DOT warns Massena residents to avoid unstable ice conditions on canal between Eisehnower, Snell locks
Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 3:01 pm

MASSENA – With warm temperatures in recent days, the state Department of Transportation is warning residents to avoid using the iced-over canal area between the Eisenhower and Snell locks due to potentially unstable ice cover.

And the state Department of Environmental Conservation is urging fisherman and snowmobilers to be cautious when on ice throughout St. Lawrence County.

DEC officials are also reminding citizens that evidence of previous use, such as tracks or footprints, does not necessarily indicate ice may be safe.

People should always check ice conditions themselves before making a decision, and avoid any situation that appears to present even a slight safety risk, DEC staffers say.

During warm breaks in winter weather “such as the one we are currently experiencing, some anglers take risks that they would otherwise not take,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Last year, safe ice did not form on many larger waters, but smaller lakes and ponds eventually provided sufficient ice for safe angling. Although the wait can be frustrating, falling through the ice is not a risk anyone should take.”

Ice thickness varies from one body of water to another, and can even vary within the same body of water. Potential users should be particularly cautious around areas with moving water or docks and houses, where “bubblers” may be installed to prevent ice build up.

Ice fisherman looking for potential fishing locations can request a copy of the DEC’s “I Fish NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing.” The brochure provides a map and suggested locations for ice fishing throughout the state. Anglers can obtain a copy at any DEC regional office, or can request a copy on-line by e-mailing the DEC at [email protected].

For more information on ice safety, visit the DEC’s website at

The DEC is also reminding ice fisherman to follow all DEC regulations when using bait fish. Following these regulations can prevent the spread of harmful diseases or invasive species. In particular, fisherman should use only certified disease-free bait fish or fish personally captured from the body of water where they will be used.

For a complete list of DEC bait fish regulations visit