Officials limit access to Upper Red Lake after 122 anglers were rescued after becoming stranded on the ice
Update 12/30 at 1:28 p.m.: Officials with the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office said they are restricting access to Upper Red Lake due to the number of fishermen becoming stranded on and breaking through the ice.
Snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and all motorized vehicles are prohibited from going on the ice. A violation of this order is a misdemeanor, and if convicted, fines, penalties, and restitution may be sought by Beltrami County, according to officials with the sheriff’s office.
More than 100 anglers were rescued after becoming stranded on an ice floe on Upper Red Lake Friday evening, according to the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office.
A call came in just before 5 p.m. that around 100 people were stranded on an ice chunk with over 30 feet of open water separating them from shore on the southeastern portion of the lake.
Before authorities arrived to the ice rescue, bystanders attempted to evacuate the floe via canoe. Four people fell into the water during this attempt and were brought back to the ice floe to warm up in a fishing shelter, authorities said.
In all, 122 anglers had been evacuated by authorities by 7:37 p.m.
No injuries were reported during this incident and the only people that had fallen into the water were the four who tried to evacuate via canoe.
This is at least the fifth ice rescue on Upper Red Lake this month.
“Our first responders have had a lot of practice this year, and it is quite impressive we evacuated 122 people in less than 3 hours from the first call in a rural area of the county,” said Chris Muller, the emergency management director for the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging people to use caution before venturing out onto the ice as recent widespread rain, wind, and warm temperatures have degraded ice conditions to a dangerous level.
Chris Ellis, of Ellis Towing and Ice Recovery, shared that the company towed an ATV from the lake Thursday after a father and son were stranded.
“Our ice conditions look like March and April ice,” he said. “The water that we had for two days of rain ran through it. It’s sharded and it does not have the integrity and the strength that ice should have coming into the first of January.”