Local lake conditions can be checked by asking a local bait shop or resort and by using a tape measure plus a cordless drill, ice auger or ice chisel to create a hole. People should stay off new ice that is 2 inches or less and snow ice that is 4 inches or less, states the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
It is important to know the thickness of the ice before venturing out on to it. Use the following steps to check local ice conditions using an ice chisel, which is a metal rod with a flat blade:
- Contact local shop
- Drive ice chisel into ice
- Measure thickness
- Repeat every 150 feet
Contact an nearby lake resort of bait shop to learn more about the local conditions of the lake. This will help determine if the ice is clearly safe or whether further action is needed to check conditions.
Use the chisel to create a hole in the ice, using a stabbing motion.
Place the tape measure into the hole and measure the ice thickness. New ice of at least 4 inches is safe for activities on foot, such as ice fishing. At 5 inches, a snowmobile can be used. A small vehicle can be driven on the ice if it is at least 8 inches thick, while medium trucks can be used on ice that is at least 12 inches thick. If the lack is covered in snow, or white ice, the minimum requirements should be doubled.
The thickness of the ice is rarely the same in every spot on the lake. The measurement should be checked approximately every 150 feet to ensure it is safe throughout the lake.