ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Mild weather forecasted for the weekend combined with recent rain fall will most likely mean a short season for ice fishermen across the state.
The Maine Warden Service and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have issued a warning to anyone who might be venturing out on ice that is quickly becoming unstable. Open water has been reported in several areas. One fisherman lost his vehicle through the ice Thursday morning on Hermon Pond while trying to retrieve his ice shack. Sergeant Alan Gillis with the Maine Warden service recommends never driving a vehicle on the ice and to always use an ice chisel or auger to test ice thickness as you go.
"Use a great deal of caution when you're on these lakes and ponds in the winter months. Especially toward the end of the year when the conditions naturally start to deteriorate," said Gillis
According to Gillis the thinnest conditions are in areas where spring holes exist or where currents flow in and out of bodies of water from brooks, rivers and streams. Ice is often thinner around objects that protrude through the ice such as rocks, stumps, docks and other structures. Already this year Gillis has noticed a rapid change in areas around central parts of the state.
"At this point in the season the ice is changing week to week, day to day and they can change hour to hour," said Gillis
Ice shacks are legally required to be removed from all lakes and ponds by April 1st, but Gillis recommends that ice fishermen consider removing them as soon as possible given the rapid change in ice conditions this year.