Skip to main content

Sheriff warns 'No fish is worth the risk' after people fell through ice on northern MN lakes

Three people fell through the ice in two separate incidents Monday.

It's the end of March, and if ice is still on a lake it's not safe.

That's the message officials in northern Minnesota have to the people thinking about going out on the ice after three people fell through the ice in two separate incidents on Monday.

The first ice rescue happened around 2:16 p.m. Monday. The Cass County Sheriff's Office says it got a report of a three-wheeler that fell through the ice on Big Portage Lake in rural Backus. When deputies arrived, they discovered a person who tried to help the driver of the ATV was also in the water.

The Walker Fire Department had to use a hovercraft to get the men to shore. They were taken to a St. Cloud hospital for treatment; their conditions aren't known.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch says first responders encountered "very poor ice conditions" and he warns that travel is unsafe on all area lakes because ice conditions are quickly deteriorating.

The second incident happened on Gladstone Lake in Nisswa around 3 p.m., the Brainerd Dispatch reports. An angler fell through the ice there and a neighbor went out to help get him out of the water. Eventually the Nisswa Fire Department responded to get them both off the ice.

Please be extremely cautious about venturing onto the ice this time of year. While there are spots that still have...

Posted by Nisswa Fire Department on Monday, March 27, 2017

Capt. Scott Goddard of the Crow Wing Sheriff's Office told the Brainerd Dispatch that Monday's ice rescues could have turned tragic, and people who go out on the ice need to remember they're putting themselves, first responders and anyone else who goes out to try and help them at risk.

"No fish is worth the risk," Goddard told the paper.

Officials warned allwinteraboutunsafe ice conditions due to the abnormally warm weather we had. Lisa Dugan, with the Minnesota DNR, told GoMN "this was a very short, very unreliable ice season," noting ice formed let and went through a lot of freeze-thaw cycles, which produced milky, porous ice that needed to be double the recommended thickness for going out on the ice.

Dugan says in many cases, the ice cleared off lakes three weeks early. The DNR's website shows many lakes in central and southern Minnesota are already free of ice – or are pretty close to it.

Four people died on lakes this winter. There were two watercraft fatalities and two ice-related drownings this winter, Dugan said. In the winter of 2015-16, no ice-related fatalities were reported, according to the Minnesota DNR.

Next Up

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Keith Harvell

Body pulled from Mississippi River ID'd as missing Elk River man

Keith Harvell had been missing since early last month.

900 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 2021

2 victims identified in double-fatal north Minneapolis shooting

A 21-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were identified as the people who died at the scene this past weekend.

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.

tornado

7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

City of Minneapolis, Jaleel Stallings reach $1.5M settlement

Although a settlement was made, the city will not admit fault or take any responsibility for the incident as part of the agreement with Stallings.

Kayak

2 rescued after kayaks capsize on Sauk River

Recent heavy rainfall produced a strong currents on the water.

Related

Man who fell through thin ice earlier this month has died

His snowmobile fell through the ice on March 5.

These warm temps are great – unless you want to drive on the ice

Several cars fell through the ice over the weekend.

10 people fishing on Lake Superior had to be saved by an 'Ice Angel'

They were on an ice floe that became a floating island when the wind pushed it away from shore.

Ice on MN lakes are fine one hour, but bad the next, officials warn

"We've had reports of anglers falling through ice that was just fine an hour earlier. That's how fast things can change."

Another close call on a MN lake prompts officials to warn about thin ice

Unseasonably warm weather creates dangerous conditions on the ice.

Thin ice

Hennepin sheriff issues thin ice warning amid warmer temps

This comes after two siblings fell through ice in Maple Grove.

Man falls through ice on MN lake, so do 2 people trying to rescue him

Authorities have been warning that this winter's weather has resulted in "extremely weak ice that is dangerous deceptive in its appearance and how thick it measures."