A simple, inexpensive piece of gear could save your life.

Colder days and nights are starting to freeze over the lakes and ponds here in Maine. However the ice still isn't ideal in most areas. Much of it has formed from snow, rain and slush causing the ice to be airy, and inconsistent in thickness.

If you're hitting the ice for any reason, check the thickness as you go. Use a crowbar or ice chisel to check the thickness as you get further from shore. The Maine Warden Service shows you how in the video above.

Paul Wolfe, Townsquare Media

A piece of gear everyone should have in their pack basket is ice picks. Ice picks are found at most outdoor outfitters. Amazon sells various styles for around $10.

If you fall through, drive the picks into the ice and use the handles to pull yourself out of the water. The video above will show you how.

Stay safe, and happy fishing!