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Thick enough? Cold blast tempts anglers – but not all lakes are safe

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As the temperature drops, fishermen are beginning to venture out on frozen lakes and ponds.

The St. Cloud Times says ice fishing in the northern portion of the state was doable this past weekend, with ice thickness coming in anywhere from 3-8 inches on many lakes. That includes spots on Upper Red, Lake of the Woods and Lake Vermilion.

But just because ice fishing is safe on one lake doesn't mean it is on another – which a couple of anglers found out this past weekend.

Two men were rescued from frigid waters after falling through the ice while fishing on Long Lake in the west metro Sunday afternoon, KARE 11 reports.

The duo were more than a football field from the shore, and spent a few minutes in the cold water before they were rescued, KARE 11 says; both were in good enough shape to speak with the station afterward.

A week ago, the DNR issued a reminder that – despite the sudden onset of cold winter weather – the ice that had formed on the lakes was probably not safe enough to venture out on.

According to Weather Underground, the Long Lake area had 10 days of low in the single digits or teens, with highs never popping above 30. But on Friday, it warmed to a high of 34, and hasn't gone below freezing since. The low on Saturday was 35, and on Sunday it was 33.

“The thin layers of ice forming on some Minnesota waters right now are not safe,” said Maj. Greg Salo, operations manager with the DNR Enforcement Division. “A few days of cold temperatures don’t create ice strong enough to hold a person.”

Salo said three people died last winter after falling through the ice.

The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should: carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort— ask about ice conditions— and measure the ice.

The St. Cloud Times gives ice updates on a handful of popular lakes in the state.

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