As ice begins to form on lakes and ponds, Maine Game Wardens are sharing ice safety tips.

Colder days and nights are starting to freeze over the lakes and ponds here in Maine. However, the ice still isn't close to ideal in many areas. The Maine Warden Service put together a short video demonstrating a few techniques to keep you safe on the hardwater. A very important component to venturing onto a body of water is testing the ice thickness as you move further from shore.

Testing the ice can be done with an ice chisel, or even a crowbar. Ice thickness can vary wildly in the early season. Wardens recommend the thickness of the ice to be between 4 and 6 inches. The video also gives a visual of ideal ice, compared to poor ice conditions.

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Wardens also recommend having ice picks at the ready if you were to go through thin ice. Amazon sells various styles for around $10. Picks should be kept on your person, readily accessible in case of emergency. They do you no good if left at the bottom of your pack basket.

If you fall through, stay calm. Grab your picks and drive them into the ice. Use them as handles to pull yourself out of the water. The video above will show you how.

15 Must-Have Items For Ice Fishing Season In Maine

Ice fishing is an excellent way to embrace the cold winter months in Maine. It will get you outdoors for some fresh air, it's family friendly, and a successful day could yield a tasty dinner. If you're new to the sport, we put together a list of gear you'll need for a fun, comfortable, and successful day on the ice. Some of these items are more essential than others. Some gear may not be essential at all, depending on how you plan to fish. Again, the items we listed are geared towards those who are new to ice fishing.

Before we get to the list, remember to dress appropriately for the cold weather. We didn't put warm outerwear on the list, but it's definitely a must-have. Dressing in layers is important to ensure you're warm enough throughout the day on the ice. If you start getting too warm, you can simply take a layer off. Hand warmers are also worth packing.

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