Be safe and avoid a fine while on snow and ice [UPDATED]Published 9:27am Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Updated 11:29am Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Surrounded by lakes, and situated on the Central Lakes Trail, Ashby is perfectly situated for winter recreation, including ice angling.
Department of Natural Resources enforcement officer Paul Nelson was out checking fish houses this week on Pelican Lake near Ashby.
“We’re looking to make sure people have an angling license, or if they’re also spearing they need both an angling and spearing license,” said Nelson. “Also, the law requires that ice shelters which are on the ice between midnight and sunrise have to be identified on the outside, which can either be the owner’s name and address, driver’s license number or DNR license number.”
Nelson, an Ashby area resident, has been a DNR enforcement officer for 27 years. While there are many other factors to enforcement, these are the most common things Nelson is checking for. Sometimes violators are given a warning, and other times a ticket, depending on the situation.
“If we get snow this weekend, we will be out checking snowmobile tags,” said Nelson. “We are the enforcement arm for the DNR, which includes snowmobiles, atv’s and watercraft.”
Enforcement officers also play an integral role in public safety.
“We get questions all the time about unsafe ice conditions,” said Nelson. “The Sheriff’s office called us last week because they got a report that people might have gone through the ice on Ten Mile Lake.”
Fortunately, that was a false alarm, but Nelson reminds anglers to practice ice safety.
Mike Sheldon, lead enforcement officer for the DNR in our region says safety is their main concern.
“People go out in dangerous ice conditions and take chances just to catch a couple of fish,” said Sheldon. “Don’t go out on thin ice.”
Sheldon recommends people view the DNR website to learn about ice safety.
The guideline on the site indicates that ice should be 8 to 12 inches for a car or small pickup, and 12 to 15 inches for a medium truck. Contacting a local bait shop or lakeside resort to ask about ice conditions, and double check ice conditions once you get there is also
Temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away.
“Check the ice at every 100 feet as you go out,” said Sheldon. “Don’t take chances.”
It is also recommended to park vehicles 50 feet apart, and make a hole next to the car. If water starts to overflow the top of the hole — the ice is sinking and it’s time to move the vehicle.
For complete recommendations, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us. Select the Education/safety tab at the top of the page, then select ice safety.