-surf-fishing.com.

Registration will be open in a couple of weeks, and we will announce that when it happens.

Outdoor Expo March 10

Port Mahon boat ramp with tire tracks form duck hunters pulling a boat out in the ice. (Submitted photo/Alex Tkachuk)

Save March 10 for the Delaware Outdoor Expo at the state fairgrounds in Harrington. The expo will be in the Dover building just like last year. You will be able to prepurchase tickets in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, if you go outside be careful of the “arctic” temperatures. The water is very dangerous this time of year. There are a few ponds up north that are safe to walk or skate. Make sure you check with the management first.

One thing I am looking forward to is seeig how much of this ice covers the Delaware Bay, inland bays, and eventually the beaches. In March 2015 we still had mini-icebergs floating around the waterways.

Rich King’s outdoors column runs Thursdays in the Delaware State News.

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