Weather Forecast


Ice breakthroughs prompt warning

An ice fisherman checks for a bite Tuesday afternoon on the ice at the Upper Harbor. Jen Cullen/Republican Eagle

Local ice adventurers are being asked to play it cautious, at least for the time being.

Goodhue County sheriff's deputies said two ice breakthroughs over the weekend lend credence to their concerns.

On Saturday a Red Wing man found himself in chest-high water just off the docks at the Boat Village. While the 57-year-old did not request medical assistance, sheriff's Sgt. Kris Johnson said the man was unable to get out of the water without assistance. Red Wing firefighters were called to extract the man.

The next day, a truck broke through the ice on Lake Byllesby Reservoir near Cannon Falls. Johnson said the driver, whose name was not available, escaped from the partially submerged truck without injury.

He had driven a full-size pickup with a snowplow strapped to its front end out on the ice.

While Johnson said driving on the ice right now is risky, he called it "way too early" to venture such heavy vehicles on frozen waters.

"People just need to make sure that they know from a reliable source ... how much ice is out there," he said, suggesting local anglers and bait shop owners as good contacts.

And if there's ever any question about bringing a vehicle out on the ice, Johnson said, "You're better off just hoofin' it."

Despite a couple cold snaps - and up to 10 inches of ice in parts - he said Goodhue County ice is unreliable right now.

Johnson said the wet snow and rain from last weekend "does not help." Snow insulates ice from forming quickly, he said.

The Department of Natural Resources offers the following guidelines for new, clear ice:

• 2 inches or less: Stay off

• 4 inches: Ice fishing or other activities on foot

• 5 inches: Snowmobile or ATV

• 8 to 12 inches: Car or small pickup

• 12 to 15 inches: Medium truck

The DNR suggests checking ice levels by using an ice chisel, an ice auger or a cordless drill. Anglers can check for thickness by using a tape measure, the DNR notes.

For more information on ice safety, visit: