Stay safe out on the ice

For anglers like Chad Maristuen, there's nothing more Minnesotan than throwing down a line on Thanksgiving to catch a fish.

"Some crappie, or really anything. We got a gentleman from California over here so this is all new to him and just trying to expose him to some Minnesota activities," he said.

He and his friends ventured out on Detroit Lake to find that sweet spot, but not before taking necessary precautions.

"Check as you go that's definitely number one and check the quality of the ice make sure it's not bubbles or white," said Maristuen.

Minnesota DNR said a minimum of 4 inches is how thick the ice needs to be to be safe enough to walk on and fish.


Snowmobiles can be used when it's 5 to 7 inches thick, and more than 8 inches for cars and trucks.

Your safety is your responsibility. The DNR says they don't measure ice thickness on Minnesota lakes, so make sure to check the ice at least every 150 feet.

Maristuen said the ice is hardly the same thickness across an entire lake.

"You can't get deceived once you see 8 inches and then you know another 50 yards you could see 2 inches so you definitely gotta be careful of what's going on out there," he said.

At their spot, he said the ice is about 8 inches thick, but it's not enough to put a fish house on. He thinks it'll be about a week before that can happen, but whatever you do, check the ice for yourself before you do anything.

"Anytime you go out ice fishing you can never really rely on it being safe, just cause you see someone with a big ice castle in their truck doesn't mean that, oh, I can go out there," he said.

Ice is not 100% safe, but checking it beforehand will make sure that you are.

The DNR also says if you see white or "snow" ice on the lake, you should double the thickness guidelines because it's only half as strong.

What To Read Next
Get Local