Lake of the Woods, MN (KROC-AM News)- Authorities have identified the victim of a rare December drowning on a popular Minnesota lake. 

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The man’s body was pulled from Lake of the Woods on Dec. 28. He had fallen in about 10 feet of water that morning. 

The Lake of the Woods County Sheriff’s Office has since identified the drowning victim as 78-year-old John F. Frey of Prairie Du Sac, WI. The investigation indicates he was among eight people riding in a tracked vehicle that had broken through about a foot of ice near an island. 


The driver and a bystander assisted with rescuing the rider before the icy water stalled the rescue effort. Officials say Frey’s body was recovered with the vehicle. 

Authorities say the drowning remains under investigation. It’s one of several incidents in what has been a dangerous start to the ice fishing season in northern Minnesota. 

On New Year’s Day Lake of the Woods authorities had to rescue dozens of anglers who were stranded on a break-away ice chunk and the operator of an ATV that had broken through the ice. No injuries were reported. 

Further south authorities in Beltrami County have issued a vehicle ban on Upper Red Lake that will be in place until next week at the earliest after conducting at least five ice rescues since late December. No injuries have been reported on that lake

The DNR last month issued a statewide warning regarding unsafe ice conditions on most if not all northern Minnesota lakes. 

More Minnesota News:

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While these aren't the only rules to abide by (see your local Minnesota or Wisconsin DNR regulations, for example), these 10 guidelines go a long way toward making sure you and other ice anglers have an enjoyable hardwater experience.

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper

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