D.N.R. cautions the public: Ice dangers remain

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The D.N.R says the ice is still thin on many bodies of water and reminds people to check the ice conditions before heading out on a lake or river.

Anglers throughout the state made their way onto the ice today, but the DNR says it's not just the fish that are at risk.

“The most important thing is to never be casual about safety when you're on lake ice,” said the D.N.R Public Information Officer, Ed Culhane.

The D.N.R. says ice levels should be at least four inches to walk and fish on, five to ride a snowmobile or A.T.V., eight inches for a car, and a foot for a truck.

With four to six inches on Lake Altoona, fishermen kept their cars in the parking lot, and most walked to find their lucky spots.

“That’s good safe walking ice. Four-wheelers, I kind of get a little leery with that. But there's guys that will take their chances,” said angler Kevin Martinek.

“When I see a bunch of vehicles parked out here, than I know it's safe,” said angler Leonard Steinke.

“Conditions vary, by lake and by location on the lake, and there's no substitute for having that local knowledge for what's happening on that lake on that day,” said Culhane.

Culhane also mentioned talking to local anglers about the conditions first and recommended bringing ice claws that can be made from nails in wood strung together to put into the ice for anyone who falls through.

“When you get out on the ice, you want to keep laying flat, so that your weight is distribute, so you're not going to keep re-breaking through the ice. And just kind of claw and crawl and squirm your way to a thicker spot,” said Culhane.

“I did fall through the ice about 5 years ago. I was catching quite a few fish and showing off. When I went to stand up I went through the ice up to my waist. After that, I’m pretty cautious. It gives you a wakeup call. It’s not worth it; the fish are just not worth risking your life for,” said Martinek.

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