Arctic air is growing ice on lakes and ponds over much of Iowa. Anglers are starting to get out for the popular early ice fishing season.

The DNR recommends a minimum of 4 inches of clear ice for fishing and at least five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. 

Early ice offers an excellent chance for success. If fish are finicky, cut a series of holes and spend 15 minutes at each hole. Use small baits and light line.

Ice safety tips

No ice is 100 percent safe. New ice is usually stronger than old ice. 

Don’t go out alone. If the worst should happen, someone will be there to call for help or to help rescue. Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.

Check ice thickness as you go out; there could be pockets of thin ice or places where ice recently formed. Avoid off-colored snow or ice. It is usually a sign of weakness.

Bring along these basic items to help keep you safe: hand warmers, ice cleats to help prevent falls, ice picks (wear around your neck) to help you crawl out of the water if you fall in, a life jacket, a floating safety rope, a whistle to call for help, a basic first aid kit and extra dry clothes including a pair of gloves.