Undated (KROC-AM News)- December’s warm and wet weather has prompted a statewide warning for Minnesotans

Officials are asking residents to hold off on activity that many ice anglers do between Christmas and New Years. The warning was issued by the Minnesota DNR and County Sheriff’s Thursday morning.

A news release issued by the DNR says ice conditions throughout the state have deteriorated throughout the warm December. Officials say many if not all of the state’s lakes do not have thick enough ice to support deluxe fishhouses or wellhouses and recreational vehicles.

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR


“Many of us love to spend the New Year’s holiday with family and friends on the ice,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “But when it comes to ice conditions, the calendar doesn’t matter.”

Minnesota DNR
Minnesota DNR


The warning comes after DNR conservation officers and sheriff’s deputies across the state have responded to numerous reports in recent days of vehicles and structures breaking through the thin ice.


While lakes in southern and Central Minnesota have seen their thin ice sheets liquify back into water, lakes in the northern half have lost enough ice to drive an increase in ice rescues. Upper Red Lake in Beltrami County saw three ice rescues in the week leading up to Christmas.


“Most years, the ice would be thick enough by now for vehicles and wheelhouses, and we’d be seeing a steady procession of them heading north,” he said. “But this year isn’t ‘most years,’ and the ice is changing constantly. It’s absolutely vital that anyone who heads out checks the thickness frequently, pays close attention to the weather, and has a plan in case the worst happens and they wind up in the water.”

The DNR is also reminding Minnesotans of guidelines to know before venturing out onto a frozen lake:

  • Always wear a life jacket or float coat on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure.
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals; conditions can change quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time.
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.
  • Parents and guardians should talk with their children about staying away from the ice unless there’s adult supervision. This includes lakes and rivers, as well as neighborhood ponds, retention ponds and anywhere ice forms.

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