Crucial safety equipment for Canadian ice anglers

Risk management

Simple, easy-to-use gear to help you survive—or avoid—a plunge into icy water

ICE CLEATS

Ice cleats

Although it can seem funny—like that old banana-peel gag—slipping on winter ice is no laughing matter. This mishap is so common that we all probably know someone who has seriously injured an elbow, knee, back or head in a fall. And a bad fall is made all the worse when you’re ice fishing way out on a lake, far from help. But it’s easy to prevent such an accident: simply add ice cleats to your boots for extra traction.

Also known as spikes, creepers or grips, ice cleats come in numerous designs. Most boil down to metal studs set in flexible rubber straps and treads that attach firmly to your boots and stay in position, yet easily slip on and off as needed. When choosing cleats, the more studs, the better, preferably positioned under both the heel and ball of your foot. You also want aggressive, self-cleaning treads.

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