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Importance of Ice Cleats

As the last week of the year winds down on us, old man winter has reared his ugly head. Temps have dropped and the mercury has fallen out of the thermometer.

Ice conditions continue to vary across the metro area with 5-10 inches on most lakes. Some houses have arrived on Lake Minnetonka as of late. With these cold temps, ice will be very consistent and I predict atv's and trucks on the ice by the new year.

Fishing has been steady for sure. Panfish have been striking hungry in depths of 10-16 FOW. The lucky set up has been Clam Outdoors Drop Kick Jig with the NEW Maki Leechi plastic. Crappies have also been feasting on crappie minnows over a deadstick.

I wanted to also touch base on a sometimes-overlooked tool/safety piece of equipment that gets taken for granted: “Ice cleats”.

In my opinion, ice cleats are just as valuable to me as my Vexilar, or Clam Outdoors Ice Armor Suit. Whether there is snow or not on the ice, my Kahtoolas are always strapped to my boots.

A lot of people think that the cleats or spikes just make it easier to get around on the glare ice, so there isn't much value to it. Just slide your feet like your skiing or skating, right? Not so much. How sore are your legs the next day? If you’re lucky, you may have only slipped and landed on your bottom. Some people aren't so lucky. I have personally seen it happen.

Ice is one of the most solid pieces of material. There may be a time when luck runs out, slip and fall and hit your head on the ice. Concussions or a head injury could come easily on the ice.

Ice cleats, like any other tool or piece of equipment we use come in all shapes, sizes and variations. Also, with that, you get what you pay for. I myself, along with the Ice Team and several of my fellow tournament pros use Kahtoola Micro Spikes.

They are around 60 dollars a pair, but will last a long time. They are aggressive in build. There are certainly models that cost less, but I assure you that you may have regrets after a few uses. Do yourself a favor and get some ice cleats. They aren't just for convenience, they are for safety as well.

Have a good season! Be safe!

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