Before heading out on the Lake this winter, please review the following important ice safety information. Ice thickness and strength can vary drastically over the same body of water depending on age, temperature, snow cover, lake water depths, currents and natural springs, channels and bridges, pressure ridges, moving fish and waterfowl populations, and other factors. For example, white ice is half as strong as newer, clear ice. While no ice is entirely safe, the Minnesota DNR provides minimum ice thickness guidelines based on the intended activity.
The MN DNR or other agencies do not measure ice thickness on Minnesota lakes for official use. It is your responsibility to check ice thickness at least every 150 feet using an ice chisel, ice auger, or a cordless 1/4 inch drill with a long bit. Also park or locate vehicles at least 50 feet apart and move every two hours to prevent sinking. If water starts to overflow the top of the hole next to the vehicle or ice house, the ice is sinking and it’s time to move it.
Deicing Operations & Open Water
Certain facilities are licensed to have deicing operations on Lake Minnetonka under certain conditions. Watch for Thin Ice signs and use extra caution when recreating in bays with open water.
For more information about survival plans, vehicle escapes, and assisting others, visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/.