Hunting Accident File > Safe Fishing?: > 2004

Dead Fishermen

11 January 2004

Reno County


When two fishermen didn't return home Saturday night, family members contacted a friend. The friend went to Cheney Lake and found the men's truck parked at the edge of the lake. The truck had its tailgate down, a signal the men used to inform others they were still on the lake.

Joe Goodson, 78, and Elmer Schmidt, 82, both of Inman, had gone to Cheney Lake Saturday morning to ice fish.

The friend couldn't find the men, so the Reno County Sheriff department was contacted, according to a report written by Sheriff Randy Henderson.

The Life Team helicopter from Wichita searched the area, but nothing was found in the nighttime search.

Life Team resumed the search Sunday morning and found a hole in the ice, 300 yards off shore, with what looked to be fishing equipment around it.

The Cheney fire department was called in. They used two boats and ropes to get out onto the ice. When they got to the broken hole, the bodies of the two fishermen were discovered.

Public Land Manager for Wildlife and Parks, Stuart Schrag, advised that test holes on the lake earlier in the week showed the ice was only 3" thick and melting.

It is recommended that people don't get onto the ice unless it is a minimum of 4" and meets other conditions as well. These conditions can be found on the website for Kansas Wildlife and Parks.

The area the men were fishing was also the location of the original riverbed, adding to the dangerous condition with the water being deeper and having more flow.

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