A video of five Minnesotans driving across a waterlogged Upper Red Lake to their ice fishing house has become a big hit on Facebook.
The footage, uploaded by Kellen Uptadel on Wednesday, has been viewed more than 136,000 times and shows Uptadel and his fellow ice anglers kicking up spray as their two vehicles made their way across the lake in northern Minnesota on Presidents Day.
There's so much water on the lake it makes it look as though the vehicles are skipping across the ice, and many of those commenting on the video are less than impressed that the anglers from South Haven, Minnesota, are seemingly putting their lives at risk.
But despite there being many, manystories this winter of drivers crashing through lake ice, in this instance the effect was created by snowmelt and heavy rain over the weekend settling atop the thick lake ice.
How thick? 30 inches thick, according to Janet Gohman, one of the five people in the two vehicles that drove across Upper Red Lake ice on their way back from cleaning their walleye at JR's Bait Shop on Lower Red Lake's southern shore.
Here's the video (warning, we think we detect a swear word in there at one point).
Should have brought the wakeboard! With Cory Petersen Ryan Mullen Janet Gohman and Jim Schindler
Posted by Kellen Utpadel on Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Gohman admitted that she was "anxious" as they went across the lake, but they had drilled a lot of holes on their trip – on which they caught their walleye limit every day – and were confident the ice was solid.
This was backed up by Trapper, the owner of Trapper's Bait Shop in Shooks, Minnesota, who told GoMN the lake ice is 29-30 inches thick and that he water on top of the ice has since disappeared.
JR's Bait Shop website described the weather the past weekend as "crazy, from 64 degrees to pouring rain" but that the lake was in "very good shape and getting better every day."
Since the video, ice-melt warning
On Wednesday, the Red Lake Police Department started advising people not to take vehicles other than ATVs or snowmobiles out on Lower Red Lake, finding a "number of locations" near the shoreline and on the lake near ice heaves that are "rapidly deteriorating."
In a Facebook post, it said a community fishing event in Redby scheduled for Saturday is canceled, and added: "Please use extreme caution when venturing on the lake during the upcoming weeks for fishing and pay attention to black ice, honey comb appearances and portions of the lake holding large and heavy amounts of water upon ice surfaces."
The Minnesota DNR issued its own warning to drivers on Thursday, saying conditions on lakes across the state are deteriorating, and some local sheriffs might order ice shelters be removed earlier than usual (last date for southern MN is Mar. 6, and for northern MN is Mar. 20).
According to the DNR, the earliest ice-out date on record for Upper and Lower Red Lake was April 1, 2012, while the latest was May 17, 1996. The average ice-out date is April 29.