DNR: Ice Conditions Are Starting To Change Rapidly On Area Lakes

Thu 3-5-2020

(Spirit Lake)-- Warm weather is making for some rapidly changing ice conditions on the Iowa Great Lakes. Steve Reighard, an enforcement officer with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says things are starting to get pretty sloppy...Changing Ice Conditions01 

"As the wind blows today and as the temperatures warm up over the weekend it's just going to deteriorate it more. It's just barely starting to honeycomb a little bit on top. I was out on the lakes yesterday and we probably had two to three inches of more or less slush on top of the ice. It's starting to go a little bit on the top. There's a fair amount of good ice underneath it. I did see a couple of pickups out on West Lake yesterday. I wouldn't advise taking pickups out any more just because of the accesses. I mean there's pretty good ice in most areas, once you get out onto the good ice. This is kind of normal the way ice normally deteriorates in the spring.”

Reighard says ice conditions are especially worsening on some of the more shallow lakes. He says there have been some close calls recently on Trumbull Lake...Changing Ice Conditions02 

"We had a pickup drop two tires through on Friday night on the west entrance, and Sunday morning a guy dumped the front of his pickup in on the east entrance. So over there you've got to be super cautious. It's a shallower lake, it's also got more of a muck bottom or a sand bottom that warms up a little bit quicker being shallower, so the ice is deteriorating faster over there."

Reighard recommends taking some extra precautions on the ice this time of year...Changing Ice Conditions03 

"Take your allz with you. They've got allz that they make now for ice fisherman where the blade is actually up inside of the handle. Starting to see a few people carry a life jacket with them, or wear their life jackets out. That's not a bad idea this time of year."

Reighard says some accesses are now unusable due to the conditions, including Sunset Park on Big Spirit Lake and near The Ritz on East Lake Okoboji.