The every going excitement of tracking out onto the lake in the midst of an early winter day here in West Central Minnesota can make for some fond memories or some tragic stories. If living on the lake my entire life has taught me anything it is that ice is never 100% certain and never 100% consistent. Every varying weather condition can change the output of ice. I am a huge fan of statics and ran across this article from the MN DNR stating recorded fatalities on the ice, scary. However there are a few preventative measures and precautionary practices an individual can do to help better there odds of successfully navigating ice conditions.
Luckily for us the great state of Minnesota has worked vigorously over the years to develop a guideline of advice in determining ice conditions. As seen in the attached photo is what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends pertain to “relatively safe” ice conditions. There are a few common tools used to determine ice conditions; ice chisel, ice auger, cordless drill, & tape measure. They are each utilized in a different way, I myself would not be comfortable walking about on the ice when all it takes is a hard stick (ice chisel) to push through and puncture a hole.
Minnesota is a state of every changing weather conditions which can severely help or hinder the current ice conditions. The most common dramatic example of this is when ice fisherman are fishing on early or late ice and conditions change via a warm front or changing breeze can cause parts of ice to break off from the mass and float off onto their own. However, in the end when you land a trophy it can make all the risk worth it.