DNR offers safety tips as Iowa lakes freeze over

Local News
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With colder weather coming to Iowa, officials want to remind people to be safe as lakes freeze over. 

Many anglers might be heading out on lakes and ponds all over Iowa for ice fishing, but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources wants angler to remember to check the ice often. 

The DNR recommends at least four inches of ice before fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles or ATVs. 

“Check ice thickness as you go out. Ice thickness is not uniform on any body of water. There could be pockets of thin ice or places where the geese had kept ice from forming,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

“Now that we have ice, we need to go through our mental safety checklist.  Go with a friend and be sure to cut some test holes to check ice thickness as you go out,” Larscheid said. 

The DNR offered the following safety tips to keep in mind for being on the ice:

  • There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.

  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. 

  • Ice fishing is a social activity, don’t go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone would be there to call for help or to rescue.

  • There could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed, so check ice thickness as you go out.

  • Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.

  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.

  • Safety items in the bucket: Ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and a throwable floatation seat cushion for use in case of rescue.

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