Area Lakes Freezing Over; DNR Encourages Safety

Northwest Iowa — If you’re planning some outdoor fun on the ice between Christmas and New Years, DNR officers are urging caution, since we haven’t had that much cold weather yet.

Lakes and ponds across the northern two-thirds of the state are starting to freeze. And of course that means anglers are getting ready to start the ice fishing season.

The DNR recommends a minimum of four inches of clear ice for fishing, and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. The DNR says to be on the lookout for blankets of snow over parts of lakes, which indicates possible hazards or weak spots. DNR Fisheries Chief Joe Larscheid says ice conditions frequently change, and thickness can vary across a lake.

Safety tips include checking ice thickness as you go out and avoiding off-colored snow or ice. They say don’t go out on the ice alone, and remember to bring along basic items to help keep you safe, such as hand warmers, ice cleats, ice picks, a life jacket, a floating safety rope, a basic first aid kit, extra dry clothes, and a pair of gloves.