Ice fishing

The final weeks of winter are disappearing along with the ice on mid-Michigan waterways with temperatures rising across the region. Dangers continue to surface for anglers looking to catch one final fish out on the ice before the season wraps up.

After last week's deep freeze, ice thickened up but with temperatures rising, the ice has begun to crack.

"That water will melt that ice when the river is moving. You know what I mean? So you got to be careful," said Ryan Kaiser, fisherman.

Kaiser as visiting from Alpena to ice fish on the Saginaw river. He said on a scale of one to 10, his comfort level with this ice is a seven. Kaiser knows warmer weather is here, but he said he's doing everything he can to stay safe.

"Tell someone where you're going. You know what I mean? Let family know, you know. There's all these other guys out here too, so that's cool," he said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard said ice conditions in the area are deteriorating.

"Check the weather, I know this week is supposed to be in the mid-30s. So, that is going to be above freezing and the ice is going to start melting," said Anton Jelsma, spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Jelsma said those ice fishing with shanties should make sure to tell someone where they're going and make sure to label the shanty.

"Illuminating your shanty is a good idea, especially for people that go snowmobiling at night. They might not see it. They might run into it," he said.

Jelsma said ice fishing enthusiasts should always keep working lines of communication with them.

"If you are out there with a radio, have us on channel 16. We'll pick up,” he said. “Or if you have a cell phone out there, call us on the phone on the land line and we will pick up."

For his part, Kaiser has no plans on being rescued from the ice. He said he knows there's risk involved, but under the right conditions, it's a risk he said he'll take.

"If the ice is safe enough, yeah it is worth it because the walleye and perch, you can't beat that meal you know," Kaiser said.

Copyright 2021 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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