1. ## How much ice do I need for my quad?

This is my first full winter here and I'm new to ice fishing.
My question is how much ice before I can ride a quad out there?
I went to the south launch today and drilled a quick hole near shore. I had 8" there, but I don't know a lot about the lake. Are there a lot of springs that are going to affect ice thickness?

2. Every lake is different. 8" is probably more than enough but you must be sure there is 8" across the entire lake or whatever areas you are driving on.
Early and late ice are the most dangerous.
Springs,inlets and outlets. current flow etc. etc. can effect the ice thickness and one spot can be several feet thick and yet there can be an open spring hole right next to it.
On lakes I know well I will snowmachine on 8" of consistent ice if I know the lake well enough to avoid any known hazzards.

3. As Chris says, 8" is the minimum I would be riding on.
If you don't know the lake well, wait!!!
I usually wait until there is 12" of ice on my lakes as I really don't want to die.
There are still many places you need to be wary of as said inlets and outlets are pretty obvious but narrows are another current area where ice will be thinner. Springs are very dangerous as they don't usually reveal themselves unless it is very early in the freeze up and show as holes in otherwise frozen lakes. Swamps and marshy areas also have less ice early in the year that cleaner more open areas.

Generally I will wait until I see plenty of other tracks on the lake before heading out on my sled.
I will walk out on 3" of ice though while testing every second step with my spud.

4. There is an easy formula for how much weight ice will support. Take the thickness of the ice, divide by 4, and square the result. This gives you the maximum load in tons. Multiply by 2000 to get lbs. This only works on clean clear ice with a static (moving) load. If you plan to park for any length of time or have your buddies park next to you, give yourself a little fudge factor. If the ice has cloudy ice on the top layer, wait for an extra half inch or so. I will walk comfortably on 2" of ice, but I won't invite my friends to stand right next to me. My small 4 wheeler will drive on 4 inches of ice but I won't be drilling any holes next to it. I usually wait for 10" to drive my 1/2 ton truck. Also, before I commit an expensive vehicle to the ice, I check every 100' along where I will be driving. It is easy to do with a chainsaw with inches marked on the bar. And if you are walking along on thin ice and you start getting the feeling like it might break under you, lie down to spread out your weight and army crawl your way back to thicker ice. Check this site out for the sciency stuff:
http://www.mvp-wc.usace.army.mil/ice/safety.html

5. Originally Posted by Arcticmayhem
There is an easy formula for how much weight ice will support. Take the thickness of the ice, divide by 4, and square the result. This gives you the maximum load in tons. Multiply by 2000 to get lbs. This only works on clean clear ice with a static (moving) load. If you plan to park for any length of time or have your buddies park next to you, give yourself a little fudge factor. If the ice has cloudy ice on the top layer, wait for an extra half inch or so. I will walk comfortably on 2" of ice, but I won't invite my friends to stand right next to me. My small 4 wheeler will drive on 4 inches of ice but I won't be drilling any holes next to it. I usually wait for 10" to drive my 1/2 ton truck. Also, before I commit an expensive vehicle to the ice, I check every 100' along where I will be driving. It is easy to do with a chainsaw with inches marked on the bar. And if you are walking along on thin ice and you start getting the feeling like it might break under you, lie down to spread out your weight and army crawl your way back to thicker ice. Check this site out for the sciency stuff:
http://www.mvp-wc.usace.army.mil/ice/safety.html

Good stuff

6. Use the buddy system. Send your buddy who is the same weight or heavier and rides a quad the same size or smaller (so it would have a smaller footprint, thus higher psi) first. If he doesn't break through, you should be good. If you are a good buddy, you could even tie a rope to him to pull him out. After all, you wouldn't want to have to look for a new buddy the next time you need to check the ice....

7. I've seen guys drive around on 5" several times... I won't go out without at least 8" of good ice.

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