Every December, eager anglers make their way to Northern Minnesota. Upper Red Lake is one of the first big lakes to get enough ice to fish, but there's always a risk in the early season.

Last year dozens of anglers were stranded on the lake after an enormous crack separated the sheet of ice they were fishing on from the shore. The sheet was so large and stretched for so many miles that many anglers weren't even aware that there was a problem. Authorities had to send an emergency message to mobile phones in the area to alert the anglers. Here's a photo of that happening last year:

Beltrami County Sheriff's Department Facebook
Beltrami County Sheriff's Department Facebook
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Rescue crews were able to find a section that they could put a temporary bridge over to get people back to shore safely.

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Local fishing guides and rental places are always a good source to check on conditions. This last weekend Greater MN Rentals on Upper Red Lake warned folks not to cross over a small crack on the ice in search of walleyes further out.

Of course, the company doesn't own the lake, but they are looking out for anglers' and first responders' safety.

Wind can cause the ice conditions to change quickly, and unseasonably warm temperatures across Minnesota are hindering ice formation.

They took to Facebook to share another drone video of what it looks like. As you an see most anglers stay on the shoreside of the crack, which is about a half mile out.

People are reporting ice conditions around 5-7", but there are some areas with much thinner ice.

I have some friends who are fishing on Upper Red right now as I type this. I gave them a call and asked them about conditions and they are on about 4" of ice right now. Here's what the inside of their tent looks like with just a few inches of ice.

David Dennison
David Dennison
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Not far from where they are, you can see a permanent house with a side-by-side next to it. I'd say that's a little thin of ice to have an ATV out there. They recommend at least 5-6" of ice.

David Dennison
David Dennison
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Be careful, no ice is ever 100% safe, especially this early in the season.

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Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

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