When it comes to ice fishing, one of the first things you need to look into is the safety of ice itself. Ice isn’t completely safe and you will need to measure its thickness to gauge its safety. You can do this through quality measuring tools for accuracy.
But how strong is ice per inch?
Read on to learn about what ice thickness means per inch and when it’s safe to fish in the area.
How Strong is Ice Per Inch?
As mentioned you can measure ice using the right measuring tools, such as an ice gauger or axe. You can also use an ice chisel, cordless drill, or tape measure!
After you drill a hole through the ice, you have a more accurate measurements of its thickness.
To give you an idea, check out the table below for the safe loads for clear solid ice:
|Thickness of Ice (in inches)||Load or activity|
|Less than 2 inches||Do NOT walk on|
|2 inches||One person on foot or skates|
|4 inches||Groups of people that walk in a single line (can withstand 200 pounds)|
|7 inches||Can take a small car|
|8 inches||Can take a 2.5 ton truck or a large group of people (anything over 8 inches)|
|9 inches||Can take a 3.5 ton truck|
|10 inches||Can take a 7-8 ton truck|
In general, ice isn’t considered safe to walk on when it’s less than 4 inches thick. Even if 2 inches is fine for one person to walk on, there is still a high risk of accidents. Furthermore, it is best to go with at least one buddy with you when ice fishing, which is why 4 inches is the safest bet.
Do take note that this measurement is only for clear solid ice and is not a measurement for other types of ice, such as white, cloudy ice. If ever you see old, milky ice, snow covers, or obstructions and currents running under the ice, avoid walking on it.
Clear ice is best to fish on, as this is most likely new and strong ice. Avoid white or opaque ice, as this has air pockets in it and will most likely be weaker. The same goes for light gray or dark black ice.
Wrapping It Up
Ice fishing is a dangerous activity if you don’t know how to properly navigate the ice. It all starts with observation, then measuring the ice thickness to ensure that it can withstand you and your buddies’ weights. If ever you feel suspicious about the ice in certain areas, move to another location rather than risk it!
Hopefully, you learned a lot about ice safety and how to properly gauge whether you can fish in particular spots or not. Continue to educate yourself about how to stay safe while ice fishing and make sure you always bring a buddy.