In many areas the ice runs up to 14" in depth, and it's good ice. Cuts good with the power auger. The bad news is that the conditions are not the same all over. Part of the trouble is the snow, especially on the bays of West Okoboji, all of Big Spirit and the smaller lakes. They froze and then close to a foot of snow fell. The weight caused lots of pressure and water came up the seams, which caused slush pockets. Even now on Big Spirit Lake, if you drill holes in the ice, water will overflow the ice and cause lots of slush.
I know of some guys that went out between Jackson Point and Stony Point on Big Spirit, drilled some holes and found only about 5 inches of ice!
Another fisherman that I know used his four-wheeler to pull his ice shack out to the bar between Eagle Point and Pocahantas Point on West Okoboji. He went through a deeper snow area and had water come up several inches on his tires! Nothing happened, but if a vehicle went through that, would it make it?
Another guy found a slush pocket, walked up to it and drilled a hole - only 3 inches of ice!
At the same time, water is still going over the spillway on Big Spirit and excess water is eventually going out the overflow at the end of Lower Gar. That is causing a tremendous current around all of the bridge areas in the Okoboji chain. Even during the really sub zero weather, these current areas never really froze over completely. That has certainly caused problems for snowmobilers and some have even gone down.
So, ice conditions are safe and not safe. We just need to make sure that we use common sense and don't take unnecessary risks.
So, enjoy the Winter Games, but use plenty of common sense and be safe!