Ice-Out Warning

Know what the different colors of ice mean on the lake!

Although a useful indicator, color alone should not be relied upon.  For instance, ice of any color subjected to running water force underneath, will be weaker than ice not subject to that pressure.  In general, you can surmise the following from ice colors:

  • Light Gray to Dark Black – Melting ice, occurs even if air temperature is below 32°F (0°C).  This is not safe ice, its weak density can’t hold a load…STAY OFF!!
  • White to Opaque – Water-saturated snow freezes on top of ice forming another thin ice layer.  Most times it is weak due to being porous from air pockets.
  • Blue to Clear – High density, very strong and is the safest ice to be on if thick enough.  Stay off if ice is less than 4 inches (10 cm) thick.
  • Mottled, Slushy or “Rotten” Ice – This ice is not so much about color but its texture.  This ice is thawing and slushy.  It can be deceptive…it may seem thick at the top but it is rotting away at the center and base.  Most prevalent in the spring time, may be showing signs of browns from plant tannins, dirt and ther natural materials that are resurfacing from thawing.  NOT SAFE…STAY OFF!!!

Take a look the chart below for the ice out data on Serpent Lake!!