Staying Safe on the Ice - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Staying Safe on the Ice

By: Jason Rantala

jrantala@myabc5.com

@jarantala

We are currently in the prime of ice fishing season on lakes across the state, but there are a few safety precautions you should take before heading out on the ice this year.

Ice fishing in Iowa is a yearly tradition for the 40 to 50 thousand that head out to the state's frozen lakes each year.

While the goal when you hit the ice is to have fun, and to catch a few fish if you're lucky, the DNR says you should take a few steps to stay safe.

"We've had good quality ice right now and even though the weather forecast is calling for it to warm up, it's not going to do too much damage to it," said Mick Klemesrud, spokesperson for the Iowa DNR.

Klemesrud says when you head to the lake, you should check for signs like off–color ice and pressure ridges or ice heaves that can create weak points on lakes.

"If you see a place where the ice is really pushing on itself and starting to change levels, that would be the spot to stay away from, said Klemesrud.

Also look for black ice in early spring, which is a sign of deteriorating ice. Klemesrud recommends drilling test holes with an auger just to be safe.

Kaleb Bissell has spent the better part of his life out on the lake each winter.

"If people are saying it's on the less than thick side, I don't go out," said Bissell.

When you hit the ice, the DNR recommends you bring some extra supplies along with you, just in case.

They say have a bucket of safety equipment, including 50 feet of rope, ice picks, a flotation device and a cell phone.

It's always good to bring a buddy along, as well.

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