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How does snow effect the ice?

I've noticed 4" to 5" of clear ice on most of the ponds that I've been ice fishing. Usual ice growth is 1/4" to 1/2" per 24 hours of below freezing temperatures. This only applies to a static body of water...with no flows under the ice. Otherwise, ice thicknesses could vary.
It's been below freezing for over a week and is going to stay below freezing for another 2 weeks.

Recently recieving 4" of snow on top of the ice and assuming a static body of water (no flows under the ice). How will that effect the ice?

* Will the snow melt the ice, acting as insulation?
* Will the ice maintain its' current thickness and not get any thicker, due to the snow?

Thank you, Bowhunter57


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
I'm certainly no ice fishing veteran, but from what I've read the snow acts like an insulator and slows ice formation. I doubt it's gonna melt anytime soon, but the deep snow on top will probably keep the thickness right where it's at. I do know that I've been fishing every day since Friday and the ice does not seem to be much thicker than it was then. Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in here.


Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
NW Ohio Tundra
I think you are correct JBrown....the snow acts as insulation and slows down the formation of additional ice, but the thickness that is currently there should remain the same.


The Crew
Swanton, Ohio
Thickness should not degrade with snow unless it is a heavy wet snow. A heavy snow will sometimes "sag" the ice allowing water to flow up onto the ice. It can get sketchy is spots under those conditions especially around the edges.

The snow will slow ice formation but this light fluffy stuff should not slow it too much. With the lows forecasted for the next week the ice should continue to grow.
from what people have told me , swantucky is spot on , in fact two guys that i know who have been ice fishing for over 20 years , will actually go out and clear paths to wear they fish and then huge areas of snow so that the snow wont insulate those areas
Thanks for the replies, gentlemen! :smiley_bril: It's going to be very cold for many days to come, so I think I'm in good shape, as far as the ice thickness goes.

I'll still be checking the ice as I go, because there's no such thing as "safe ice".

Good hunting, Bowhunter57