Ice thickness question.

Discussion in 'Hard Water Discussions' started by jobu, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. I tried ice fishing last year during the long period of colder weather. Loved it! At the time, the ice was over a foot thick so thickness was not and issue. I want to get out this season, but want to be safe about it. I am about 260-270 lbs so I'll need a little more thickness than you smaller guys. How thick would the ice have to be for you to be "comfortable". I'm talking comfortable with little to no "pucker factor", and no bow in the ice. Please list your approximate weight too. As a noob, I'm trying to get an idea of "safe" ice thickness here. I know that there are different types of ice with some being stronger than others. Let's say that its not really weak porous ice, but the strong solid black ice either. Let's say it of medium strength. Thanks in advance for your replies. I'd rather not have to take a swim to learn about this. I'm sure a fair number of you have.
  2. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    for me being totally comfortable i need about 4" of ice on ponds and about 6" on big lakes. i want to see the ice pretty clear when i drill, at least the bottom 2/3. id say thats medium strength. i dont want to see any water coming out of the hole. i dont want to see any areas where the ice has broken up and refrozen. im about 170.

    if you want to be safe follow in other peoples tracks. youll see the paths. footprints, shanty tracks, etc.

    shorelines are the trickiest areas.

  3. 3" of really good hard ice would hold you all day long
  4. leadcorebean

    leadcorebean Charter Captain

    well im 240 and i like to have atleast 4 inches any thing less and im not having a good time.. its not worth going in for a swim.. im sure u will get the same answer from everyone just use your better judgement or atleast take some safety gear

    KSUFLASH respect our rivers please

    4" for me as well.

    It isn't really the thickness that is the main factor. It is the quality of the ice. Clear ice is the best due to the fact that in order to have clear ice, you have to have a sustained cold period to get that clear ice. Cloudy ice is weaker.

    Just because Ice is 12" in one part of the lake, doesn't mean it is that same thickness over the entire area.

    My friend almost died last year on a private lake due to the fact he walked over a weak spot on the ice that was created by a spring. He fell in and was all alone in 20' of water. The ice he tested was around 6" thick.

    I have also seen idiots go on ice that is about 1" thick. They tie a rope off to themselves from land. That should get them the Darwin award for the year.

  6. im 275 and for me there is a huge difference between 3 and 4 inches of ice.
    three will sag and crack water will come up through the holes. 4 is just fine.

    like was said before, if your fishing on 3 somewhere nearby may be 2. If your fishing on 4 somewhere nearby will be 3. Id rather accidetally walk on 3 over 2. A little riddle to remember for us big guys.

    4 we adore
    3 wet feet
    2 we go through!
  7. I was told before that part of what makes ice be able to hold weight is that it floats. So if 6 or more inches of ice were to break , chances are that you wont just fall through very quickly but maybe slide to the edge or something because it floats so well. But its hard to imagine 3 or 4 inches floating very well and if the ice did break you could go right through quickly. Am I right ?
  8. Yes ice floats but that also makes it more dangerous because you can get trapped under it if you are on a peice that breaks and you slide under it, then it covers your exit route. I think these are called "pie cracks" generaly where two pressure cracks meet you want to avoid. I guess it works like a revolving door. Ive never seen one but ive seen pictures.

    I dont think its possible for just a person to "break through" 6 inches of ice. ive seen people who step on weak spots near, springs, underwater weeds, cracks that have re-frozen, old holes late in the season,and current areas and go through.
    People die every year though on lakes that are solid enough to drive on. Because they dont watch where they are going. No matter how thick the ice is you can still fall through in certain areas.
  9. when ice freezes it expands which causes pressure cracks. I think that this video is during late ice and it is thawing and the wind is blowing one ice sheet under another one. Not sure though
  10. I'm 165.I like my ice to be 5''to feel safe.
  11. 4" for me to feel "safe", but I have fished on far less, 6" for the 4-wheeler. BTW I am #225.
  12. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman


    I'm about 180. I've been on stuff that may have been shy of 2" not much fun
  13. I can't say that I haven't deserved a darwin award in my time. i've fished on 1-1/2" ice before and had to use a 5-6' foot long board to straddle the open edges just to get to the ice. But in my defense lol I was only fishing in 3 feet of water. Also some of the best ice fishing days i've ever had, has been on those days where no one has any business being on the ice.

    If I were to ever go through, I personally would want to go straight down. The "slide" effect is the worst that can happen. It slides you under & away from where you entered the water. And it's extremely hard to keep you eyes open in that cold of water to even look where your hole is. not to mention it's really dark under the ice.
  14. im in the 260 to 270 range and ive been on 3in. before a little pucker...but i feel good about 4in. or more...i was fishin c5 (nimisilla) last year early had 3in. and seen a guy go through. but it was his fault he walked away from the pack and on brown ice...and the way he tested it was he was jumping on it...stupidist thing i ever saw. it was about 7ft of water im thinkin..and just to let folks know dont jump on the ice like that and when u get your tail pulled out dont sit on the ice and look at your equipment for 20 min then go to your truck and walk right back out on the ice with a regular rod with a trebble hook and try to get your stuff....a little somethin called hypothermia.
  15. LAst Feb. I was out on Erie and heard a big scratching sound, then the a large boom! I ended up on my ars and between my group and catawba was 2 feet of water. Looked just like what the video showed. My buddy who lives and captains on the lake said it was just two sheet of ice shifting under another. HE walked right up to the crack and walked across. Needless to say, I had a large stripe in my undies! This was on 6 clear ice with 1 inch of slop.
  16. The videos show what looks like some decently thick ice, if it were any thinner those guys so close to the expanding crack would have been swimming. Looks like the bouyant nature of the ice is what actually held them up.
  17. Thanks for the info everyone. Looks like 4"-6" is what most are saying. I'll set 5" as a personal minimum until I get more comfortable and learn a bit more about ice and its behavior. From what you guys have posted, it seems to act strange at times. Lots of do's and dont's on here:

    Look for and avoid broken up and refrozen ice
    Follow in other people's tracks
    Be cautious around the shoreline areas
    Make sure you have the proper safety gear
    Check for ice quality (clearer is better, cloudy is worse)
    Avoid known springs or other flowing/moving water
    Avoid weak ice caused from weeds
    Avoid brown ice

    Do NOT:
    Assume that ice is ever completely safe
    Tie a rope to yourself to walk on thin ice (I can't believe people do this!)
    Test ice thickness by jumping on it.

    Anything else?
  18. hardwaterfan

    hardwaterfan Twinsburg, OH (NE OH, northern edge of Summit Co.)

    just the one thing about water creeping out of the hole. it means the ice is bowing a bit. i dont like it, its an instant +10 on the PF scale. this is something to watch for not only right away but even for up to 15 minutes or so after you drill and start fishing. bad news.