A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the mix of rain, snow and warm weather has led to some changes in the ice conditions in recent days on the state’s rivers and lakes. Mick Klemesrud was out ice fishing this past weekend and says you may have to move around a little.
Klemesrud says the edges of some lakes have been chewed up some by rain runoff, and he says you should use come caution in getting out onto the ice. He says in central Iowa there’s up to a foot of ice on most lakes.
Klemsrud says the rain and runoff did some erosion along the shore, so you should check the ice along the shore often as you make your way out onto the ice, or you can wait and it will freeze up again. Subzero temperatures help build a solid base of ice that Klemesrud says will stay intact despite a few days of temps at 40 or above.
He says the base of ice is so good that the ice could stay even with a few 40-degree days, but he says if there’s a week or more of warm days without the temperature dropping at night, that ice could erode the ice.
Klemesrud says the snow has helped insulate the ice from the warmth, and with the temperatures dropping below freezing at night, it will stay intact for the near future. One thing that won’t last much longer is your fishing license.
Fishing licenses expire on January 10th, and then you have to buy a new license for $17.50. That license will run through all of 2009. Klemesrud says don’t forget to get a new license before the deadline or you could face a fine with an expired license.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources suggests the following guidelines for ice thickness: One inch of ice is not safe. Two inches of ice can support on person on foot, under good conditions. Three inches of ice can support a group in single file or spread out. Four inches supports general use. Five inches for snowmobiles.