MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the recent warm weather has quickly worsened ice conditions across the state.

Officials are sharing pictures of some lakes that already have large areas of open water, as conservation officers are already asking people in some parts of southern Minnesota to keep off the ice.

Ice out is usually declared between mid-March up until, May depending on the lake. But the DNR says it’s important to take extra precautions right now as conditions can change from day to day or even hour by hour.

(credit: CBS)

WCCO spoke with Tim Sonenstahl, co-owner of Wayzata Bait & Tackle.

“You don’t want them to get out there and get stuck out on the lake and then, you know, have to get rescued, because then you’re putting the rescuer’s life in danger,” Sonenstahl said. “You don’t need that for a fish.”

The DNR says there have already been three ice-related deaths this year. If you are going out on the ice, it’s a good idea to check on the ice thickness ahead of time, and bring a life jacket and ice picks with you.

Kate Raddatz