KNOW YOUR ICE: Experts advise caution before heading out on Northland lakes

Fish Lake, MN
Fish Lake, MN(KBJR/CBS)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - As we turn a corner in the Northland, diving headfirst into winter weather, many are itching to get out on frozen lakes.

Ponds and smaller lakes have already started freezing over, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to go out on.

Fish Lake, MN
Fish Lake, MN(KBJR/CBS)

Tim Wagner, owner of Hi Banks Resort on Fish Lake said he has already seen dozens of skaters and anglers make their way across the icy lake. Though he encourages winter recreation, he said everyone should always be cautious when getting on ice.

“Some of them don’t think, they just go, and that’s not the proper thing to do,” Wagner said.

Wagner stresses people should be educated when deciding it’s a good time to head out on frozen water.

“Always check with your bait shops. The resorts around here are the best ones to ask about ice conditions and they change quite a bit,” Wagner said.

The U.S. Coast Guard Station in Duluth is also encouraging everyone to be prepared.

“We like everybody to make a plan and stick to that plan. Let everybody know where you’re gonna be when you plan on being back,” said Petty Officer Jonathan Dellinger.

Dellinger said ice conditions are always unpredictable and no matter how safe you may feel, you should always use caution.

“Try not to go out alone. And then have a lifejacket and something reflective, so if you do end up in a situation we can find you pretty easily,” Dellinger said.

Wagner at Fish Lake said many find comfort in staying on ice closest to the shore, something he said is a common mistake.

“They like to stay close to shore, and close to shore isn’t always the best thing because of springs coming out right underground right by the shoreline. If you go out you’re better off to stay out away from the shoreline, away from exposed rock piles from the sun beating on them,” Wagner said.

Officials also urge people to always have proper winter weather gear, prepare for changing weather conditions, have proper safety equipment, and above all, have a fun, safe winter.

So far there have been no reports of any ice-related incidents on any Northland lakes.

Click here for more information about how you can be safe on the ice this winter.

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