Checking Ice With Spud Bar

  • Steven Krapfl
    Participant
    Springville, Iowa
    Posts: 1498
    #2252352

    So I was out on a backwater last night with a buddy. I know the ice is getting sketchy, so I had a head lamp, float suit, ice picks, and had my spud bar and a rope in case. When I whacked the spud bar on the ice, it took 8 good thumps before I got through, however, as I was walking and checking, I got to a spot that only took 5 thumps and started wondering how much ice we had. I guess I was wondering what do you all judge as good ice going by spud bar whacks? Four, five? Just curious and I know all ice is different and what not. Thanks!

    grubson
    Participant
    Harris, Somewhere in VNP
    Posts: 1172
    #2252354

    With my chisel, which I keep sharp I know that if I don’t see water in 1 good hit I can safely walk on it. 5 good hits to me sounds like 6+” of ice.

    Youbetcha
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 2209
    #2252356

    For me its one and not much cracking around it I feel pretty comfortable.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 6762
    #2252358

    Spud bars are “so 2021”

    Go to the shoreline and throw out some random sized rocks instead.

    John Rasmussen
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 4959
    #2252365

    Go to the shoreline and throw out some random sized rocks instead.

    rotflol

    I’m more with a one and done with the bar, if it sounds and feels ok I keep walking. However as it gets more sketchy maybe two.

    Steven Krapfl
    Participant
    Springville, Iowa
    Posts: 1498
    #2252367

    Sounds good! It’s gonna be in the upper 50s the rest of the week, so I’m sure the ice will go soon, but I just wanted to know. Grandpa always said 3 whacks on good ice and he could get a horse, sled, and load of wood across the ice, so I wasn’t overly worried, but I didn’t have a load of wood, a sled, or a horse.

    10klakes
    Participant
    Posts: 268
    #2252375

    I’d say its situational and “one hit fits all” doesn’t always work lol. lot of variables.

    But Two good hits in the same spot and no water showing I have at least 4″ based on testing. Weakening late ice and honeycomb are harder to test.

    bigcrappie
    Participant
    Blaine
    Posts: 3796
    #2252380

    2 good hits with no water for me to keep walking.

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 17877
    #2252392

    With my chisel, which I keep sharp I know that if I don’t see water in 1 good hit I can safely walk on it. 5 good hits to me sounds like 6+” of ice.

    Same here. My chisel head is about 1.5 inches wide and SHARP. The way I use it I dont worry unless it draws water on one swing.

    Charles
    Participant
    Posts: 1770
    #2252397

    4 hits should be around 4-6″.

    buckybadger
    Participant
    Upper Midwest
    Posts: 6762
    #2252400

    There’s no absolute whatsoever. I’ve seen spud bars go through 3+” of late ice with one moderate swing on the river chasing perch. The biggest misconception is that “ice” is all equal in it’s makeup and strength at a given thickness. I’ve walked on 2″ of ice that I trusted over 4 or 5″.

    With my spud bar if the ice isn’t honeycombed and the recent conditions have been decent…

    2 hard swings and no sign of water trickling up a crack and a consistent thud sound = proceed or maybe punch a hole to see if I have vastly underestimate the ice thickness.

    2 hard swings and a questionable sound or any sign of water and I’m going back the way I came and thinking of a different direction to get where I’m going

    1 hard swing and there’s any sign of water and I realize my boxers will never be the same as I GTFO calmly.

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