The fishing opener is less than a month away. In some parts of the state, folks are out in their boats. In others, they’re still firing up the augers. Either way, play it safe.
Conditions can change any time of year. Right now, they can change quickly with temperature fluctuations, wind, rainfall and the occasional (hopefully) snowstorm. Lisa Dugan, recreation safety outreach coordinator the DNR Enforcement Division says,
“This tends to be a dangerous time of year because people are excited to be on open water for the first time in months, or they’re trying to soak up every minute of ice-top recreation before the ice melts.”
The DNR says during this ice fishing season there have been five ice-related fatalities in the state. But note, each year there are incidents that happen as we transition to open water. In 2018, an ATV operator perished after breaking through the ice in late April.
Whether on ice or on the water, to maximize your safety here’s what the DNR recommends: Wear a life jacket. People who choose to venture onto ice at any time of year should always carry a pair of ice picks and check ice thickness frequently. This is particularly critical in the late season, as conditions change rapidly.
In addition, during the late season, people should double the DNR’s ice thickness recommendations, which apply to new, clear ice. While ice thickness can vary widely even on the same body of water, people should avoid areas such as bridges, channels, culverts and streams. For more click here.