Breaking the ice not going so nice

Ice fishermen delay endeavor.
Alex Green
Jan 22, 2014


An ice-breaking operation near the Lake Erie islands came to a halt Monday because of the very activity the Coast Guard has issued warnings about: ice-fishing.  

The irony was perhaps not lost on Coast Guard crews or the company hired for the project.  

“By about 1 p.m. Sunday, there were still too many shanties in our path,” said Mark Nowakowski, of HPH Mechanical, the company hired for the operation. “We can’t force them out of our way.”

Crews were slated to break the ice from South Bass to Catawba islands. 

Representatives at HPH Mechanical, also in charge of the Put-in-Bay docks project, were hoping Great Lakes Towing Company would transport a barge with project materials from Catawba to Put-in-Bay after tugs chopped up the ice.

Officials from companies grew peeved Monday as ice fishermen stood their ground. With mild temperatures and thick ice, parts of Lake Erie were looking more and more like Eskimo communes, as fishermen had set up shanties on the ice.

Jerry Smith, of Marblehead, was out there Monday afternoon, fishing through a small hole he had drilled in the ice. He said the sport livens up the dreary season.

”There’s not much to do this time of year, so people who like fishing enjoy it,” Smith said.

It would have been more enjoyable had some fish ventured near the small opening he made in the ice.

”It’s more fun when you’re catching some,” Smith said. “I’ve caught about two today.”

A few shanties away, a group tormented Smith when they told him they caught about 20 fish.

Still, winter fishing has a particular advantage over the summer version of this sport. 

”The fish from the cold water taste better,” Smith said.

Nowakowski said the Put-in-Bay docks project is expected to be completed by May, so he needs his work materials quickly. The tugs were supposed to travel from South Bass Island to Catawba Island early Monday. They would have traveled back to South Bass Island to unload any dock components, and then back to Cleveland.

The U.S. Coast Guard released a statement that said efforts are being made to limit any impact on ice activities, including ice fishing.

As of Monday, the score is Ice Fishermen “1,” Coast Guard “0.”  



I guess the fisherman beat them to the spot. Im sure they need there stuff on the Island but I understand the fisherman too...Lets see who wins.


Time for ice road truckers


Ice fishing is an important activity that should not be impaired by the commercial activity. It is a long time activity that has had very little cooperation with the weather in recent time.

Ice cover is good for the lake.

Peninsula Pundit

It is good for the lake, reduces evaporation, thus increasing lake levels and it prevents lake-effect snow which makes every road on the South Coast of Lake Erie safer for all of us who drive.


+1 for ice road truckers!

4-wheeler al

should have the material over there already before the ice. its are time now, close the lake until march. Shippers from Canada leaves ore boats over here and then they paid coast guard too brake ice. It comes too close down local business and let business in Canada make money. Should be other way around.

Peninsula Pundit

Are you certain the Canucks paid?
Corporate and Country welfare is OK, but don't give any to the real poor in this country.


How does this sound?

It's all a government conspiracy between the Coast Guard and Port Clinton/Marblehead authorities attempting to eliminate ice fishing for the 2014 season in the name of preventing possible ice fishermen rescues.

Put-n-Bay relies on ice fishing for income during favorable winter months. This is the first year in recent memory with stable ice and along comes the Coast Guard. What ever happened to shutting down the shipping lane as of January 1st.