'No ice is safe ice': DNR warns after warm start to January

ByKendall Keys, WISN
Thursday, January 19, 2023
CFD warns people to stay off ice
Chicago firefighters are warning everyone to stay off the ice after several rescues over the weekend.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Southeast Wisconsin experienced one of the warmest starts to January on record. Several days with temperatures above freezing and little snowfall left lakes and lagoons with little time to freeze.

The video featured is from a related report.

"Overall, not a typical Wisconsin winter, I'd say," said Adam Strehlow, a Marine Conservation Warden for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, "We only had a couple days there for the ice to really form to what it's at."

The warmer-than-normal January did not stop ice fishermen from setting up their shanties at Lakeshore State Park on Sunday.

"It's pretty thin. It's right on the edge of I wouldn't even want to go out there," said Strehlow.

Strehlow said four inches of ice is generally safe for a person to walk on. The warm weather caused an unpredictable freeze, leaving an uneven freeze across bodies of water, WISN reported.

RELATED: Police officers rescue boy, woman from icy pond, bodycam video shows

"We're always going to say no ice is safe ice. That's just because ice is unpredictable," Strehlow said.

Strehlow demonstrated with an ice spud one portion of the ice in a lagoon at Lakeshore State Park how one portion of ice would not break, but ice just inches away did.

An ice spud is a long pick used to test the reliability of ice. Strehlow recommended that ice fishermen don't go on ice without one. He also said ice picks and a float suit can help someone escape the water, should they fall in.

Strehlow said never go out on the ice alone.

"If you're alone and you go through the ice and there's no way for you to get out and no one for you to call for, you're in a pretty tough spot," Strehlow said.

RELATED: Minnesota ice rescue: 200 people evacuated off chunk in Upper Red Lake

He also recommended doing research on the body of water before stepping heading onto the ice to fish.

"Understanding the lake you're going on is probably one of the most important things. You need to know if there's springs on that lake, if there's a warm water discharge, if there's a river that flows into it, if there's current. If you go out blindly on a lake and just think that it's going to be safe because it's safe near the launch, you certainly could be wrong and you might find yourself on an inch of ice when the rest of the lake's been a foot," Strehlow said.

The Wisconsin DNR has additional safety tips for ice fishermen on their website.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)