With changing weather, ice in Minnesota, anglers — and other outdoors types — beware

Due to widely variable weather conditions across much of the state, ice is deteriorating rapidly and creating potentially dangerous conditions for anglers, snowmobilers, skiers and others planning to recreate on the ice over the holidays. 

According to recreation safety specialists with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, ice that formed quickly during the recent sub-zero temperatures is now thawing and refreezing, which leads to extremely weak ice that is dangerously deceptive. 

“The calendar nor air temperatures can be used as indicators of ice thickness or safety,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “There are many variables to consider, including whether a waterbody has a current or run-off, the freeze-thaw cycle, and snow cover. River have been especially problematic, as water levels have continued to drop even after surface ice formed, creating dangerous air pockets under the ice.” 

A layer of insulating snow, coupled with above-average temperatures, means new ice takes longer to form, Dugan said, adding that ice that has thawed and refrozen is only half as strong as new, clear ice. 

Conservation officers across the state are reporting vehicles, snowmobiles and ATVs going through the ice on lakes where ice may be relatively thick in one area, with as little as 4-5 inches nearby.  

Additional ice safety tips and thickness guidelines are available at: mndnr.gov/icesafety.

Categories: Ice Fishing, News

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