Ice Anglers: Beware of Thin Ice!

A recent string of cool nights in the Midwest, including Minnesota, has ice forming on some ponds and lakes, but eager ice anglers are urged to stay off the ice.

Ice is forming on some lakes, rivers and ponds around Minnesota and some other Midwest states, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources warns it is too early to venture out.

Tom's News Item on Ice Safety 11-14 thin_iceThe DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should: carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort— ask about ice conditions— and measure the ice.

DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:

  • 4 inches for walking.
  • 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV.
  • 8- to 12 inches for a car.
  • 12- to 15 inches for a medium-sized truck.

The Minnesota DNR notes, however, you can’t judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors — plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, water chemistry and currents, the distribution of the load on the ice, and local climatic conditions.

It concludes: There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice!

Here are some tips for traveling on ice.

For more information on ice safety, visit


(Did you know Sportsman’s Guide has an awesome assortment of Ice Fishing Gear?)


Have you had any “close calls,” going through the ice while ice fishing or snowmobiling? Please comment below.

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