Iowa DNR officials urge caution on frozen waterways - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa DNR officials urge caution on frozen waterways

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SOLON (KWWL) -

It's ten-year-old Jacob Kruse's first time ice fishing.

"Just having a good time with the family and friends, and just relaxing," Jacob said.

Like many anglers out Thursday at Lake McBride in Solon, Jacob and his family have been itching to get out.

"We haven't been out for a couple of years because of the no ice last year pretty much, so just waiting to go this year," said Jay Kruse of Cedar Rapids.

Fishermen may be eager but the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is urging caution.

With the cold spell hitting recently, ice depths at many lakes may be a little shallow for comfort.

"Drill holes very frequently checking for ice depths to make sure you're still safe," said Chris Mack with the DNR. 

Lake McBride was reporting three to four inches of thickness Thursday.

The ice is a little stronger in Black Hawk and Bremer counties with the DNR reporting four to six inches of good ice at area lakes.

Still ice thickness can vary.

"The further south you go, you have to be careful, but we should be putting on ice the next couple of days," Mack said. 

Officials remind those venturing out to look for clear ice and to drill test holes.

Anglers should go in groups and carry safety equipment just in case.

"Take your ice picks that hang around your neck in case you would fall through so that you could pull yourself out.  Have a rope, probably a floatable device with you," Mack said.

Before the Kruse's headed out Thursday, they received updates on the ice condition from other fishermen.

"With our test holes and stuff, we'll be fine and we'll be cautious, and if we get worried, we'll get off," Jay Kruse said.

Ensuring their eagerness to get out is second to safety.

Given the cold forecast, officials expect area lakes to add more than one inch of ice by the weekend.

The DNR recommends at least four inches of fresh, clear ice for fishing.

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