As the cold weather begins to stick across mid-Michigan, outdoor sportsmen and women anxiously wait for ice to cover the state's many bays, lakes, and rivers.

As the frigid temperatures move in, experts are renewing calls for safety while ice fishing.

"Every time you step on the ice, there's a risk involved," said Anton Jelsma, BM2, Coast Guard.

Even with wind chill temperatures dipping below zero this week, it does not always mean it is safe to head out onto the ice.

"Just because you might be on safe ice, or a safer version of ice where you're at, that doesn't mean your next step you won't be falling through," Jelsma said.

The Tuscola/Huron County Ice Rescue Team and multiple other agencies were dispatched this past weekend to a canal off Kirk Road known as Gokey's Point after fishing equipment was found floating in a hole in the ice. The water was five feet deep where the equipment was found.

After a search, rescuers determined the equipment's owner must have gotten out.

Jelsma, with the United States Coast Guard, said there are a few things you can look for not to end up in a situation like this.

"See if there's any obstructions around you. That could be piers or something that's sticking out of the water. As that ice shifts it's going to keep knocking against those piers and it's really going to become weak around those spots. Fresh snow. That fresh snow lands on the ice, it starts warming up that ice, and it becomes weaker underneath," Jelsma said.

Residents should stay low if they hear the ice crack, according to Jelsma.

"Get low, disperse our weight so that way when all of our weight is dispersed, we're not just focused on that one central point where you're more likely to fall through," Jelsma said.

There is a U.S. Coast Guard app residents can download before heading out onto the ice. They can file a float plan, where the user enters exact details of where they will be on the ice, should an emergency happen.

Residents can request emergency assistance straight from the app itself and it sends their exact coordinates to the Coast Guard.

"It's a really handy app to have if you're a boater or an ice fisherman, especially this time of year when that weather can change drastically in the matter of a couple of days,” Jelsma said.

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