Northern Michigan Ice Experts Weigh In On Warm Weather Safety

Ice season isn’t quite over here in Northern Michigan, but the days are numbered.

Local experts weigh in on making it to the end of the season safe and sound.

Rising winter temperatures means melting ice on Northern Michigan lakes.

Dean Molnar, Assistant Chief at the Cadillac Department of Natural Resources says those heading out need to beware, “The department never recognizes that there’s any such thing as safe ice however people venture out on the ice all the time. but with the snow cover going off its gonna really deteriorate that Ice much quicker.”

That’s why it’s extremely important winter wanderers have the right equipment with them.

“Certain precautions you can take with you like picks of life which are picks you hold in your hand with little spikes on the end of them that if you do go in the water that you can help to get yourself out,” says Molnar.

Cadillac Fisherman, Greg Seeber tips us off that another important ice tool to have is a metal pole called a spud, “You just check the ice just in front of you as you’re goin and if you can go through the ice in a couple hits you need to back off of that.”

In Northern Michigan, ice shanties in the Northern Lower Peninsula must be off the water by March 15th.

In the Upper Peninsula it’s March 31st.   

However experts are urging people to think twice about keeping them out there that long.

“Now that’s what the law says but the law also says you must remove your shanty if the condition of the ice gets such that you need to get them off,” says Molnar.

“It’s important to get them off because of the issues they can cause if they go down but more importantly we’re worried about or concerned about our fisherman going out to remove these shanties when the ice is weakening.”

Finally if you find yourself in a situation where you do go through the ice, call for help and when it arrives, listen.

Cadillac Firefighter, Justin Richard advises, “Try not to panic and try to just listen to what we’re saying because we’re trying to get you out as soon as possible.”

Experts also suggest that if you’re new to an area and worried about ice levels, check with local bait shops who usually check the ice weekly.

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