Ice-out is progressing rapidly north across Minnesota this spring with many lakes losing their ice two to three weeks earlier than the long-term averages.
That’s good news for anglers eager to get out for some panfish action. And it means that all Minnesota lakes should be easily ice-free well before the May 15 walleye fishing opener.
The reason is simple: lots of sunshine, wind and warmth, with March 7.3 degrees warmer than usual in Duluth, for example, and April so far nearly 10 degrees warmer than average, according to data from the National Weather Service.
Near the Twin Cities, Lake Minnetonka lost its ice March 30, a full two weeks earlier than the April 13 median date over 166 years of records kept by the Minnesota Climatology Office.
Way up north, giant Upper Red Lake lost its ice April 3, more than three weeks ahead of the April 29 median date.
Moosehead Lake in Carlton County lost its ice April 2, more than two weeks ahead of the April 18 median date.
Dinham Lake near Cotton lost its ice April 5, 11 days ahead of its April 16 median date.
Splithand Lake near Grand Rapids lost its ice March 30, a full three weeks before the April 20 median date.
North Long Lake near Brainerd lost its ice April 2, 16 days ahead of the April 18 median ice-out date.
On average, Greenwood Lake in Cook County is the last lake in Minnesota to lose its ice each spring, with a median ice-out date of May 8.
Ice-out dates and historic records from the Minnesota Climatology Office are available at dnr.state.mn.us/ice_out/index.html.