Parents are being urged to warn their children about venturing onto city ponds or area lakes. What looks solid and safe often isn’t, especially this time of year.
Anglers, too, are being warned to be patient and stay off of the ice.
Here is a guide about ice thickness from the Department of Natural Resources:
2 inches of ice or less: Stay off!
4 inches of ice: OK for fishing or other activities on foot.
5 inches of ice: OK for snowmobile or ATV.
8 to 12 inches of ice: OK for car or small pickup.
12 to 15 inches of ice: OK for medium truck.
The DNR wants everyone to know those guidelines don’t take into account the variables of ice thickness on particular lakes. Depending on conditions in the lake, thickness can vary from 12 inches all the way to one inch. Some of those conditions include underground springs putting water into lakes, currents of the water and rough-fish activity, especially at places where water runs into or out of a lake.
Another variable of ice thickness and strength is whether the ice is “white snow ice” or “clear-water ice.” The latter is twice as strong as snow ice. When venturing onto snow ice, the guidelines in the chart above should be doubled in the mind of any ice-goer.
Vehicles on ice should not be parked close together, and they should be moved every hour or so to prevent them causing the ice to sag.
It’s recommended ice-goers test the thickness of ice at least every 150 feet. Ice thickness can be tested using a tape measure after a hole is made by an ice auger, ice chisel or cordless drill.