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Coast Guard establishes winter safety zone in Saginaw Bay


The U.S. Coast Guard has announced a winter safety zone will go into effect on Saginaw Bay Saturday morning.

Adeeb Ahmad is a public affairs officer with the Coast Guard. He says any vessel coming through the bay must let the Coast Guard know at least three days in advance.

Coast Guard officials say this has been an odd winter, but ice is starting to form in the bay. The safety zone is designed to keep ice fisherman and anyone else in the bay safe from falling through the ice.

"This safety zone is not just for large vessels and large ships. It's for every vessel that's out there. If a vessel is out there breaking ice, they need to let the Coast Guard know in advance," said Ahmad.

According to the Michigan DNR, a lot of ice fishing is happening in the bay right now because the number of walleye is high. Dave Fielder is a research biologist with the Michigan DNR.

"Right now, we have both of segments of the population back in the bay for overwintering, preparing for the spawn," said Fielder. "So the density of walleye and setting the base high right now we have all the members of that population back in the bay."

The Coast Guard says the winter safety zone will be in effect until the end of the ice season and encourages anglers to be careful on the ice.

Editor's note: In the interest of transparency, we note the Michigan DNR is a financial supporter of WCMU.

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.