Nature Matters: Ice Safety on Lake Superior

By KBJR News 1

February 7, 2011 Updated Feb 7, 2011 at 3:05 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) The largest freshwater lake in the world is a force to be reckoned with. Its icy waters have claimed many lives and it rarely gives up its dead. Yet a solid sheet of ice lures anglers to leave shore and try their luck fishing on the big lake.
At least one Lake Superior fisherman was prepared.

"Bring a boat"

I didn't have a boat, but was wearing a life vest and had a fifteen foot rope ready to offer if I needed rescue. I know the DNR recommends a four inch ice minimum for foot travel on lake ice and there were reports of six inches of ice this day. Tentatively, I left shore behind, making my way across the clear ice to find out what these people were doing out here.

"You come out here for sight fishing on the Big Lake. We're in 50 feet of water right now but you can see down half the water column - 25 feet, and that's pretty amazing, that's cool."

"This is the first time I've ever been out here. I was just driving by and noticed that the ice was pushed in so I thought I'd give it a shot."

"They fish for Coho Salmon here; they're a smaller salmon... I had two on, I lost 'em both, it's kinda slow today."

"A couple shiner heads for some meat. We heard they bite right on the stop. Yeah, when you stop that's when they usually bite."

"They say it's a fish attractant. Sometimes I think it's just meant to catch fishermen instead."

"When the wind is going out toward the lake you don't want to be out here. You don't want to be on a South West wind."

"I just watch that flag over there, if the wind is blowing away from shore then it's time to go."

"Scary, very scary, took a few rides where the wind was going out and the sheets went out, and we were on them. But we had a boat so we just hop in the boat and go home, (laughs)... yeah."

Not many fish being caught this day, but temperatures and *winds* were mild and the views looking back to shore were ... unique.
On Lake Superior, I'm David Hoole for Nature Matters.

The DNR has valuable ice safety information on its website . Many area bait stores usually keep up to date on ice conditions as well.