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Ice Safety 101

Ice Safety 101

Ice Safety 101

Not a winter season will pass without several breakthroughs

If you’ve ever broken through ice on a lake, or seen a dog or deer struggling to get out of an ice hole, or have seen a vehicle drop into a lake, it’s a scary thing. It’s something no one wants to ever experience. Even in North Dakota, cold as winters can be, ice should never be trusted.

Winter anglers are reminded that ice can be deceptive and there is no sure answer for ice being safe.

To help better understand ice safety the following are a few points to consider:

• 2 inches of clear, solid ice is typically safe for one person to walk on.

• 4 inches of clear, solid ice is typically safe for ice fishing.

• 5 inches of clear, solid ice is typically safe for snowmobiling… more thicker ice is recommened. Ice thickness can be two inches in one location and five inches just a short distance away.

• 8-12 inches is usually safe for vehicles to drive on the ice, but driving under these conditions should be avoid whenever possible until conditions improve.

• New ice is typically stronger than old ice.  As ice ages throughout the winter season, the bond between cyrstals makes it more dangerous and weaker even if melting has not occurred.

• Wind speeds influence ice formation and conditions. Light winds speed up the formation. Strong winds can force water from beneath the ice and can decay ice edges.

• Snow will typically insulate ice and keep it strong. It is also known to insulate ice and to keep it from freezing. When ice is covered by snow, precautions should be taken to determine ice thickness before venturing onto any body of water.

Snow can also hide cracked, weak and open water areas.

• Slush is known to be a danger sign. Slush can indicate that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom. Slushy conditions can indicate weak or detorated ice.

• Ice can change with the surrounding climate conditions. Temperature, precipitation, wind speed, ice age and also water depth and water quality can all effect ice thickness and strength.

• Be sure to never check ice conditions or thickness or rescue a victim of ice failure alone because you could go from a rescuer to a victim very quickly.

• Individuals should wear a flotation device with ice picks whenever possible. Ice picks can be relatively small and placed in a coat pocket with easy access. Every ice angler should carry ice picks. •

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