4-6 inches of ice OK to walk on, conservation office saysSouth Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Conservation Officer Andy Petersen says it’s not common to hear of anglers falling through the ice, but he still wants people to exercise caution while fishing at this time of year.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Conservation Officer Andy Petersen says it’s not common to hear of anglers falling through the ice, but he still wants people to exercise caution while fishing at this time of year.
Petersen, based in Mitchell, recommends there to be 4 to 6 inches of ice before anglers take to the lake. He’s not certain exactly how many inches are on Lake Mitchell currently. He also hasn’t seen a lot of people fishing yet.
“We haven’t had too much for reports,” Petersen said Tuesday afternoon. “I’ve talked to a few people and they weren’t doing that great.”
Petersen said the west end of Lake Mitchell is usually a nice place to fish. He said underwater vegetation and structure make it a good starting point early in the season.
Float coats, ice picks and chizzles are good tools to have during early ice, he added. He also recommends 6 to 12 inches of ice for ATV travel and 12 to 16 inches for vehicles.
“I would always be cautious driving out on the lake,” Petersen said.
A staffer at the Chamberlain wildlife office declined to give a recommendation if the ice on the Missouri River is thick enough to walk on. However, she said the main channel is still open, but the bays and marinas are frozen and she had seen anglers take the ice.
Mark Fincel, a senior fisheries biologist for the GF&P, said there have not been any warnings by the state to stay off lakes, but he wants people to be careful while on the ice.
“At least for walking, wait until there are three to four inches,” Fincel said. “And always have ice picks in your pockets in case you do break through.”