Ice Thickness Safety Chart

Ice Fishing
Tom Wilkin

Stay safe during the winter months by using our chart to help determine what is safe ice thickness

Remember, always be cautious. If you are unsure if the ice is safe, don’t take your chances. 

Deep down within the frozen brook I hear a murmur faint and sweet,
And lo! The ice breaks as I look, and living waters touch my feet.

–Jane Goodwin Austin


Safe Ice Thickness Chart


It may also be a good idea to check with a local expert about ice safety. Bait shops or lakeside businesses may know about the ice conditions. Always be safe and don’t put yourself at risk.

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Ice Fishing Derby - 20th Feb 2016

Good Morning: The City of Elliot Lake is hosting it's 10th Annual Ice Fishing Derby and in past years we have had up to 725 people fishing on Horne Lake. My concern this year is that we have not had enough cold weather for the ice to freeze (good ice) to host this derby. Can you please give me some insight into how thick the ice should be for 700 people to be in attendance with over 800 holes pre drilled. Thank you for your input.

Ice Thickness

Hi, Darla: Thank you for such detail and concern. This is a great question, for which we  have no answer. Insight, though—perhaps we can lend. The answer to any question about fishing derby ice thickness depends on many things: shady spots, shallow spots, currents and/or springs, concentration of holes, etc. Feel free to take under advisement the table above—regarding ice thickness. We can tell you that here in New Hampshire, we have postponed more than one derby in the name of extreme caution, which you quite correctly sense is important. OK, so that’s our nonanswer. Here’s the insight: Go to the local tackle shop and/or find the oldest/most experienced ice fisher you can—and then combine their advice with this chart. Thanks again, and be safe! Oh: And good luck to your anglers, whenever they fish!