Be Cautious When Ice-Fishing This Winter, You Might Just Float Away
I've only been ice-fishing one time in my life. It was on a small, farm pond in northwest Iowa. I was 16. I kind of enjoyed it.
As someone who isn't an avid fisher while also having a distinct dislike for the cold, it's really not for me. Would I go and have a good time with friends if asked? Sure. Would I actively layer up, pack equipment, and go out on the frozen tundra myself? Hell no.
This story from Wisconsin is just another reason why.
Way up north in the Green Bay area of Wisconsin, a group of roughly 40 people were fishing on a chunk of ice connected to the shoreline near Point Comfort along the east shore of the Bay of Green Bay.
At 10:17 a.m. on Saturday, the chunk BROKE OFF and FLOATED AWAY.
According to spoke with WBAY, an area news station, "the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, New Franken Fire, Green Bay Fire, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Coast Guard all responded to the scene."
Lt. John Bain, of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, had this to say in reference to the rescue:
We ran into issues with ice breaking up as we were rescuing the people. So it’s always a very dangerous event with the cold water and the weather. And we’re really thankful that all the cooperation and teamwork led to a safe rescue.
The agencies that appeared at the scene were able to bring everyone back to shore by noon.
The report from WBAY continues, "Lt. Jason McAuly said the ice’s condition was deteriorating rapidly, and the ice was cracking up as it moved into open water."
At the point every person had been rescued, the piece of ice had floated about a mile away from the shore. No one was hurt in the process of rescue.
Bain continued, adding other details of the rescue:
We launched our ice boat, along with a Coast Guard ice boat, and Green Bay Fire and Rescue assisted with a drone, and everyone assisted with manpower.
Authorities around the situation believed the ice was likely broken up by a barge that had traveled through the bay.
As to how to prepare for such an occurrence, the Lieutenant had this to say:
Make sure you always have a cell phone that you can call for help if you need it, be aware of your conditions, and know that they can change rapidly, and so that you have an escape route and that you’re ready to make adjustments if conditions deteriorate.