Minnesota Mixed Bag: Ice angler dies after ATV breaks through Pike Bay ice near Cass Lake – Outdoor News


Walker, Minn. — Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk reported last week that on Jan. 5, at 11:15 a.m., the Cass County Sheriff’s Office received a report about an ATV that broke through the ice of Pike Bay in Pike Bay Township, near Cass Lake. The report indicated an individual was in the water.

According to the sheriff’s office press release, officials responding to the incident arrived and learned that an ATVer had been traveling on the ice of Pike Bay when the machine broke through and went into the water.

The ATV driver, 82-year-old Thomas Steele from Bemidji, was pulled from the water by witnesses who were fishing in the area. Lifesaving efforts were immediately initiated by individuals on the ice. Deputies arrived at the location, assisted in getting the individual to a safer area, and continued with lifesaving efforts.

Steele was transported from the ice by airboat to an awaiting ambulance and transported to the Cass Lake Indian Services Hospital, where lifesaving efforts were continued. He later was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

An autopsy is scheduled with the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office. An adult male passenger, Mark Jacobson, age 56, of Bemidji, on the ATV also was in the water and was treated at the scene.

Assisting with recovery efforts at the scene was the Leech Lake Tribal Police, Minnesota DNR, Cass Lake Fire Department, Bemidji Fire Department, Leech Lake Ambulance, and Bemidji Ambulance.


Hutchinson, Minn. — Area fisheries managers with the Minnesota DNR will begin the drawdown process on Sibley County’s Clear Lake this spring. The temporary lowering of water levels on this 505-acre lake is taking place to improve fish and wildlife habitat as well as water quality.

Clear Lake has been overwhelmed by large populations of common carp, causing turbid water and impeding aquatic plant growth. Invasive common (or European) carp have a negative effect on water quality when they uproot native plants and disturb phosphorous-rich bottom sediments through their feeding habits. A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency watershed assessment performed in 2017 found that Clear Lake had phosphorus levels more than three times the acceptable level.

Plans call for the lowering of water levels by about 4 feet to create conditions for a winterkill and reduce common carp populations. The drawdown will also allow sediments to consolidate, which will permit new growth of submergent and emergent vegetation.


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Once water quality improves and aquatic vegetation stands are re-established, DNR will stock walleyes, northern pike, yellow perch and bluegill in Clear Lake. These fish will create a recreational angling opportunity as well as a measure of population control on common carp.

Anyone with questions about the Clear Lake project may contact Scott Mackenthun, Hutchinson area fisheries supervisor, at [email protected] or at (320) 753-0324. More general questions on lake drawdowns and the shallow lakes program can be directed to Nicole Hansel-Welch, shallow lakes program supervisor, at [email protected] or at (218) 203-4333.


St. Paul — The Minnesota DNR is waiving vehicle permit fees at all 75 state parks and recreation areas on Monday, Jan. 15.

With this year’s unusual weather, it’s good to know there are many winter park activities that don’t require snow or ice, such as birding, winter hiking, and nature photography.

And, if sufficient snow arrives before Jan. 15, visitors may also partake in popular winter activities such as sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Most parks offer snowshoe rentals, and select parks offer ski rentals.

Four free park days are scheduled for Minnesota state parks and recreation areas in 2024 including: Jan. 15, April 27, June 8, and Nov. 29. For more information, visit the DNR’s Free Park Days web page.


Madison, Wis. — The Wisconsin DNR is encouraging members of the public to report any black bear den locations across Wisconsin to help with an ongoing black bear reproduction study.

A bear cub checked by Wisconsin DNR personnel. If you see a den in Wisconsin, let the WDNR know.

While reporting all den locations is critical to the success of this study, there is a particular need for reports in Clark, Taylor, Wood, St. Croix, Pierce, Buffalo, and Oneida counties.

The Black Bear Litter and Diet Survey, now entering its third year of data collection, will generate updated estimates of black bear reproductive rates within each of the state’s bear management zones. These updates will improve the accuracy of the population models used to manage black bears. Additionally, researchers are investigating a connection between the consumption of human food and bear reproduction since diet can affect cub survival rates and litter sizes.

To report a known black bear den, visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7DSMFZS

Source: https://www.outdoornews.com/2024/01/10/minnesota-mixed-bag-ice-angler-dies-after-atv-breaks-through-pike-bay-ice-near-cass-lake/