Minnesota's Historical Lake Ice-Out Dates

Check out the new version of the median ice out page with earliest and latest ice outs too.

The definition of lake ice-out varies from lake to lake, and individual to individual. For some, ice-out occurs only when the lake is completely free of ice. For others, ice-out is defined as the moment when navigation is possible from point A to point B. And yet for others, ice-out is when 90 percent of the lake is ice free. Due to the variable definitions of this rather subjective observation, the State Climatology Office attempts to contact the same individuals each year to maintain a consistent record. The table below summarizes historical lake ice-out averages and extremes for Minnesota lakes with 10 or more years of record.

In addition to differences in ice-out observation techniques, the variable period of record and variable length of record makes lake to lake comparisons of averages and extremes problematic. Differences in lake size, lake depth, and lake geometry also generate a large amount of variability among lakes in close proximity. In spite of these inherent problems, the tables below demonstrate a recognizable pattern in average lake ice-out across Minnesota, and also call attention to years of very early or very late lake ice-out.

Northwest

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Bronson Kittson

April 15

March 24, 2012

April 27, 1996

27
Detroit Becker

April 20

March 23, 1910

May 17, 1950

116
Red (Lower) Beltrami

April 27

April 1, 2012

May 17, 1996

23
Sallie Becker

April 18

March ?, 2012

May 7, 1979

33

North Central

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Bemidji Beltrami

April 26

April 2, 2012

May 22, 1950

76
Itasca Clearwater

April 23

March 26, 2012

May 18, 1950

71
Kabetogama St. Louis

April 28

April 1, 2012

May 18, 1996

29
Lk. of the Woods L.O.W.

April 29

April 8, 2000 and 2012

May 16, 1996

28
Leech Cass

April 27

April 2, 2012

May 23, 1950

77
Pokegama Itasca

April 24

March 27, 2012

May 10, 1996

34
Rainy Kooch.

May 3

April 6, 2012

May 22, 1950

82
Winnibigoshish Cass/Itas.

April 24

March 30, 2012

May 10, 1996

17

Northeast

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Fall Lake

April 27

March 27, 2012

May 19, 1950

62
Gunflint Cook

May 7

March 23, 2012

May 26, 1966

38
Island St. Louis

April 25

April 1, 2012

May 8, 1996

22
Lax Lake

April 28

April 5, 2000 (2012 missing)

May 13, 1996

35
Saganaga Cook

May 3

April 2, 2012

May 16, 1996

22
Shagawa St. Louis

April 27

March 27, 2012

May 16, 1996

48
Vermilion St. Louis

April 29

April 2, 2012

May 23, 1950

93

West Central

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Artichoke Big Stone

April 7

March 15, 2000

April 22, 2001

22
Big Stone Big Stone

April 9

March 18, 2012

April 26, 1951,'75

61
Minnewaska Pope

April 13

March 21, 2012

May 7, 1950

107
Osakis Todd

April 16

March 13, 1878

May 14, 1950

144
Otter Tail Otter Tail

April 15

March 24, 2012

May 4, 1996,98

25
Traverse Traverse

April 9

March 18, 2012

April 21, 2008

16
West Battle Ottertail

April 16

March 21, 2012

May 5, 1996

23

Central

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Green Kandiyohi

April 16

March 20, 2012

May 7, 1951

83
Gull Crow Wing

April 21

March 26, 2012

May 18, 1950

53
North Long Crow Wing

April 20

April 1, 2010 (2012 missing)

May 3, 1979

29

East Central

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Big Sandy Aitkin

April 20

March 26, 2012

May 4, 1996

59
Forest #3 Washington

April 7

March 18, 2012

April 23, 1996

42
Knife Kanabec

April 12

March 21, 2012

April 23, 1995

25
Prior (Lower) Scott

April 7

March 14, 1987

April 26, 1975

30
Medicine Hennepin

April 9

March 18, 2012

May 1, 1965

69
Mille Lacs Mille Lacs

April 24

March 26, 2012

May 15, 1950

56
Minnetonka Hennepin

April 13

March 11, 1878

May 5, 1857

136
Rush Chsago

April 11

March 19, 2012

April 24, 1996

19
Waconia Carver

April 12

March 15, 2000

May 1, 1941

63
White Bear Ramsey

April 12

March 19, 2012

May 4, 1950

85

Southwest

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Sarah Murray

March 30

March 6, 2000 (2012 missing)

April 16, 2001

13
Shetek Murray

April 5

March 8, 2000

April 24, 1962

46

South Central

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Budd Martin

March 29

March 6, 2000

April 15, 1993/08

30
Clear Waseca

April 2

March 7, 1931,'00

April 27, 1951

103
Sakatah Le Seuer

March 29

March 11, 2000

April 17, 2008

13
Shields Rice

April 4

March 7, 1931 (missing 2012)

April 27, 1951

105
Sisseton Martin

April 3

March 13, 1990 (Missing 2012)

April 26, 1951

50
Swan Nicollet

April 2

March 15, 2012

April 26, 1997

19
Tetonka LeSueur

April 4

March 14, 1987

April 26, 1975

37

Southeast

Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Pepin Goodhue/Wabasha

April 9

February 29, 2000

May 20, 1843

88

One of the longer term lake ice-out data sets available for the Midwest comes from Lake Monona and Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin. The record begins for Monona in 1851.