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DNR: Warmer weekend weather may worsen area ice conditions

By Iron Mountain Daily News Staff

IRON MOUNTAIN –While this weekend’s anticipated mild temperatures likely will provide a welcome break from this winter, it has the Michigan Department of Natural Resources warning the already dicey ice conditions this season may worsen.

The National Weather Service has predicted today will reach 37 degrees, with today and Sunday soaring into the 40s.

Given those warmer temperatures, the DNR advised anglers consider removing fishing shanties early depending on what develops in the region.

Ice conditions this winter had been compromised almost from the start, with early heavy snows making for layers of slush that formed unstable ice.

“Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice,” the DNR advised this week.

“Regardless of the required date, ice shanties must be removed before the ice becomes too weak to support them,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It’s the angler’s responsibility to safely remove their shanty before it falls through the ice.”

In the Iron Mountain area, those out fishing Thursday gave varying assessments on the safety of the ice.

One man, who was not willing to be named, described parts of Lake Antoine in Iron Mountain as “weak ice.” He pointed out clouded layers as signs ice had repeatedly frozen and thawed. He did note other sections were clear as glass, which he judged as good and strong.

On Cowboy Lake in Kingsford, Nic Brown of Niagara, Wis., was confident his shack rested on 16 inches of sound ice.

“Fishing has been all right; it’s been up and down,” said Brown, 34, who was with his son, Nixon, 8. Most of the fish he and his son have caught have been bluegill, crappie, perch and northern pike. This was the first time in about 14 years that Brown had his Starcraft camper on the ice.

Daily use of ice shanties is permitted anywhere in Michigan as long as ice conditions allow and the shanties are removed at the end of each day.

“No ice is ever considered safe,” Wicklund said. “Anyone venturing onto the ice should always wear a personal flotation device.”

The DNR reminded ice anglers deadlines are coming up in which ice shanties must be removed.

Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines of $100 to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for an amount of up to three times the cost of removal.

If ice conditions don’t warrant early removal, the final dates for ice shanty removal in the Upper Peninsula are:

— On Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, they must be taken off ice by midnight Sunday, March 15.

— All other bodies of water in the Upper Peninsula must have ice shanties removed by midnight Tuesday, March 31.

For more information, watch the Michigan DNR ice safety tips video or go to the ice safety section of the DNR Education webpage.

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