The part about staying off the ice

As just about everybody has been reporting for the last few weeks, ice on Minnesota lakes is too thin to be safe.

But few people seem to be listening.


The latest rescue happened this morning in Eagan, according to WCCO, when two people had to be rescued from a vehicle that had gone through the ice.

Up on Mille Lacs, the capital of ice fishing in Minnesota, a huge area of open water has opened up, according to satellite imagery from Mille Lacs Lake Webcam.


The Red Door Resort closed fishing access around its property, according to this post on New Year’s Day:

The main sheet of ice broke loose from the north shore again, about 12:30 this afternoon. It’s now open about a 1/4 mile or more wide from Myr Mar to Knox Point. The break heads southeast from Knox Point so as it goes by our place, it is about a half mile out-for now.

But there are still ice houses on the lake.

Two people broke through the ice Saturday on Lake Riley in Eden Prairie. A DNR ATV went through the ice last week on Lake of the Woods, and a Deephaven man had to be rescued on Saturday when his ice boat broke through on Lake Minnetonka.

The Fargo Forum editorial board didn’t mince words today

Still, there seems to be a dummy factor at work. Surely every angler who loves fishing through the ice knows the weather has been warm. Surely they understand that — and this is not rocket science — warm weather means thin ice, and thin ice is unsafe. Yet, out they go and in they go.

Now this would be no big deal — no business of anyone but the anglers themselves — if all they did is exercise their stupidity, and risk was limited to only them. But without fail, anglers who get themselves in life-threatening situations because they thought they could fool Mother Nature require rescue and often medical attention. Rescue and on-the-scene medical attention invariably entails mobilization of public resources, and that can get expensive. Therefore, the public expense of dealing with the ice-macho crowd is a concern of the taxpayers who pay the bill.

  • I went out on foot yesterday (you saw my photo, no doubt) but I wouldn’t try to drive…

  • Jamei

    Why in the world would you go “out on foot”?!?!

    What part of “thin ice” and “drowning in freezing, dark water” don’t these people understand?!?!

    It makes me crazy!

  • There have been lots of fishermen on Emerald Lake, and elsewhere on Lake Minnetonka. They make me sick. I just looked, and they are reporting weather will be getting warmer, above 32 again, later this week.

  • BenCh

    The DNR suggests:

    For New, Clear Ice Only

    2″ or less – STAY OFF

    4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot

    5″ – Snowmobile or ATV

    8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup

    12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

    I am guessing some of these ice fishermen (and ladies) are drilling holes in the ice so they probably know the thickness. I have also seen some of the local Mille Lacs guide services stating that they are still taking clients out, but not past any large cracks.

  • Nick

    Ice fishing right now is no more dangerous than your every day commute. Have people gone through the ice this year? Yes. But what about the thousands of ice fisherman who are not going through the ice? Just like driving to work, you need to make good decisions and pay attention at all times. I would even argue that your odds of dying or becoming seriously injured are higher driving a car than going ice fishing. So should we all just stay in our houses and live in fear? Maybe the nanny state government should step in and tell us when we can and can’t go on the ice. Maybe they should also step in and tell us when we can and can’t drive our cars? Everything in life is a risk….you can choose to live in fear or just do your best to live your life. Some people’s minds will be made up about going on the ice because of all the movies, TV shows, and news that they watch. There are resorts right now putting hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own assets on the ice as we speak. Would they put their own life, business, and clients at a “serious risk” if they thought it was unsafe? That’s all I have…..have a great 2012!

  • Bob Collins

    Actually, if you go to many of the fishing forum sites in the state, you’ll find knowledgeable people who ice fish saying the same thing. As with any other segment of society, there are wise people and there are people who aren’t real bright. It’s just a question of which category people want to be in.

    Sure, people have a right to be stupid and go fish thin ice, but there are people who are in the business of rescuing them who don’t get the luxury of that decision.

  • Nick

    I am glad to see that we agree on this but people’s bad decisions is what keeps a lot of rescue people employed. Does it not? What do you propose that we do to keep people off thin ice?

    P.S. People who post on fishing forum sites are some of the same people going through the ice.

  • Bob Collins

    What would I do? Not much. But if I were producing a story that, for example, treats some guy who went through the ice on an ATV and almost got his 3 year old killed, while ignoring warnings, I’d probably get around to asking, “hey, what exactly were you thinking?” rather than treating him as some sort of walking miracle.

  • Nick

    I agree. My guess is that he was not thinking and that’s where things went wrong. Hopefully he will use this as a learning experience that will help save other people’s lives. God works in the mysterious ways.

    Check out this link. It’s a live web cam of a lake access on Mille Lacs.

  • Bob Collins

    Yes, I check that site every day. That’s a fabulous site.

    I think that resort is on the south end of the lake, which I believe hasn’t had the problems the northern end of the lake has had, I guess because of the wind.