DNR urges caution on St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair

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Press Release

Feb. 28, 2014

Contact: Lt. David Malloch, 248-359-9040 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815

DNR urges caution on St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair

Despite another round of colder temperatures in Michigan, ice on the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair is starting to break up, causing dangerous conditions for anglers, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warned today.

he U.S. Coast Guard has begun ice-breaking activities on the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair, and as recently as last week some anglers fell through the ice on the Detroit River while on their off-road vehicles, according to Lt. Dave Malloch, DNR Law Enforcement Division supervisor for southeast Michigan.

Even with the colder temperatures, the ice conditions on the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair are changing,” Malloch said. “We urge anglers to use extreme caution when venturing out to ice fish on those bodies of water.”

Malloch also reminded anglers that the deadline for removing ice shanties from Lake St. Clair has passed and that while shanties can still be used, they must be removed from the ice each day.

Ice conditions on a river are always more unstable than on a larger body of water. Ice formed over a river with strong current, or ice covering the bays of the Great Lakes, will always be more fragile, Malloch said.

Deep inland lakes take longer to freeze than shallow lakes. Ice cover on lakes with strong currents or chain-of-lakes systems also is more unpredictable, Malloch added.

he DNR offers the following tips if you are fishing or snowmobiling on the ice:

  • Always leave information with someone on shore about where you are going and when you are expected back.

  • Wear warm, layered clothing that will help prevent hypothermia if you fall through the ice. Wear bright colored or reflective garments, if possible. It will help searchers find you.

  • Always take a cell phone, ice picks or screwdrivers (to help pull yourself out of the water) and consider wearing a lifejacket while on the ice.

  • Travel in pairs when going out on the ice with a friend, but walk several yards apart, so if the ice breaks, both of you don’t fall through.

  • Get the most up-to-date weather and ice conditions before you head out on the ice.

  • The only way to know about ice condition and thickness is to bore a hole in it, but remember that ice conditions can vary greatly from location to location and that ice does not freeze uniformly on any lake or river. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.