Clearly ice fishing is a northern sport and some of the areas in the Midwest have decreased due to global warming. In my area in northern Illinois I have seen a tremendous decrease. The river in the area used to be consistently frozen over for skating and ice fishing. I have not observed ice fishing on that river in the last 15 years. If you ever doubt the increased warming of temperatures just speak with a farmer or listen to the stories of the old timers. You do not need to just rely on science its the stories and direct observation through time that will bring home the reality.
Protective gear is imperative. Warm boots and appropriate socks. Please see our section on foot care. Thinsulate comes in a variety of thickness. Personally I like 1500 thinsulate. That with a layer sock approach keeps my feet fairly warm.
As many are aware about 75-80 percent of heat loss occurs through the head. Head apparel is a must. A head Sok is great as this also covers your neck and ears.
Mittens much warmer than gloves as well as using heat pads/ hand warmers. Hand warmers are inexpensive and work very well.
When the outside temperature is above freezing for 24 hours Thant changes the above guidelines. Be advised ice will loose some support and strength.Of course this depends on temperature and duration.
Know the difference between snow and ice. When snow is on top of ice many times it can be difficult to differentiate. Check it first with an ice pick or some rod. Even a hiking pole or ski pole can be effective.
Your judgement!! Trust your judgement. If you have an uneasy feeling about a given lake or river then don’t push it. Done let hubris over rule your judgement.