Ice fishing caution urged

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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As more vehicles are reported to have been involved in mishaps on area lakes, anglers are once again warned to pay closer attention to the condition of the ice and to know where they are going.


Fluctuations in temperature and rain, both of which we have experienced lately, can create weak spots in the ice.


Tom Bunker, owner of Bunker Auto Body Shop in Arlington, confirmed that last weekend they pulled a snowmobile from open water on Lake Whitewood in Kingsbury County, and a four-wheeler from Lake Oakwood in Brookings County. No injuries were reported.


Bunker said the snowmobile, which was pulling an ice-shack behind it, went into open water early in the morning when it was still dark.  He said foggy days and darkness cause a lot of people’s problems.


“The worst are the shore-huggers and heave-crossers,” he said, explaining that the ice is not as solid close to shore where it’s shallow. And, he said ice is not as stable where there are heaves.


Heaves form when ice expands and contracts as the temperatures rise and fall. When the temperature drops, lake ice contracts, producing cracks which refill with more water and freeze. When the temperature rises, the ice expands.


Bunker said where the ice buckles, there might be a long line where it is sticking up, and then a place where it isn’t. People may mistakenly think that the part that isn’t sticking up is safe, but it is still broken.


Donna Palmlund

Staff Writer

The De Smet News

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