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While we're waiting, I could use some help. Went on an ice charter on Sag Bay last year and got hooked. Bought myself an ATV this year and am ready to hit the bay myself. Where I can use your help is in learning how you cross the cracks, and what winds I have to watch out for. I understand most of the principals, and can eventually learn how to find fish (though if you want to give me an idea of what to look for, I would be grateful). My main concern right now is being safe. Thanks guys.:)
 

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thats a hard thing to teach a guy. it is mostly learned from experience and there really isn't any safe way to go about it. my best advice is to tag along behind some other fishermen on the way out and you will eventually learn the in's and out's. winds blowing offshore are the winds to look out for but mostly only when you only have unsafe ice or patchy ice out there. don't even fish in a northeast wind, shuts the fish right down.
 

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A strong offshore wind can be dangerous.

Also, if a strong wind has been blowing towards shore and then changes or gets calm. An in-shore wind can raise the water level which in turn will work the cracks. As the wind dies down, the water flows back out, taking the ice with it, and possibly opening the cracks.

Which way the wind has been blowing can be just as important as to which way it is currently blowing.
 
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I don't make it to the bay on a regular basis so I usually try to watch or follow someone heading out and cross where they do. Usually you can see a path. I then mark a waypoint so I can get back to that exact spot on my way back in.

I always stop and check before crossing. While some might think this is a waste of time--If I have even the slightest concern, I have the passenger get off and cross first on foot, sometimes with the gear. That way if one goes in the other can help, and not everything goes in the drink!

Getting a current wind report, and knowing when to pack it in when things get nasty out there is important too. I usually try not to make a firm date on when I'm going to fish the bay, but rather go when conditions are favorable.
 

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You definately have to be careful and go with someone who is from the area if you can, they will probobly help you out. One thing I think people don't realize to watch out for is even if there is no cracks open, the ice could have broke off and seperated a hundred yards or so, and if it was real cold at night formed a thinner layer between the 2 flows. And you throw in some snow like we've been having lately, then you have maybe ice ie: 6" or 8" for a mile or 2, then you hit this area for the next hundred yard could have 2" until you reach the thicker stuff again. Watch for this before crossing any crack with no previous tracks from anyone especially. And alway take a good compass. Go when the wind is blowing in, but not really strong either, as this will raise the water, breaking off ice as already stated. If I can see shore where I came off, I always point my machine twards where i came out, and then line up my compass. If you ever get stuck out there in a white out you can get lost REAL EASY. Learned this the hard way, and was not fun. Just happy I found someone with a Lowrand. Stay with traffic until you learn more about it, and you'll be o.k.
 

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Just thought I would add that always take the compass even if you have a GPS, The heavy Snow at times can mess with signal, and sometimes satellites have memory loss I think lol. A good compass always will read north. Find one of those lighted ones at an old boat junk yard, they work great. Wire it in to the battery of your machine and your good to go, even at night or in blizzard :)
 

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Even though an ice flow won't break off, cracks can open enough so you won't be able to get your quad across, be very carefull if comming in after dark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys. Anyone want to buy a relatively un-used ATV? Just kidding, but better informed. Where is the best place to put out so there will be someone to follow?:eek:
 

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Always alot of people at the end of Linwood rd., just take I-75 north to exit 173 then go east until you get to the ice:D
 

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Also on the east side of bay there's Thomas rd. and Bay Port. These areas have alot of people off them, and Bay Port kind of has Islands off shore that lock ice in. Better perch area than walleye though. The ice seems to get thicker faster on east shore and it seems to seperate less often to the northwest and westerly winds that we have more often blowing in on that shore;)
 

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Hey guys, Its a good thing we let this Ralph Smith guy into the club, he's got some great information to share :) Thanks Ralph I like reading your posts already and you only have 63 of them.
 

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Buy ramps and carry them religiously. Never know when u might need them. And use them if u have any doubt. I started with a quad 2 yrs ago bought a sled. Could always cross with quad just might need to run north or south to get off
 

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Old thread but some good info in here. Maybe it should be moved to the Saginaw Bay section?
 
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