Injury patterns and outcomes of ice-fishing in the United States

Cornelius A. Thiels, Matthew C. Hernandez, Martin D. Zielinski, Johnathon M. Aho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction Fishing is a common pastime. In the developed world, it is commonly performed as a recreational activity. We aim to determine injury patterns and outcomes among patients injured while ice fishing. Methods Data on initial emergency department visits from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) from 2009-2014 were analyzed. All patients with fishing related injuries were included. Primary endpoint was rate of admission or transfer. Secondary endpoints were defined a priori anatomical injury categories and patients were assigned into groups. Descriptive and power analysis was performed between patients with ice-fishing and traditional fishing related injuries. Results We identified 8220 patients who sustained fishing related injuries, of which n = 85 (1%) involved ice fishing. Ice fishing injuries occurred primarily in males (88%) with a mean age of 39.4 years ± 17.5 (std dev). The most common injuries related to ice fishing were: orthopedic/musculoskeletal (46%), minor trauma (37%), and major trauma (6%). Hot thermal injuries (burns) were the fourth most common type of ice-fishing injury (5%) but rarely occurred in warmer fishing months (< 1%, P =.004). Cold thermal injuries (1%) and hypothermia (0%) were rare among ice-fishing injuries and immersion/drowning occurred in 5% of cases. The rate of admission/transfer was significantly greater in ice-fishing (11%) than the traditional fishing patients 3%, (P <.001), power was 90%. Conclusion Ice fishing is associated with more severe injury patterns and more thermal injuries and immersion injuries than traditional fishing. Providers and participants should be aware of the potential risks and benefits and counseled appropriately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1261
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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