It is one of my favorite things about winter. Ice fishing is a past time that I have shared with others my entire life. Their is something about it that sets it apart from fishing from a boat. It is adventurous. It is not just a fishing trip, but a journey. And, if done right, using the right gear, it is not as miserable as people might think. But, with the mild winter we had leading up to this past artic blast of cold, ice fishing opportunities were sketchy to say the least. Yet many adventurous souls braved the ice and set out to fish many of Montana's waters. Some did not return.

The use of ATVs, snowmobiles and even side by side ATVs has been a popular way for people to get to the best fishing spots. But, ice thickness plays a role in whether or not it is safe to drive these vehicles on the ice. It is recommended that a body of water have a minimum of 3 inches of ice for a person to walk on. and 6-8 inches if a person wanted to drive an ATV. But, some bodies of water can range in ice thickness. It could be 8 inches in one spot and 1-2 inches in others. Meaning ice anglers need to always be sure the ice thickness is safe to travel on.

Recently, a group of ice anglers from Missoula County made the trip to Toole County to fish the Marias River near Tiber Reservoir. The fisherman were part of a group that drove their side by sides out on the ice. When the 2 fisherman didn't return back to camp, a third member of the party followed their tracks to a section of open water.

According to MTN News

The Toole County Sheriff's Office said in a news release on Tuesday afternoon that the suspected location was opened in the ice and two divers went into the water, found the bodies, and brought them to the surface.

No names have been released of the two men, and the bodies are currently awaiting autopsies at the State Crime Lab.

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