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March 03, 2006 10:00 PM

Beware Of Ice

Sunday is the deadline to get permanent ice shacks off the lakes in South Dakota.
And Game Fish and Parks officials are reminding fishermen to stay safe when they go out on the ice this time of year.

With Friday's sunny weather and mild temperatures Waubay Lake is full of fisherman.

Fisherman Marlow Sattler says, "There's nice fishing here, nicest perch you've ever seen."

But Friday Marlow Sattler is taking his ice shack home with him, because even though the ice is still over 20 inches thick, Sunday is the deadline to get ice shacks off the lakes in South Dakota.

And even with those good ice conditions in the northeastern part of the state officials say this time of year that can change really fast.

Game, Fish, and Parks official Robert Losco says, "It doesn't take long with weather like this for the ice conditions to get bad and if we leave 'em on we have problems with people not being able to get to the ice shacks and get them off in time."

Fisherman can still go out on the lakes after the deadline but should remember to tell someone where they're going, always fish with a friend, and check the ice conditions before they head out to the middle of the lake. Because while it may be safe to drive over 12 inch thick ice or walk on ice that's two to three inches thick, that's not always the case this time of year.

Losco says, "A lot of times when we talk about those ice thicknesses we're talking about fresh ice or new ice, not conditions where ice is starting to melt. You just have to take that extra precaution in the spring to make sure."

Because even though Friday may be a nice day to be on the lake the sun is slowly melting the ice beneath the surface.

The shacks must be pulled off the lakes by midnight Sunday. Fisherman can still use their shacks after that but can't leave them on the lake overnight.
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