Despite a healthy start to the ice fishing season this winter, officials warn anglers about changing conditions in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Lakes are feeling the heat after a recent warming trend in the North, and those looking to go ice fishing need to be careful.
A colder-than-average start to the winter gave many bodies of water a solid base, but the warming temperatures are causing some lakes to thaw throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“In all likelihood, the ice looks thicker and safer than it actually is,” Todd Schaller, chief warden of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told reporters.
Becker County Sheriff-Elect Todd Glander cited one specific area that should be avoided.
“I know there are cars out on Little Detroit [Lake], but it’s not something that we recommend,” he said. “And I’ve heard ice reports from out there that vary anywhere from a few inches to 17 inches. The ice can be thick in one spot and on the same lake be thin, especially if there is a current under there, which can sometimes go unseen.”
Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Angie Warren told reporters how fish can also compromise the ice by creating pockets underneath thinning ice.
Three cars either partially or fully fell into the water last ice fishing season, and needed to be rescued.
“We are ready for it,” Glander said in reference to potential rescue situations this season. “We’ve got the air boat. We just hope we don’t have to use it.”
For ice fishing safety tips, visit the Wisconsin DNR website.