Archived Story

DNR: Ice still ‘iffy’ for fishing

Published 11:16am Monday, December 3, 2012

Ice fishing might be a favorite Minnesota pastime, but unlike most years at this time, the ice is still thin, and the Department of Natural Resources urges winter anglers to use caution.

“A couple weeks ago we had a cold spell and it did freeze over some of the smaller lakes and ponds,” said DNR area fisheries supervisor Arlin Schalekamp. “Since then, we have had three, four, five days of pretty warm weather, and things have melted, and the ice is actually getting thinner.”

Schalekamp has described the ice fishing in the area as “iffy.” He said it’s probably not very safe right now to be walking out on most lakes.

“There has been some ice fishing activity, but it’s pretty limited,” he said. “I would say that if anybody is going to go out fishing, use caution.”

Schalekamp recommends taking along a life jacket, rope and spud bar or ax to check the ice thickness. It is also highly recommended to fish with a buddy.

The ice should be at least three inches thick before it is safe to walk on, and Schalekamp said the thickness should be checked every 10 to 15 feet.

“We’re not going to tell people not to go on the ice,” he said. “That’s their own personal choice. If they go out, they’re going to have to use caution.”

The ice is still far from thick enough for vehicle traffic. Schalekamp said ice should be frozen more than a foot deep before it is safe for vehicles.

“In order to make really good ice this time of year, we need several days of below zero temps,” he said. “That’s what it’s going to take to freeze things up to make sure it’s frozen and safe.”

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