When is it safe to get on the ice?
December 14, 2018
The start of the winter marks the start of an activity, unique mainly to Minnesota.
Ice fishing is a popular pastime in the state with 10,000 lake. But every year there is debate on when to start ice fishing and whether or not it’s safe.
The ice is always different from year to year just like the weather. It always depends on how cold it gets.
Outdoor Canada has discovered a formula on how fast a lake will freeze. It is based off of freezing degree days. Freezing degree days are calculated from subtracting 32 for the temperature that water freezes from the average temperature of the day.
If the high of the day is 10 degrees and the high for the night is 0, the average temperature of the whole day is five. You subtract five from 32 and get 27. If the freezing degree day is over 15, the ice should grow by about an inch that day.
So earlier in the winter, the temperatures haven’t been low long enough. Making it unsafe to go out on the ice and go fishing.
The Minnesota DNR recommends that the minimum amount of ice to go ice fishing on is 4 inches. That’s just for a person to be out on the ice. The minimum for a snowmobile is 5 inches.
The most common way to go onto the ice is by car or truck, which is why ice fishing is more common later into the winter. The DNR guidelines say cars should not be out on the ice if there is less than 8 inches and trucks shouldn’t be on the nice until there’s 12 inches.
The DNR records say there has been one fatality from thin ice so far in 2018 in Minnesota that happened in April. In 2017 there were seven ice-related drownings. Most instances are not fatal but falling through the ice is still dangerous.
The most popular lake to fish in in the west metro area is lake Minnetonka. Taking up 14,004 acres, it is the ninth biggest lake in Minnesota and the biggest lake in the metro area and the southern part of the state.
Every year in April there is a tournament on Lake Minnetonka where the biggest Crappie is caught wins. There are tons of tournaments all over the state for anyone to join and earn some cash fishing.