Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Ice conditions on some Northland lakes are not as safe as you might think.
The US Forest Service is sending a warning to use extra caution when heading out onto some Northland lakes this winter.
Experts say beneath this year's heavy layer of snow on area lakes...there may be a thick layer of dangerous slush or crumbling ice hiding from the unsuspecting outdoor enthusiast.
"I do worry about it, but today it seemed pretty okay out there. I'd say there was about nine inches and it was pretty solid," said Brandon Freeman, an ice fisherman in Duluth.
Pretty solid on some lakes, but on others, the ice has gotten pretty thin.
Local rescue crews have been responding to numerous emergency calls where people are getting stuck in this frozen mixture.
"Given the extreme weather conditions this year, you can see behind me there are still a lot of shelters that are on the ice," said conservation officer Amber Peterson.
And for those shelters still out there, conservation officers are encouraging people to remove them to avoid getting stuck in this thick slush.
But, regardless of the threats that come with the bitter cold and changing weather conditions, ice fishermen say it's all about being one with nature.
"Just getting out in nature. Just a different scene than the Duluth scene, ya know. Get to go fish for your food, so that's what I like about it," said Freeman.
Though it may still feel like the dead of winter it's almost time to permanently remove ice shelters from Minnesota Lakes.
If your property is in the northern part of the state, the removal deadline is March 17th.
If it's in the southern two-thirds of the state, you'll have until Monday, March 3rd.