The Ice is Coming! Ice fishing is ahead!

Minnesota is truly a four season wonder!  Even though we've had a warm November, the weather is starting to turn, night time temperatures are falling, and the ice is forming on our lakes and ponds.  This is the time of year when many of us get excited about the prospect for ice fishing, skating and snowmobiling.  We need to be careful, however, not to get ahead of the season.  The safety guildlines provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources apply to clear, new ice only.  Thickness isn't the only issue in ice safety.  We need to be careful of the impact of river flows, springs, ice ridges and other factors.  When venturing out onto the ice it pays to ask a local resort for advice and guidance.  The "safe ice" thickness guidelines are:

    • 2 inches or less - stay off!
    • 4 inches            - walking, snowshoes or skis only
    • 5 inches            - snowmobile or ATV
    • 8- 12 inces       - car or light truck
    • 12 - 15 inches   - medium truck

Many resorts are getting ready for the winter season and can answer your questions about ice conditions.  One great source of information for Lake of the Woods is the website for the local tourism office at  Several resorts also post ice reports, including Sportman's Lodge at

Mille Lacs ice information is available at