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Discussion Starter #1
Hey fellas,

I'm wondering how thick the ice is before you go out on your ATV's on the ice for ice fishing. The Minnesota DNR recommends 5" for an ATV. However, when I look at my Cat loaded down with the rapidshack, my propane tank, all my gear, etc... I think it's gotta tip close to 950lbs.

The lake I'm fishing close to home here has 7" where I'm at...and it's good clear ice. You think I'm fine?

I had foot surgery last winter, and while I can drag my portable out, I can really feel it in my foot and frankly, it would be easier/nicer to just roll my Cat off a trailer and haul on out there.

Thanks for any input you can offer.

Todd
 

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For me, 7 inches minimum on a quad, although I know of people getting out on only 4 inches. I just don't enjoy ice fishing when I'm constantly thinking about the ice conditions. Two years ago I did buy one of those buoyant ice fishing suits, Arctic Armour I think it is called; gives me (and my family) a little piece of mind.
 

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5" min. but i prefer at least 7", also stay away from areas that have some sort of current
the ice will be much thinner there, i came real close to swiming one year were there was
some current under the ice, i drilled a hole to see how thick the ice was and it was 10-12"
thick but less than 6 feet away it was only 1" or less, so be carefull.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I'm pretty confident of the area I'm fishing that the ice is fine. There's a bridge a ways away (current) but that's a ways. I see wheeler tracks and sled tracks, but as you know they are moving. If you're stationary, that's a different ballgame to some degree.

I saw a bunch of wheelers tooling around out on the lake tonight about 300 yards away, but again...moving vs. stationary.

I think I'll wait another week, then I should be solid.
 

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Whatever you do be careful......I myself don't go out on the ice on my atv ever, no matter how thick it is. Reason being, I am scared to death of falling through. My dad lost a cousin after falling through the ice on a fishing trip. The ice was supposidely 8" thick and safe for fishing. They each were out on an atv, dad had a Honda 200SX, my uncle had a Suzuki 185 and their cousin had a Suzuki 125. They were not all together but were in eye sight of each other. He said they heard him screaming for help, looked over and they didn't see him. By the time they got there he and his quad had gone under.....I was taught to never go out on the ice since then and every time I see people out on the ice that's what I think of and is scares the **** out of me.....

Whatever you do be CAREFUL out there!
 

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I live on one of the most popular ice fishing lakes in Canada (Lake Simcoe). Thousands of people from the Toronto area enjoy this lake in the winter. But every year people go through the ice on this lake (or others in the area).
The fact is that when you are standing on the ice, all of your weight (in my case 200lbs.) is cocentrated in the area of your feet (avg. 12-15 sq. ins) where as on a quad or snowmobile the weight is spread out over a much larger area.
The problem is that although 7" of blue ice maybe safe, can you be sure of at least 7" everywhere on the lake?
The ice is only as safe as its weakest or thinnest point. There are so many variables, even rock shoals and sandbars can create weak spots as subtle currents increase in velocity over shallow humps, also the rocks will absorb some heat from the sun.
I have been enjoying this lake for all my 50 years and I will always wait until I see the Ice hut operators safely use the lake and I also wait for the warinings on the radio to stop. If you know the lake well, you can venture out in areas that are 2-3 feet deep to avoid problems. If you do fall through you will get a good cold soaking but you won't go over your waist.
Frozen lakes deserve a lot of respect. Remember that there is no Lake Trout or Walleye in any lake worth risking your life for.
Besides that Sanny, what would we on Arctic Chat do without you? :snow: :hole:
 

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Around here, I never touch the ice until it is atleast a foot thick. Around here most ponds are very unpredictable. Some parts of the pond could have a really muddy, marshy bottom, well other parts might be solid rock. On a sunny day the mud will warm up very quicly and completly devour the ice. I helplessly watched my uncle almost drown in a pond like this so I am very cautious about what ponds I venture out onto.
 

