THIN ICE: DNR Safety Reminder

ice fishing

The frigid temperatures that have been hanging around recently may be giving some Iowans a false sense of security.  

Ice-fishing shanties have popped up on Maffitt Reservoir in Dallas County; while the ice may appear safe the DNR warns that is not always the case.
A young boy learned that lesson the hard way on Friday. Ten-year old Tanner Beier and his friend, 11-year old Ashton Eckenrod decided to take their chances on the frozen Clear Lake.

Ashton fell through the ice, but was able to cling to the edge. Tanner managed to grab his hand and pull him out, neither boy was injured.

The DNR has since put up signs warning people about the dangers of thin ice on the lake.

They say in order to fish a minimum of four inches of quality ice is necessary and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. 

They recommend remembering the following when heading out on the ice:

  • There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.
  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice.
  • Ice fishing is a social activity, don’t go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone would be there to call for help or to rescue.
  • There could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed, so it would be wise to check ice thickness as you go out.
  • Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water.  Things like current and springs slow ice growth. Rocks, trees or docks that poke through the ice will conduct heat and make the ice around it less stable.
  • Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
  • have on hand, Ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and a throwable floatation seat cushion for use in case of rescue.


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