Warm temps makes ice fishing extra dangerous - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Warm temps makes ice fishing extra dangerous

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Police have released the name of the man who died after falling through the ice at George Wyth State Park Wednesday night in Waterloo.

Police say 51-year-old Wade Clark of Cedar Falls was in the water for several minutes before crews could pull him out. Rescuers used a hooked pole to search the water. Clark was unresponsive and appeared to be tangled in his fishing tent when he was found.

The weather conditions Wednesday night and the conditions of the ice both played a part in this tragedy.

Park Ranger, Gary Dusenberry said he could hear the man yelling for help, but the fog made it impossible to see where the man was on the lake.

Dusenberry lives on George Wyth State Park property and he says the lake didn't freeze up until after January 1st and despite a cold snap the recent warm weather has caused ice conditions to deteriorate rapidly.

The Iowa DNR cannot force people to stay off Iowa lakes in the winter, but they are recommending people stay off the ice right now.

"So right now it's just would be advisable to stay off the ice and we'll hope for an early spring and the ice will thaw out and we can start fishing at that time," said Dusenberry.

Some good ideas to follow when ice fishing is to let people know where you're going, use the buddy system, and always go ice fishing in pairs, and drill pilot holes every so often to see how thick the ice when trying to find your spot.

Two items that could save your life when ice fishing is a float coat that doubles as a jacket and a flotation device and pocket sized ice picks which you can use to pull yourself up back onto stable ice if you fall in the water. Both items can be picked up at your local sporting good stores.

While the DNR can't force people off the lake they do have a rule about removing ice fishing shelters. Those structures need to be off the ice by February 20th.

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