Ice-out on Lake Minnetonka

Ice-out on Lake Minnetonka, April 19, 2024
Left to right: Freshwater emeritus board member Tom Skramstad, board member Wade Campbell, and Sgt. Rick Waldon from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol observed ice-out on Lake Minnetonka the morning of Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

Ice-out declared on Lake Minnetonka April 19, 2023

Freshwater and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol declared ice-out on Lake Minnetonka the morning of April 19, 2023, a spring tradition for the Twin Cities’ largest lake.

Ice-out is observed when a boat is able to safely navigate from any shore to any other shore, through any channel, and around any island without being stopped by hard ice. Accompanying the water patrol each year are board members or volunteers from Freshwater, whose founder Dick Gray developed a system for observing ice-out on the lake back in the 1960’s.

This year’s ice-out on Lake Minnetonka is a bit later than the median date of April 13, but well short of the latest recorded ice-out on May 5 (see the calendar below).

Ice-out records on Lake Minnetonka date back to 1855 and are a valuable method for revealing long-term trends. There is no one way to determine ice-out on lakes; methods vary from lake to lake, so consistency from year to year is what researchers and agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources prefer to see. Ice-out records for lakes across the state are listed on the DNR website.

Historically, Lake Minnetonka ice-out has been determined by a number of methods — such as when a car placed on the ice fell through or when a boat could travel from Excelsior to Wayzata. Read a 2003 column by Dick Gray about the glacial origins of this iconic Minnesota lake.

Ice-out history calendar