Warmer weather brings out ice fishermen in Ottumwa
OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - With a rise in temperatures making it a little more bearable to be outside, many in Ottumwa spent Thursday ice fishing on the Des Moines River and the Ottumwa Park Ponds.
According to one local fisherman, the slight bump in winter temperatures has outdoorsmen rushing to get out on the ice.
“I’m pretty sure I was the first one out here on this ice. I’m pretty sure everybody was waiting to see if somebody went out. Because I went out Sunday and Monday. And every day since, somebody has been out there,” said Kasey Morrison.
Morrison had been ice fishing for walleye down by the hydro dam in Ottumwa. But not without taking several precautions. He waits for temperatures to reach below zero for at least a few days before going out.
“I carry a spud bar with me. And then every couple feet, I give her a couple strikes. Then I drill a hole to see how many inches of ice is on there. Generally, I’m looking for 3.5-4 inches for me to get on it,” Morrison explained.
The city of Ottumwa hasn’t had to make any ice water rescues in recent memory. But, each of the department’s three crews are trained for that kind of emergency, according to assistant fire chief, Doug Overturf.
“It is rare that we get a call. But we train every year just by the happenstance that it could happen,” said Overturf.
If you do happen to be out ice fishing, the Ottumwa Fire Department says to bring do your research, bring a friend, and if someone does fall through the ice, stay calm and call 911.
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