Experts urge fishermen to stay off ice - WNEM TV 5

Experts urge fishermen to stay off ice

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

As the weather warms up and the rain continues to fall, dangers can be found offshore as well.

What was once thick layers of ice on local lakes and rivers has become a thin and dangerously deceiving layer of slush. That has local experts urging fishermen to stay off the ice if possible.

“I’m gonna look you right in the eye right here. Stay off the ice,” said Mark Pieniozek, with Reel Fish’n LLC.

Rescuing people and lost equipment with his airboat, Pieniozek is working nonstop.

“Three recoveries today. The ice conditions are horrible,” he said. “I am very tired and I wish people would stay off the ice.”

He said the warmup and rain create weak spots where you don’t expect them.

On Monday, one of Pieniozek’s fishing buddies fell through the ice and the Coast Guard saved his life.

“God had a big plan for him. Otherwise he would not be here. He was in the water for over an hour. So, he’s very fortunate,” Pieniozek said.

Pieniozek is fortunate himself. There is a reason he bought an airboat in the first place.

“Cause I went down three years ago,” he said.

He said fishermen are still going out on the ice because they are stubborn.

“It’s very hard for some people to say they can’t go. Even though the conditions might not be the best. We all think we’re smarter than that. We all think we’re not going to go in the water,” Pieniozek said. “But nobody’s smarter than mother nature.”

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