Play it safe on the ice

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — On the heels of Sunday’s accident at Lake Poinsett, South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks is reminding people to play it safe when out on a frozen lake.

The fish are biting, but anglers are scarce.

“About every other person that comes in asks how’s the ice, and I say be careful,” Northview Bait & Tackle owner Matt Staab said.

Northview Bait & Tackle owner Matt Staab says business has been good despite a late start to winter.

“The one thing that is down are the older gentlemen that like to drive their pickups on the ice because, as we know, the ice isn’t great out there,” Staab said.

“If I’m going ice fishing right now I’d be double checking the ice everywhere I go, walking out in front of your ranger or four-wheeler if you do choose to drive and checking that hundred or 200 yards out in front of you by foot rather than driving out and checking it,” Regional Law Enforcement Supervisor Jeremy Roe said.

Roe recommends at least a foot of ice to drive on, but says the thickness of the ice can vary greatly from spot to spot on any given lake.

“Just because it’s 12 where you’re standing is not going to be 12 in 100 yards. There’s spots up on Bitter Lake that’s five inches on the west half and it’s literally 18 inches out in the middle, so there’s that much fluctuation in our ice right now and that’s what’s making it so dangerous,” Roe said.

The quality of ice also makes a difference.

“These instant warmups like this can really open up cracks, make slush pockets and everything like that,” Roe said.

“I wouldn’t drive a four-wheeler, I wouldn’t drive a pickup on the ice this year,” Staab said.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

“Conditions are not great, but if you’re careful you can fish and you can have a good time, but just be careful, we want you coming home safe,” Staab said.

Another reason to exercise caution, Roe says the ice from one lake to another is never the same.

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