Department of Natural Resources stresses ice safety as waterways freeze

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 4:34 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - State officials are warning people against risky behaviors on newly-frozen areas of water across the state during a period of prolonged colder weather.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said on Tuesday that people should take reasonable precautions if choosing to venture out onto the ice in the state. The agency said that people who want to ice fish should look for at least four inches of clear ice, and recreational vehicles like snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles need at least five inches.

“Check ice thickness as you make your way to your favorite fishing spot,” Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa DNR, said, in a statement. “Ice conditions change constantly and its thickness can vary across the lake. Trust your instincts – if the ice does not look right, don’t go out.”

Officials said that anglers should never venture out onto the ice alone, and to always let somebody else offsite know what their plans are. The agency also recommended a set of basic safety items, including hand warmers, ice cleats to help prevent falls, ice picks worn around the neck to help you crawl out of the water if you fall in, a life jacket, a floating safety rope, a whistle to call for help, a basic first aid kit and extra dry clothes including a pair of gloves.

No frozen waterway will be completely safe at any time, according to the Iowa DNR.

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