Something’s Fishy in Maine

Something’s Fishy in Maine

Every year at this time one can see little shacks scattered across the frozen lakes of Maine. Avid ice-fishing enthusiasts have begun their seasonal hobby of catching fish through the ice. While some are very competitive and vie for bragging rights of ‘The Big Fish’, others are only there for the ‘party’ atmosphere that develops around a gathering of usually three or more. What ever the reason for their presence, these ice-fishing participants are forgetting a crucial consideration, safety.

Combine the weight of people, shacks, gear, and various transportation (ATV’s) making thicknesses of ice a priority. The Maine Warden Service issues ice thickness warnings and various safety tips, sometimes to no avail. One day after a thin ice alert this year, shacks arrived on local lakes with gear, vehicles, and children in tow.

Ones own safety is their choice but to endanger ones children is another matter. There are also the rescue personnel that will be called out to save people who have gone through the thin ice. They put themselves at risk to save citizens that have made the bad choice to ignore alerts. All of this and more for bragging rights.

Just one week ago Col. Joel Wilkinson, chief warden of the Maine Warden Service announced there are no safe lakes in Maine (Remington, Remington, 2008). This warning went unheeded. Officials in Maine state in 2000 that the numbers of deaths, due to going through the ice, are climbing so fast they are losing count (Lyons, 2000). The year 2009 looks to be the same.

The arguments for and against ice fishing are many and branch off into various directions. If one is risking their life alone it could be said that it is their right to do so. But there is no scenario that involves this sport that risks only the fisherman.

All photos from Yahoo Images

Lyons K. (2000). Winter Safety & Survival Part 2. In Millinocket Regional Hospital Press Release. Retrieved January 4, 2009 from: http://www.mrhme.org/getpage.php?name=november302000

Remington T., Remington S. (2008). Maine Warden Service Says ‘Stay Off the Ice’ In Maine Outdoors Today Retrieved January 4, 2009 from: http://maineoutdoorstoday.com/blog/?m=200811

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