Ice Fishing Safety If You're Headed to Frozen Lakes This Weekend - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Ice Fishing Safety If You're Headed to Frozen Lakes This Weekend

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A couple area fishermen have already fallen through the ice this season.

So it's imperative to keep ice fishing safety in mind if you're heading out on the lakes to fish this weekend.

"Unfortunately we got all this early snow and it has made things a  little tricky. Obviously you can't see how thick the ice is where you're going, so you need to test it all the way," says Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fishery Specialist Gary Huberty.

He says he saw fishermen out on the lakes even before Thanksgiving.

"I was born and raised on ice fishing with my dad when I was a kid. He always let me help clean fish," says ice fisherman Scott Pendergrass.

He spent the afternoon catching walleye on Lake Sallie in Detroit Lakes.

"There's like five of us out there.  We're out in a portable," he says.

That they brought out on snowmobile.

"There's a few wet spots. I wouldn't recommend driving, but certainly snowmobiles and four-wheelers will be fine," he says.

The Minnesota DNR says there isn't enough ice yet for vehicles. That might have to wait until at least after Christmas. So check with other area anglers and bait shops and keep an eye out for safer, clear ice. Drill some test holes before heading out to set up and keep in mind that ice doesn't always have a uniform thickness.

"You probably want to wear some sort of float coat- something similar. Take your spikes or ice picks with you so that if you do break through, you can pull yourself back onto the ice," says Huberty.

Wearing picks around your neck makes them easily accessible- just in case.  That way, you can go out, have fun and get the big catch.

"It's really being outside and enjoying nature. It's cold, but you get used to it," says Pendergrass.

Click on the following link to see how thick ice should be as reported by the Minnesota DNR: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html



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