DNR conservation officer pulls angler from southern Iowa lake
Osceola, Iowa — State Conservation Officer Michael Miller was on routine patrol late Friday morning when he saw two men setting up an ice fishing shelter on West Lake Osceola, in southern Iowa.
“I saw them out there and yelled ‘how much ice are you on?’ and they said ‘three inches.’ I told them to get off the ice immediately,” he said.
Miller said one angler made it safely off the ice, but the other broke through about 10 yards from shore.
Miller grabbed his throw bag from his vehicle, threw it to the man in the lake and, with the help of the other angler, pulled him to shore.
It all happened in about five minutes.
“He said he was losing feeling in his hands and his hands were hurting,” Miller said. “At this point I was more worried about the threat from exposure than from drowning.”
Paramedics arrived, examined the angler who was then released from the scene.
Miller, who covers Clarke and Decatur counties for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has seen anglers break through the ice before, but has never pulled one out.
“I told them next time they want to go ice fishing this time of year, to go north,” Miller said. “It’s 48 degrees here with a south wind. Our ice conditions have been deteriorating quickly for some time.”
Ice fishing is not recommended over about the southern third of Iowa. Anglers should use extreme caution during the latter part of the winter as the longer days, thaw-freeze cycles and warmer winds begin to weaken the ice.