The Cass County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a wide range of ice conditions on area lakes.

The unseasonably warm months of December and January caused good early ice conditions to deteriorate and the thaw and freeze cycles have opened up large cracks and ice heaves on area lakes, the sheriff’s office stated in a news release. The area of Walker Bay, a popular recreation spot of Leech Lake, is seeing a wide variety of ice thickness from 5-15 inches.

The sheriff’s office urges extreme caution on all area lakes while individuals are utilizing these lakes for a wide variety of recreation. The sheriff’s safety information includes:

  • No ice should ever be considered safe.

  • Check existing ice conditions as you travel.

  • Check with local bait shops, resorts, gas stations, other anglers for conditions.

  • Consider other means of transportation other than a motor vehicle, such as an all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile or foot travel are good choices.

  • Do not travel on the lake after dark.

  • Always notify someone of the area you are traveling in and your expected return time.

  • Carry a cellphone.

  • Be familiar with the lake — carry a map.

  • If you need emergency assistance, call 911.

  • Consider a GPS unit to help you on and off the lake.

  • Avoid the use of alcohol.

  • Pay attention to warning signs that are posted. Remember warning signs cannot be posted everywhere.