Stranded ice fishermen save themselves

Feb. 28—WHITEWATER TOWNSHIP — Four ice fishermen who were stranded on an ice floe on Lake Skegemog on Monday afternoon managed to rescue themselves when the floe drifted to shore, allowing the men to walk to safety.

Whitewater Township Fire Chief Brandon Flynn said the four men made it safely to shore shortly before 3 p.m. when the ice floe on which they were standing made contact with some solid ice near the shoreline. He said the men were pulling a sled full of gear and had been fishing in the open.

Flynn said the fishermen had to jump over a 10-inch gap in the ice to reach the area where they wanted to fish. The high temperature on Monday was 55 degrees.

By the time the men had rescued themselves, several agencies had responded to the scene, including the Elk Rapids Fire Department, which launched a boat from Whitewater Township Park, Flynn said. He said a state police trooper drove the men back to their vehicles.

Flynn said a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer who responded to the scene said he had visited Lake Skegemog over the weekend and heard from fishermen that they "were maxing out on perch."

Asked whether he would go ice fishing on Lake Skegemog these days, Flynn responded with an adamant, "Oh no. Absolutely not. To me, it's not worth it."