Caution urged on the ice: Officials say open water visible in areas and all ice is dangerous iceThe calendar says the start of winter is less than two weeks away, but that doesn’t mean ice conditions around Jamestown are safe for anglers. “We just advise people to use extreme caution especially when there’s open water out there,” said Bob Martin, manager of Pipestem Dam.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The calendar says the start of winter is less than two weeks away, but that doesn’t mean ice conditions around Jamestown are safe for anglers.
“We just advise people to use extreme caution especially when there’s open water out there,” said Bob Martin, manager of Pipestem Dam.
Open water on Pipestem Reservoir doubled since Monday to about 100 acres, Martin said. There were also reports Friday afternoon of a vehicle on the ice.
“You know the ice is thin if you have open water,” Martin said. “That’s a pretty dang good indicator that the ice isn’t in real good condition out there.”
Over by Valley City on Lake Ashtabula, two ice houses fell through thin ice in the past few days, Martin said.
According to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, 3 inches ice is the minimum amount needed to support a snowmobile or a group of people walking in a single file line. Seven inches will support a single passenger vehicle and 8 inches will support a 2 1/2-ton truck.
Martin has heard reports that the maximum thickness reported so far is 6 inches.
It was one year ago this week that a Jamestown man went through the ice and died.
Jim Reuther, chief of the Jamestown Fire Department, recalls the scene where crews searched for more than a week before finding the body of Darrin Ackerman.
“Right now our ice conditions, I would say they’re the same if not worse than what we had last year,” Reuther said, of when the incident occurred.
An avid fisherman himself, Reuther said no catch is worth risking a life.
“Myself, I wouldn’t risk my life for a fish,” he said. “I love to fish, I enjoy ice fishing, but I’ve grown a little older and a little wiser myself.”
If anglers can’t be deterred from venturing on the ice officials urge extreme caution. Walk slowly, carry ice picks in case the ice breaks, and take the same route back that was taken the first time out.
Anglers should also let someone know where they are planning to go and when they plan to be back.
“The best tip I can give is stay off of it,” Reuther said. “That’s the best advice I can really give them.”
With one possible night where the temperature was below zero so far this season, the ice isn’t nearly safe enough, he said. In fact, ice is never totally safe, he said.
“You go out there and something happens to you who are the ones that are going to suffer afterwards?” Reuther said. “It’s your family and friends.”
With snow forecasted this weekend that will only make the ice more dangerous, officials said.
The snow will cover the ice, making it more difficult to tell what is thin and what isn’t. Snow also acts as an insulator so the ice likely won’t gain any thickness.
Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser also advises caution and knowledge for anglers who can’t wait for thicker ice.
“Be sure you know the condition of the ice before you go on it,” Kaiser said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org