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I Have A New 24' drop Down House So Im Not Going Out
Til I See The 1 Ton Serves Truck With Full Set Of Ladder Racks / 10' Pro Plow Pulling There House out :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good to know I'm on the same page as many of you here. I really want to use my ATV because my feet are hurting quite a bit from toting it back and forth (my Clam is pretty old and beat up, and has a hole in the sled which acts like drag). It's likely good to work my feet, but man are they sore! :) Definitely not worth doing the polar bear swim though.
 

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Sanny
DNR recommends 8" for a car which outweighs your set up by quite a bit and you are close to the 8" mark.

But if you aren't comfortable with 7" then definately wait. I personally feel better with 7" of good clear ice than 12" of the melted, snowed on, refroze crap.
 

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Sanny ... here's a link to our Fish & Game dept. about ice condition's...they usually go by National standards for safe ice. They caution everyone, and still we pull people & equipment from going through.

http://wildlife.state.nh.us/Newsroom/News_...ety_121809.html

They recommend eight to ten inches of hard ice for snow machine or ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) travel.

Have Fun...BUT Be SAFE ... 3 of us with sleds were on a pond ( 16 yrs old ). I heard this crack noise in a hollow..thought it was a tree..was real cold that day... Heard it again and it was a pressure crack in ice...My track was spinnin' the other guys took off ..( came back for me ) and ever since I have a greater respect for the ICE..
 

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No ice for me unless its paved, I also have a fear of falling through. I just couldn't enjoy my self, darn atv weighs to much to chance it.
 

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yea im not going on it till i se cars or trucks on it
 

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this is totally the thread for me this weekend on our annual all male icefishing trip my wheeler went thru the ice... we were fishing with 6" of ice felt very safe atvs had been out all week.. had to cross a slush pocket and did so all weekend.. untill a bunch of guys got cold and decidied to hop on my wheeler.. well the ice didnt hold in the slush pocket and thru we went. the back end dropped thru and everyone floated up and away... i went for my winch cable and freespool release and went underwater for a bit.. thinking i needed to get that up so we could try to pull it... well i couldnt get it and let go and rolled onto the ice.. we rushed back to the cabin... changed clothes and went back out to recover the wheeler... got some cable and a tow strap and a chain.. the atv was floating but upside down under the ice... after an hour and 11 guys and a snowmobile later... it was pretty shallow water, so the ice was "soft" but the 6 inches and even the 3 inches was ok all weekend long... just couldnt handle all the extra weight... so i feel pretty safe on the 6" ice with an atv and even the 3"was ok until it wasnt.. lol so the wheeler is in the garage, thawing out... i drained the oil and took the plugs out and letting it dry out for a while... but should be ok... going to change all oils and coolant and fuel... anything else? all my switches were froze up and my seat is totally water logged..
 

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I work at a resort on the biggest lake in MN and am on the ice every day in the winter months. So I am no stranger to ice and how thick it needs to be and how it reacts to differnt situations and weather. First off the I wont go out on the wheeler till I get a good 6 inches and I don't decide how thick the ice is from other peoples reports. I walk out myself and chisel or drill 10 to 20 holes and measure the ice with a special ruler that we have. Then I will travel out on the lake when I think that it is safe for me.
But heres the thing with our lake and most others, just because this ice is 7 inches where I am doesn't mean it's that thick on other areas of the lake. Most lakes have springs and or rivers that feed them so certain areas will have less ice. Also it depends on how the ice was frozen. On big lake like ours it may freeze is phazes where the first mile or so will freeze up then the wind will blow and break some of it up. After the wind goes down another section will freeze and so on till the lake is frozen all the way across. So the last part to freeze will of course have less ice.
Now weather will affect the way ice reacts. Cold weather makes ice, we all know that. But when the weather is -10 or colder, the ice will shrink and form cracks. Even though this looks bad its not as bad as you think. The bad part is when it warms back up to the 20's and above. The ice will now expand and when that happens a pressure ridge is formed. Not all lakes will get these but ours will most certainly get at least one every year. I have actually seen these things form and push up before my eyes. It's amazing and a little freaky at the same time.

