Well, here's a facepalm moment. Someone already had a permanent shack out on pipestem, the predictable happened.
An ice house went into the water at Pipestem Dam earlier this week, according to Bob Martin, dam manager for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
The ice house had been placed on the ice near the Parkhurst boat ramp and broke through Wednesday or Thursday.
Martin said the lake was completely iced over last weekend but wind action, higher temperatures and releases from the dam caused some areas of ice to break up, resulting in open water in parts of the lake. The same actions likely weakened the ice in other parts of the lake including where the ice house had been placed.
B.J. Kratz, district fisheries supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said there is no set date when ice houses can be placed on the ice.
"It's up to the individual to use common sense," he said.
Kratz said he had heard reports of ice about 4 inches thick on Pipestem last weekend.
"The bad thing is you might have 4 inches in one place and 1 inch in another," he said. "This early in the season the ice is very inconsistent."
Kratz said it is up to the owner of the fish house to remove it from the lake even if it has fallen through.
Martin said releases from Pipestem Dam are at 13 cubic feet per second and will likely stay at that level through the winter. Water releases from the dam can contribute to instability in the ice on the lake.
"We're matching the inflows from springs and other sources," he said.
Much of the southern portion of the lake behind Jamestown Dam remains open although no water is being released, Kratz said.
Kratz said it is very early in the ice fishing season but anglers need to use caution on the ice at all times.
"There is no such thing as safe ice," he said.