Warm temperatures delaying ice fishing season in the Northland
While many anglers are reeling with excitement for ice fishing, they will most likely have to wait a little longer. People planning on fishing this weekend might have to change plans due to the past warm temperatures delaying ice from forming.
Rick Peters, a Lieutenant Conservation Warden with the Wisconsin DNR, said warm temperatures delaying lakes and pond freezing. However, many Wisconsin residents are already testing how thick the ice is.
“It really depends on so many different factors. How clear is the ice? Is there a current underneath? Is there a spring? Even the depth of the water can make a difference,” Peters said. “I’m not walking out on any ice that’s under four or five inches in thickness. But even then it can vary greatly in strength depending on the time of year, depending how the ice was formed, there’s really no such thing as safe ice.”
Peters also said when your ice fishing make sure to take extra steps to prevent spreading any invasive species this season.
“Just like when you’re boating, you’ll end up with weeds and different things that will end up on your equipment. Make sure you clean that off,” Peters said. “That way you’re not jumping lake to lake, delivering aquatic invasive species from one water body to another. People kind of forget that whatever they bring onto the ice is eventually going to end up in the water unless they take it off with them.”
Matt Paavola, a Conservation Officer, and Lisa Dungan, a Recreation Safety Outreach Coordinator with the Minnesota DNR advised families to bring life jackets for ice fishing.
“With area lakes and ponds starting to freeze over, we recommend parents speak with their kids about the dangers of ice and to remind them to not go out on the ice unless they have an adult present with them.” Paavola said. “An unexpected fall into cold water can present a greater risk of drowning. Even the best swimmers can become incapacitated quickly. So always wear your lifejacket when recreating on cold water.”
For more information about ice thickness, details are available on the Minnesota DNR page here. The Wisconsin DNR also have several ice fishing tips you can read here. Also for another story about traveling safely on the ice you can look here.