With the recent temperatures, South Dakota lakes, ponds and sloughs are freezing quickly. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) officials urge anglers, snowmobilers and recreationists to take extreme caution when venturing out.
“We know winter recreationists are excited to get out, but we are encouraging people to use extreme caution when going out on the ice,” said John Lott, GFP aquatics chief.
The rule of thumb is that it takes at least two inches of ice to support an angler, at least six inches to support an ice shack and over a foot for a vehicle, but that applies to strong, clear ice.
Dark or cloudy ice is not as strong as clear ice. If a person is going to venture out, they should also test ice conditions as they proceed.
“Just because an angler sees six inches near the shore, doesn’t mean it will be six inches across the lake. Springs, current, wind or ice heaves all effect the formation of ice and can make ice very dangerous,” concluded Lott.
Anglers are reminded to drill test holes to measure the thickness of the ice they are traveling on, have flotation devices available and tell someone where they are going to be.