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Michigan Angler Dies After Falling Through the Ice

Michigan Angler Dies After Falling Through the Ice

A 59-year-old Michigan resident lost his life after going through the ice during a recent fishing trip on Little Bass Lake (Mecosta County).

According to the official news reports, the ice angler had fallen through sometime around 9 p.m. on Monday, February 26.

Shortly after, Mecosta County deputies arrived at the scene after having responded to a call from the man’s family members, who’d located him but were unable to get him out of the water.

The rescuers were able to pull the ice fisher out of the water fairly quickly but noticed that the man wasn’t breathing.

Tragically, despite all life-saving efforts by the heroic rescue crew, the ice angler could not be resuscitated.

I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased. I am very sorry for your loss.

Witnessing such a tragic event first-hand must be extremely traumatic. No one should have to go through such an experience!

A Warning from the County Sheriff’s Office

Due to persisting high temperatures and poor ice quality, the local County Sheriff’s Office in Mecosta has recently released a statement urging people to stay off the ice:

I can only second these words! The past two weeks have been extremely warm, and the little ice that’s left has been weakened plenty by those high temperatures.

Personally, I wouldn’t risk going on the ice this late in the game. It’s simply not worth risking your health or life, as the above story so tragically reminds us.

Please stay home, get your gear ready, and wait for that open water season to start instead!

Temperatures to Remain High in Michigan


Should you need another reason to stay off the ice, just take a look at the local weather forecast for the Mecosta Township, where the fatal accident took place on Monday.

And no matter where in Michigan you might be, I’m fairly certain that the temperatures will look similar to the ones above!

PRO TIP: Check out the Michigan DNR Ice Safety Guide

General Ice Fishing Safety Tips

Should there still be some stable ice on your local lakes (even though I highly doubt that by now) and you decide to head out, please be extremely careful and remember these basic safety tips when you’re going on the ice:

Tip #1: Always check ice thickness

The first and most important thing is always to check the thickness of the ice! 

Generally speaking, you should stay off ice that’s less than 4 inches thick. PERIOD! 

Personally, I prefer 6 inches, just in case. However, you must check the ice on your way out constantly. 

The warmth has made the ice on most lakes very weak by now, and late ice is never to be trusted!

4 or more inches of ice can quickly turn into 2 or 1 inch. And boom, you’re going through! 

Tip #2: Trust your spud bar

Courtesy of Tommy Rudack

A spud bar or ice chisel is probably your most important tool on the ice! It’ll help you check the thickness and compactness of the ice. 

Personally, I wouldn’t head out without one. It’s really vital! 

A spud bar allows you to test the ice quickly and frequently, saving you time and energy, as you won’t have to drill dozens of holes with your auger. 

Tip #3: Always wear ice picks

Never go on the ice without wearing that good old, trusted pair of ice picks around your neck!

If, God forbid, you should fall through, these things can end up saving your life! 

Without them, you might never be able to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice.

So please don’t take them off while ice fishing. That’s not the point of bringing them!

Tip #4: Don’t go ice fishing alone

Courtesy of Sonia Lien

This is a great safety tip for early ice that you might be uncertain about. 

The buddy system can ensure that your friend or friends can help you in case of an emergency or that you can help your friend or friends!

Making your way back onto the ice alone can sometimes be an impossibility. Having someone around who could help you or quickly get help can make all the difference!

Tip #5: Wear a float suit or life jacket

This might sound a little overkill, but wearing a float suit or life jacket on the ice can be an excellent idea! 

If you’re unsure about your physical abilities or don’t know how you might react if you go through, a float suit or life jacket can make things a lot easier in that ice-cold water. 

You still have to drag yourself onto the ice again, but at least you’ll have a little more time, a somewhat clearer head, and, most importantly, you won’t drown!

Tight lines, and stay safe out there!

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