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Plowing on ice. Lake ice...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Moosehunter, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Member
    Messages: 75

    Howdy all...

    I've been asked to do something I've never done before. Plow on a frozen lake. I'm a staff member of FishingMinnesota and they hold ice fishing events throughout the winter. Well, with the snow we're getting right now :)redbounce 3+ down and more coming!!) they need a spot cleared out on the ice to set up their tents.

    Have any of you done this before? Aside from the safety issues (ice thickness) How should I do this? Shoes? No shoes? What??!!! I have no clue. :dizzy:

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    I've only plowed an ice rink, not a lake. I did it with no plow shoes and a light touch on the pedal. Are other vehicles out on the ice now? If the ice is smooth and you are sure it's thick enough, it shouldn't be much different. Surely you'll get another reply soon from someone experienced on lakes. I probably wouldn't go out there with a loaded spreader on the truck though. But then again I don't have the experience on a lake.
  3. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Member
    Messages: 75

    I'll be in a 2002 F250 supercab Diesel with an 8' Western ProPoly. As seen in my avatar. No spreader. And probaby no ballast to keep my weight as "light" as possible. Just me, my truck and the plow. I'm almost certain the ice surface is going to be very rough due to bad freeze up conditions at the start of the ice fishing season. The lake froze over, then a high wind broke it all up. Than a re-freeze. Full size trucks and vans are all over the lakes now. I'm not hip about driving on the ice in the first place and when fishing always take a four wheeler or my sled.

    By the way... What's the best way to punch your first path with a straight blade? :confused:
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2005
  4. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    I have done it, once in NH so my cousins could skate. Now, I know you don;t want to hear safety stuff but you better make damn sure its thick enough. I will never do it again, I think its stupid. I go up to NH alot in the winter and you always get the idiots that have to go wheelin' on the ice, of course about 5 a year go through and insurence does not cover it and you pay out of pocket a fine, a wrecker and all environmental damage. Plowing it, i spent about 5 MIN and wanted to get the hell off because i was getting nervous. I did it in 4 LO with no shoes and a steel cutting edge. Running studded snow tires that were fairly new and provided good traction. Traction is not good when trying to push any amount of snow on ice especially 3', you fishtail around alot and break traction even giving it a small amount of gas, angle the plow any and the truck will pull to the left or right more so then on pavement. I say use 4 LO , drop the plow and let off the breaks and give it only as much gas as you need to keep pushing snow.
  5. dwmaster

    dwmaster Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Devils Lake plower

    I plow 30+ miles of trail on Devils Lake with a 2 ton AWD GMC truck and a loaded dodge deisel with fuel tanks in the back. You just want to drill the area to asure your self you have at least 16" of ice. Dont make to large of a pile, spread the snow in windrows along the edge. As long as you have good clear ice its almost impossible to fall through. You would have to have two sets of parallel non jagged cracks and even then you would have to push the ice straight down without it getting wedged. You can leave the shoes off however there is a traction advantage to leaveing a 1/2 of snow stuck to the ice.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2005
  6. DJC

    DJC Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    I have done it some. Make sure you have the shoes off and start forward before dropping the plow.
  7. caz41

    caz41 Member
    Messages: 86

    I just plowed a road to my fishhouse this afternoon. If there's 14-16 inches of ice you have nothing to worry about. If the lake never have large pressure cracks then you will never fall through with that much ice. I have been doing it for years. There is a guy that fishes on the same lake as I do who is out plowing roads to his fishhouse with only 8-10 inches of ice. That's a little thin for me, but he does it every year and has never had any problems. If there are lots of full size trucks already on the ice than don't worry about going through, you don't have that much added weight with the plow to make a difference on the ice. If there is a lot of snow or deep drifts then get some speed before you drop the blade.
  8. bolensdriver

    bolensdriver Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    No way brothi! Don't do it! ACCIDENT IS LIKELY! :eek: :(
  9. hyperpack

    hyperpack Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Submarine Plowing Snow

    I have plowed to a couple ice shacks with my pickup for several years now with no plow shoes,It is just like plowing a road no traction problems with a good set of tires.
    Just keep making short pushes to the side to get a path opened up.
    I have also plowed with my wheel loader to open up near the shoreline so I could place large granite boulders on the beach for a retaining wall. A 20,000 pound machine moving about 8 to 10 foot drifts,just kept chipping away and pushing it to the side,it is surprising how much traction even with water on the ice.
  10. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    Do it the safe way , sub it out .
  11. dmjr77

    dmjr77 Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    Honestly, I would not do it. If your truck falls thorough the ice and you make an insurance claim, I think your insurance company wont pay the claim. I know here in NH that is the way it works.
  12. caz41

    caz41 Member
    Messages: 86

    Moose, listen to the guys that have experience. I have lived in Minnesota my whole life, and know that when there is a foot and half of good ice on the lakes you will not fall through. Those guys who are out there fishing are out there every day. If you see two trucks that are parked at a fishhouse right next to each other, they obviously weigh more combined then your truck does alone. Everybody gets so scared about driving on ice that the lake is going to just open up and they will be gone, look at dwmasters post and then use some logic.
  13. Metro Lawn

    Metro Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,306

    My exact thought. We also run a towing service and have pulled many vehicles out the have fallen through. Insurance does not cover anything when driving on a frozen body of water. I would suggest Using and atv or a lighter tractor.
  14. Chainlink

    Chainlink Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 70

    Ive done several times over the years(was a passenger for most of them) and had no troubles. I now have my own truck , albeit a mini. I would be plowing today but it has been so cold with high winds there is no need. I drive out park next to my brother (10 or so feet away). We park where ever the wind is coming from, just a wind break to help the shanty. Ive done it with and with out shoes, and if you clear it to bare ice it will freeze thicker as there is no snow to insulate it. I read once 4" of ice can handle 3 tons of weight but I could not find it on the net to post here so take it for what its worth. I dont drive on it unless there is a foot or better. Also up here guys not only have shanty's but rv style campers.
  15. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    any of you guys ever see the show on history channel or learaning channel calle ice road truckers? :salute:
  16. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Yes, that was an interesting show! At least around New England, I would still feel uncomfortable driving on the ice now. Temps have been up/down/up/down until recently when its been consistantly cold. I can't imagine that the ice is that good. Then iam the kind to worry about springs flowing in createing weaknesses, ice may be thick but it weak spots can develope. You will never find me driving on the ice on a regular basis, not unless its been very cold for a long time. The one time i did plow ice, i stayed within 150 Feet of the shore. Just me though, I like my truck, I need my truck I don't need it at the bottom of a lake.
  17. Turfman76

    Turfman76 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Check with the local....

    Have the local fire dept come out to the lake and test it....friend of mine plowed a lake before and they tested it for him....
  18. ak_fleming

    ak_fleming Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    I've never plowed a lake before but I've driven on plenty, with four to eight feet of ice there isn't much chance of falling through.
  19. sodking

    sodking Member
    Messages: 45

    Its a nice truck, are you insured if you do fall through?
  20. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Iam sure the insurence company would laugh at you if you tried to claim that, its called stupidity if you do happen to go through. I am sure its fine to do in some locations MN for instance. I have seen enough trucks through the ice to not want to make a habit out of it.