Anglers using darkhouse spearing methods for winter ice fishing are being asked to mark their abandoned holes as a safety precaution.
With the expansion of dark house spearing for northern pike statewide, those venturing on the ice this winter should also be aware of the increased risk from spearing holes.
Dark house spearing involves cutting a large hole in the ice and using a portable or permanent ice house to keep light conditions low, allowing the spearer to see pike below the ice. When a portable shack is used and removed from the ice daily, this can leave a large open hole that others traveling on the ice could fall through or drive over with an ATV or other vehicle. In addition to holes in the ice, blocks of ice removed to create spearing holes are sometimes left on top of the ice, creating a potential hazard for vehicles.
Spear fishermen are being asked, out of courtesy to others on the ice, to mark their abandoned holes with natural objects such as branches or a brightly marked wooden lath to indicate to other users that a potential hazard exists.
Ice anglers and other users are urged to use caution and be aware of their surroundings when traveling on frozen lakes.
Image courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks