MADISON - Watch out for thin ice, state officials are warning after three people died in three days after falling through ice on Wisconsin waters.
DNR conservation warden Todd Schaller says ice is always unpredictable, but mild weather this winter has left ice on many Wisconsin waterways not thick enough to support a person walking, much less any kind of vehicle.
On Saturday, a car with two fishermen in it broke through the ice on the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir near Mosinee. One person made it out of the water, but the other died.
Early Sunday morning, Michael Philbin, the son of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, fell through ice on the Fox River in Oshkosh. His body was found Monday afternoon.
On Monday, a man riding a rough-terrain vehicle died after falling through ice on a private pond in Monroe County.
The DNR shared the following tips for ice safety:
Before you go
- Contact local sport shops or bait dealers to ask about ice conditions on the lake or river you want to fish.
- Learn about the water you are going to use. Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have currents known to thin the ice.
When you go
- Do not go out alone. If you do, carry a cell phone and let someone know where you are and your expected return time. Follow that timeline.
- Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas during daylight only.
- Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself - or others - out of the ice.
- Do not travel in unfamiliar territories at night.
Watch out for
- Look for clear ice. Clear ice is generally stronger than ice with air bubbles in it or with snow on it.
- Watch out for pressure ridges or ice heaves. These can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water and may be an obstruction you may hit with a car, truck or snowmobile.