The ice season in Grand Rapids Minnesota is rapidly approaching. We would like to welcome you to the Grand Rapids area to ice fish, snowmobile and other winter recreation. Grand Rapids Minnesota has over 1,000 lakes and over 1,000 miles of snowmobile trails to explore in the winter.
Currently the DNR is reminding that the ice is not safe. The Department of Natural Resources said the thin layers of ice that are forming on Minnesota waters right now are not safe. The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should: carry a set of ice picks, check with a local bait shop or resort to ask about ice conditions and measure the ice. It takes several nights of cold nights temperatures in the teens or below to form the first inches of ice. The smaller ponds and smaller area lakes will freeze first, but remember to following the following DNR recommendation for ice thickness guidelines for entering onto a frozen body of water.
DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:
- 4 inches for walking.
- 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV.
- 8-12 inches for a car.
- 12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck.
For more information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/
Testing the ice as you go is suggested because the shoreline may appear to have a decent amount of ice build up but a couple of feet out is only a couple of inches deep. Many ice scoops come with a built in measurement system on the handle that can help you accurately measure the depth of ice on the body of water. Continue to do this early and late season. Each year people die for going on ice that isn’t safe.
Some other suggestions to keep safe in early and late season is to be prepared by telling someone your plans and your location. This will help in an emergency if you don’t back home that they will come looking for you. Also, be ware of which lake you are on and where you left your vehicle so if you have to call for 911 you can accurately give your location.
Rivers are never safe. Be mindful that several Grand Rapids Minnesota riverways freeze, but with the current they are not trustworthy. Testing the ice at each foot is suggested. Non-motorized travel is suggested on any body of water that has a consistent current. On large riverways bays are a location where people gather. Be aware of the weight loads of those around you as well in these areas. Bays may freeze, but knowing where the flowage system starts and stops can be misinterpreted. Seek caution when traveling riverways.
Some additional safety tips are suggested by area fishing guides: waterproof matches, compass, bandages and other first aid supplies, flashlight, bright colored clothing (hat, vest, etc), and ice pick. Some area anglers even wear life jackets early and late season just to be on the safe side. Water temperatures can range between high 30’s and 20’s early season. Hyperthermia sets in quick in these water temperatures. Traveling alone is not suggested. If you choose to travel alone, it is suggested to place emergency contact information in your vehicle. Also, a good idea to put the time that you headed out onto the ice and what time you are expected to be back. On the larger bodies of water and those close to town or in a higher traffic area most likely are being patrolled by local law enforcement.
Fishing Updates on a regular basis once ice fishing season is open: https://www.visitgrandrapids.com/recreation/lakes-fishing/