Our Opinion: Remember ice safety

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2022

On Monday, about 200 people were rescued from a chunk of ice that had broken away on Upper Red Lake.

The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office released a Facebook message near midday on Monday that anglers reported the chunk of ice broke free from the shoreline. The first responders arrived to find about 30 yards of open water between anglers and the shore.

In lieu of this, it seems like a good time to put out an annual reminder to be aware of ice conditions when out fishing.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stresses that there is no such thing as 100% safe ice, but does list a number of guidelines, included in the graphic above, anglers should be aware of to make their ice fishing safer.

Walking out on a body of water isn’t safe until the ice is at least four inches think. Five to 7 inches thick and it’s considered safe to drive a snowmobile or small ATV out on.

Regardless, the first step should be checking the ice thickness and ensuring the ice is clear. White ice can indicate a lessening of strength as opposed to clear ice. Standard thickness guidelines should be doubled when walking on white ice.

Ultimately, a healthy sense of common sense and preparedness should be followed when ice fishing or taking part in any kind of recreation on the winter ice. Be aware of your surroundings in order to reach the maximum amount of safety.

For more on ice safety, visit the DNR at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html