Did you know that all winter long, Minnesota gains miles of road that can only be driven during the winter months? It may sound odd and most are probably wondering how a state can have seasonal roads, but when Lake Mille Lacs freezes over, ice roads become a main form of transit for anglers. So, how do they make safe and easily traversable ice roads on a frozen lake?
The Making and Maintaining of Ice Roads
A lot of people may think that creating an ice road is simply running a plow over the ice or something akin to a Zamboni priming an ice rink. In a perfect world it could be that easy, but unfortunately, when you have a body of water as large as Lake Mille Lacs, it gets a little more difficult. The bays have less waves and tend to freeze a little more evenly, but as you head out further, the ice buckles from the waters moving with more force and creates uneven terrain.
You will often see trucks with people using various ice tools to even out areas of the ice, chip away at heaves, and work really hard to prep the ice for plowing. As snow accumulates and melts and refreezes throughout the season, most of the same people that created the ice roads have to keep up regular maintenance to make sure anglers can continue getting to and from their ice houses safely. Much like how you see plows out on the blacktop roads at home, the Lake Mille Lacs ice roads are regularly serviced for everyone to enjoy.
Are Ice Roads Safe?
Ice can be a bit intimidating for some people. There’s always a handful of horror stories going around of vehicles going through the ice, but more often than not those instances happen because of ignoring safe ice procedures. Ice roads are safe for travel as long as you keep up with the ice road updates, pay attention to any safety notices, and drive slow – 10 mph or less – on the lake. Local ice fishing resorts like The Red Door Resort keep up with regularly posted reports of ice conditions and check ice thicknesses to make sure that everyone can enjoy the lake safely. If you are still unsure if the lake is safe, ask the anglers that work with our resort for any updates and they will be happy to help you!
Lake Mille Lacs Ice Road Map
Unlike the roads we drive on every day, there aren’t permanent road signs and google maps won’t be of much assistance. That’s why Lake Mille Lacs has a full ice road map. These maps help you find your way through the ice roads so that you can get where you need to go and travel the lake with ease.
The Red Door Resort is one of the ice fishing resorts that always makes sure to have ice road maps for all guests as well as regularly updated fishing reports with ice conditions and updates on what anglers are experiencing. Get tips on what the fish are biting, fish patterns, weather patterns, and more. When you stay with The Red Door Resort, you will be able to experience all the best aspects of winter in Minnesota and ice fishing on Lake Mille Lacs.