BEMIDJI — The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office is using a recent ice rescue to remind anglers that it’s not safe to go ice fishing in most places just yet. The sheriff’s office posted to Facebook, quote “Despite many hours below zero and more days below freezing, ice conditions remain variable across short distances.”
The sheriff says a fisherman went through the ice on an area lake and it turned into a scary ordeal in which they couldn’t locate him.
It turned out that the man was safe at a different location, but it prompted a full scale search and rescue operation. “In short, stay off the ice,” the sheriff’s office warns. “Unless you are familiar with the ice conditions and have safely verified there’s an adequate amount of ice, go buy some fish sticks from the frozen section of the store. It’s going to be a long winter and there will be plenty of chances over the next couple of months to ice fish.”
The DNR notes that ice is never 100 percent safe, but general guidelines to follow are to stay off the water unless you know for sure there is at least four inches of ice.
– Ice fishing/on foot – 4 inches
– Snowmobile/ATV – 5-7 inches
– Car/small truck – 8-12 inches
– Medium truck – 12-15 inches
Another ice rescue was conducted in Beltrami County last week when a couple of anglers became stranded on the ice on Upper Red Lake. They were rescued and their fish house and gear was recovered by an air-boat. Beltrami County 911 operators are becoming frustrated with the amount of “pocket dials and butt dials” from from ice fishermen in the area. They remind people to either turn off the emergency setting on their smartphones or to put your phone someplace besides your pocket where it won’t accidentally dial emergency services.

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