The Maine Warden Service continues to warn people about thin ice conditions on many of the state’s waterways.

Above-average temperatures, along with recent storms, are creating conditions that are weakening ice throughout the state. Rivers and streams still are high, causing substantial amounts of water to flow into lakes, opening up inlets and outlets and creating dangerous conditions. Also, power companies recently have performed routine draw-downs of water that changed ice conditions, especially along shorelines.

The state’s larger lakes have substantial swatches of open water, and in southern Maine many of the smaller lakes and ponds are opening up.

Because of insufficient ice in parts of the state, promoters of the 10th Maine Chevrolet Derby, a statewide ice-fishing derby, decided March 2 to cancel the event, which was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7.

According to derby promoter Tom Noonan, only six of the 25 fish weigh stations reported having two feet of ice or more. For more information, visit online at

The Maine Warden Service is advising that people be cautious. Do not drive heavy vehicles, such as cars or trucks, onto lakes or ponds. Any snowfall, such as that forecasted for tonight in parts of Maine, may blanket any open water. Persons unfamiliar with a lake or pond are advised not to go on them, particularly at night.

Some parts of the state, primarily ponds in northern Maine, have ice. But game wardens are advising that its thickness should be checked before venturing onto its surface.

The Maine Warden Service offers the following tips for ice safety:

• Never guess the thickness of the ice — check it. Check the ice in several different places using an auger or some other means to make a test hole and determine the thickness. Make several, beginning at the shore, and continuing as you go out.

• Check the ice with a partner, so if something does happen, someone is there to help you. If you are doing it alone, wear a lifejacket.

• If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, stay off. Watch out for thin, clear or honeycombed ice. Dark snow and dark ice are other signs of weak spots.

• Avoid areas with currents, around bridges and pressure ridges. Wind and currents can break ice.

• Parents should alert children of unsafe ice in their area, and make sure that they stay off the ice.

If you break through the ice, remember:

• Don’t panic.

• Don’t try to climb out immediately — you will probably break the ice again. Reach for solid ice.

• Lay both arms on the unbroken ice and kick hard. This will help lift your body onto the ice. Once on the ice, roll, don’t walk, to safety.

• To help someone who has fallen through the ice, lie down flat and reach with a branch, plank or rope or form a human chain. Don’t stand. After securing the victim, wiggle backwards to the solid ice.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at