Feb
22
2007

Carp craving cars: Swirling fish weaken ice in a Minnesota lake

Driving on ice: Swirling pools of carp on Lake Elysian have caused two trucks to break through thin ice, even though air temperatures were well below zero.Courtesy lisaschaos.
Driving on ice: Swirling pools of carp on Lake Elysian have caused two trucks to break through thin ice, even though air temperatures were well below zero.
Courtesy lisaschaos.

Just when you thought it might be save to drive on lake ice, watch out for the carp!

That's what happened to a couple of pick-up truck drivers in southern Minnesota this winter. After the temperatures finally went low enough last week to make ice thick enough to drive on Lake Elysian, they were thrown a curveball by those ugly creatures of the deep.

They cracked though the ice while driving about (one truck actually had to be towed out from the hole that it fell in) due to ice being abnormally thin for sub-zero weather. The cause? Swirling pools of carp in the shallow waters of that portion of the lake.

Earlier in the winter when the ice was clear visitors on Lake Elysian and other area lakes could see pools of carp churning up the waters under the surface. A Minnesota DNR official likened the carps’ swimming action as an agitator, which keeps the water moving and ice from forming.

Carp are also a fresh water fish species that will spend more time near the ice surface rather than staying near lake bottoms, helping continue the ice-thinning action.

The situation on Lake Elysian was kind of a perfect storm of conditions. The area where the trucks went through the ice is extremely shallow as well, helping add to the effect carp can have on thinning the ice. Local authorities are discouraging people from driving on the ice of Lake Elysian, which is located just west of Waterville, Minn., in Waseca County.

Now I have one more reason to detest carp!

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