Walking on Lake Erie's icy surface is never safe, but this weekend the sheriff's department wants to warn people that the predicted warm up makes it even more dangerous.

February 15, 2011 Updated Feb 15, 2011 at 8:01 PM EDT

By Laura Gray

February 15, 2011 Updated Feb 15, 2011 at 8:01 PM EDT

Angola, NY (WKBW) -- The signs are clear. No fishing. Thin ice. But seasoned fisherman Jason Strzeszynski says it's a matter of knowing which parts of the lake are safe to walk on. "The ice here is 16 inches thick. It's very safe right now."
Strzeszynski stays on the ice close to the Small Boat Harbor and away from the areas where a current lies beneath. He's never had a close call, but the Erie County Sheriff's Office has had many rescues out there on the ice.
With temperatures expected to reach as high as 50 this weekend, the sheriff's department is warning people to stay off creeks and streams. "As soon as the snow pack melts and water rises from the ice, it erodes the ice quite quickly. And you cant see it from above." says Deputy Arthur Litzinger.
The open lake is even more dangerous, especially for young people and ATV riders. Chief Scott Patronik of the Erie County Sheriff's Office warns, "With all the dynamics, it's never safe to be on the ice. We see that time and time again. Year after year."
Strzeszynski says he'll stay off the ice as the temperatures warm up. With limited resources available for ice rescues, the sheriff's department is hoping people take that advice to heart. "We're not the lifeguards for Lake Erie. We cant be." Deputy Litzinger says.