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Beware of Ice on Big Creek Lake

POLK CITY – The DNR is warning anglers to use extreme caution when venturing onto the lake at Big Creek State Park because of construction activity occurring near the dam.

Although recent weather conditions are finally producing good ice in most locations, hazardous ice condition still exist on Big Creek Lake, particularly around the dam. Construction is underway on the dam to replace old controls structure and contractors have installed an aeration system to keep the area of the lake open for work access. This will cause thin ice in the vicinity of the dam and aerators.

“We are in the process of posting signs around that area,” says Chad Kelchen, Big Creek State Park manager. “However, we have no way to ensure safe ice anywhere on the lake.”

All anglers heading out, to Big Creek Lake or other waterbodies, are reminded to check the ice often.

Four inches of quality ice is a minimum recommendation for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. 

Kelchen reminds anglers of the following ice safety tips:

  • There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice.
  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. 
  • Ice fishing is a social activity, don’t go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone would be there to call for help or to rescue.
  • There could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed, so it would be wise to check ice thickness as you go out.
  • Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.
  • The insulating effect of snow slows down the freezing process.
  • Safety items in the bucket: Ice picks, about 50 feet of rope and a throwable floatation seat cushion for use in case of rescue.

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