Sheriff warns of ice safety on lakes after ice house falls through

The Chisago County sheriff's office warned residents not to venture out onto the lakes after an ice house broke through South Lindstrom Lake Sunday night.

Recent rain and wind have created "unpredictable and potentially unsafe ice conditions on area lakes. Ice that has thawed and refrozen is only half as strong as new, clear ice," according to the sheriff's office.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rick Stanek was echoing the call to stay off the ice Monday, as water patrol is measuring only one to four inches on metro lakes.

"The ice is just not safe," said Stanek. "There will be a time here in Minnesota, but it's just not that time here in December."

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources suggests four inches as the minimum ice thickness for anglers who are on foot, and an eight-inch minimum for mid-size cars.

Leo Marks of Plymouth said he was measuring four to five inches from his portable ice house on Medicine Lake Monday. Marks said he is constantly measuring ice thickness, and taking every safety precaution.

"I've got my spud bar and I'm checking the ice as I go. As long as that goes through, I won't go through," he said.

Stanek says they haven't had an ice rescue yet this winter, but he's afraid its only a matter of time.
"We want to go out--I want to go out and enjoy the beautiful Minnesota winters, but at this point it just isn't safe," he said.