RED LAKE UPDATE: Latest Rescue Prompts Complete Vehicle Ban On Upper Red

After Friday’s rescue of 122 anglers on Upper Red Lake, the fifth incident on Red in the past month, Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs announced new vehicle restrictions on the lake which will be in force indefinitely.

According to a news release from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department, “Due to continued incidents of fishermen becoming stranded on and breaking through the ice on Upper Red Lake, effective at sunset on December 30, 2023, Upper Red Lake in the area under the jurisdiction of Beltrami County will have restricted access. Per Minnesota Statute 86B.106, vehicles are barred from traversing Upper Red Lake until the Sheriff rescinds this order. Snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and all motorized vehicles are prohibited from going on the ice. A violation of this order is a misdemeanor under Minnesota Statute. If convicted, fines, penalties and restitution may be sought by Beltrami County.”

The release also noted that the sheriff had been in contact with the DNR Commissioner as well as the head of the DNR Enforcement Division and that the sheriff would monitor the conditions and rescind the order when prudent.

Yesterday’s ice floe detachment stranded 122 anglers on the lake at around 5pm. The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Kelliher Fire and Rescue, Kelliher First Responders, Blackduck Ambulance, Bemidji Fire Department, the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, Beltrami County Emergency Management, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers and area resorts. Additional state resources were requested but cancelled because of the efficiency and speed of local emergency responders.

Sheriff Riggs also noted “After several days of rain and above freezing temperatures, ice conditions have deteriorated. Area lakes have very inconsistent ice conditions and extreme caution should be employed if you choose to venture on area lakes. Check the ice thickness frequently, do not drive vehicles on the ice and check with area resorts and bait shops regarding ice conditions before going on the ice.”


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