Some people may be eager to get out on the ice this season, but the OPP is asking people to check conditions before making the trip. They say the MNR is the best source for ice safety tips like staying close to shore where the ice is thickest and looking for clear blue ice, because it’s the strongest. According to the MNR, heavy snow on a frozen lake or river slows down the freezing process.

Here are some more tips from the MNR, which you can find on their website by clicking here.


  • Ice doesn’t freeze at uniform thickness
  • Near-shore ice is often much thicker and safer than ice farther out, especially at the start of the winter season
  • Check thickness regularly with a spud bar or auger as you move farther out
  • Ice that formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams can be weaker than surrounding ice


  • Clear blue ice is the strongest
  • White or opaque ice is much weaker
  • Stay away from ice that looks honeycombed, common during thaws or in the spring

Driving on ice

  • Be careful when driving snowmobiles or vehicles over frozen lakes or rivers
  • Snowmobiles need a least 20 centimetres (8 inches) or clear blue ice
  • Light vehicles need 30 centimetres (12 inches) or more
  • Double the thickness if the ice is white or opaque
  • Heavy snow on a frozen lake or river slows down the freezing process

Before you venture out

  • Check ice conditions with local ice hut operators or other anglers
  • Let others know when you’re planning to fish and when you plan to return
  • Wear appropriate clothing and equipment for safety and comfort