Adventure, Yes, but Safety Important on First Ice

Good News! There’s adventure in the north, but Safety is the most important on First Ice.  There is a skim of ice on the bays shooting off Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. It’s an amazing thing! That’s why it’s so important to practice Safety on First Ice.  The current slows down this time of the year and overnight, as temperatures drop, ice forms on the bays. We are making ice daily!!!  I actually had a call last week from an excited ice fisherman wondering if he could continue to call the number at the office of Lake of the Woods Tourism – 800-382-FISH– each day to find if it was safe to go out on the ice with his 4-Wheeler.  The answer is yes, keep calling. Anglers are excited for every season they can come to this World Class Fishery!!

Now let’s talk about Safety on First Ice.  Yes, the emphasis is on SAFETY!!  Only Mother Nature has the final say about the weather and we must pay close attention to how she’s moving. With 50+ resorts on Lake of the Woods, there is no end of opportunity to enjoy the season of winter ice. Over 5,000 fish houses can be found mid-winter on Lake of the Woods as ice depths can reach 3.5 feet.  However, it takes time for ice to form and resort owners/ guides are experts at watching the lake and notifying the public about ice safety.  Keep watching for aerial photos of Lake of the Woods and where and when ice is formed.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued guidelines for safety on first ice. Temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Our guides walk out onto the ice as soon as possible and start measuring the depth of the ice using drills and tape measures. We want to remind everyone that SAFETY is the most important factor for anglers and guides alike. Very soon after ice starts to form, ice roads start to be prepared and the season is on. Find all your ice fishing accommodations available at Experience a great adventure whether it’s in a day house or a sleeper house with the professionalism of trained personnel on Lake of the Woods.

For new, clear ice only

4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5″ – 7″ – Snowmobile or ATV
8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

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