So heres the deal after I tell you all this **** you really don't care about!! What I would do is check with a resort that is closest to the area you want to fish. If the lake has no resorts, there must be an area bait shop, guide, or very knowlagable local fisherman that knows the lake. Call and find out from these people what the current conditions are. For me 7" of clear good ice, I would drive the ATV. The last week or so I have been out with my Prowler all over out lake and I started going out when we had 8-9 inches. We now have 14" or better in most areas and I am driving my 1/2 ton Chevy Silverado Ext Cab 4x4. But remember, NO ICE IS SAFE! Have a fun and safe ice fishing season. And by the way :site:
 

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Great writeup arcticcat21! You on LOTW or Mille Lacs or Vermillion? I fish Mille Lacs, but don't have our house out there yet (12x24' house and need a lot of ice to get it out there).

The lake I'm on is a smaller local lake (Lindstrom). No resorts and I'm not sure I trust all the fishermen out there. I believe they are good people, but don't know the knowledge level. Remember, those are the same guys that may drive a van out there with 6" of ice....or do this. http://www.startribune.com/local/south/79692692.html That speaks to your point about not trusting other people's word. :)

cweinzatl35, that sucks about your wheeler. The good thing here is that you didn't run it afterwords so in all reality, you shouldn't have any motor damage. Just make sure you drain all the gas from the tank, drain the carbs, drain the diff fluids, flush all the oil out of the engine (may want to do the diesel trick here just to displace the water), and change the filter, tip the quad on it's butt so as to drain the exhaust of water, pull the plugs and blow out the water out of the cylinder, etc... Being that it was just water and not mud, you should be OK.
 

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Hell we have been riding the St. Louis River already here on snowmobiles from Forbes to meadowlands look on a map it is like 42 miles one way there, ice is pretty good average 4-6 inches on river already, had my truck out on a small lake in Zim fishing too 10 inches out there
 

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I consider my self lucky, I ice fish year around. Fishing for individual cubes from the freezer for my drink or iced tea that is. I's always safe ice too. That is unless I add a little too much antifreeze in the form of alcohol and were to go driving or riding.

Ok enough trying to be funny. Myself if I were to go out on the ice I'd go out only after I see several others out on the ice in vehicles or what ever that weigh far more then what I'm on or in and not venture to un tracked areas.

There is one large lake (long and narrow) nearby that often gets 24-28" of ice on it and there are still spots on that lake that never have more then 6 inches of ice. One has to be very careful on ice like this and know it well. Every year there are reports of 1 or more vehicles falling through somewhere. I personally wouldn't take a truck out on this ice. ATV maybe, the thin spots tend to move around. It will develop a pressure ridge in the middle that will crack open and spray water out from one end to the other. It will develop a frozen ridge about 6-12 foot high. On this lake fishing is best at night. The sound of that pressure ridge cracking every so often is enough to make a person chit their pants in the middle of the night when it starts at one end an continues to the other end, sounds like a freight train or something very big and very nasty coming through the darkness. Spooky for sure. We'll park a camper on shore and either walk to sets or use an ATV to check them hourly. We don't have to be sitting on the ice, as long as you're within 500 yards of your tip-ups.
 

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Sanny Where You Fishing Out Of on Milaces Im Trying So Side This Year( Brants ) Hope To Take It Up
Next Wed And Stay Til Newyears beer-sign
Wyo. Sounds Like Bombs Going Off On Malacs I Know I Have Some Pic Some Where With A Truck Stuck In The Break
About 30 Yards From Our House Last Year See If I Can Find Them And Post
 

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Our resort is West Wind Resort on Upper Red Lake in Waskish. Right now we are dealing with the start of a pressure ridge, Fun Fun.
 
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