How Cold Does It Need to Be for Ice Fishing?

Ice fishing is a pastime enjoyed by many anglers around the world. It requires special techniques and equipment, including a drill and auger, bait, shelter, and specialized gear.

But the most important factor when it comes to ice fishing is the temperature. The colder the air temperature, the thicker the ice will be, which is essential for safe ice fishing.

Generally speaking, for recreational ice fishing you should wait until the lake has at least five inches of solid clear ice before heading out onto it. This means that you should wait until temperatures reach at least 16 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. If you want to be extra cautious, wait until temperatures reach 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

At these temperatures, water freezes more rapidly and forms more compacted ice. This makes it safer to walk on and also prevents large chunks of slush from forming on top of the ice from warm spells or rain.

Once you have determined that your local lake has reached a safe level of thickness for ice fishing, it is important to take some safety precautions before heading out onto the lake. Make sure to always wear a life-jacket or other flotation device when walking on the lake’s surface. Also check with local authorities about any additional safety regulations or warnings in place for your area.


In summary, when deciding whether or not to go ice fishing it is important to pay attention to air temperature. To be safe you should wait until air temperatures reach 16 degrees Fahrenheit or lower before venturing out onto a lake’s surface with your gear. Furthermore, make sure to take all appropriate safety measures before going out onto the frozen water.

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Lindsay Collins