Ask a Sheriff: When is the ice safe to walk on?

A: There really is no sure answer. You cannot judge the strength of ice by its appearance. There are many variables that determine ice strength, including such things as age, thickness, temperature, the depth of the water underneath the ice and snowcover. A general ice thickness guideline is:
•2 inches or less: STAY OFF the ice
•4 inches: ice fishing or other activities on foot
•5 inches: snowmobile or ATV
•8-12 inches: car or small  truck
•12 to 15 inches: medium-sized truck
Remember, these are just guidelines. Check with area bait shops or resorts on the lake to determine the quality of the ice. Also, check the ice yourself once you arrive using an ice chisel, auger, etc. to determine ice thickness.–Sheriff Joel Brott