Historical Facts from Lake Minnetonka Ice-out History

Sorry, groundhog, but you’re not the only one predicting spring anymore.

As the ice cover fades, Minnesota’s iconic gallery of shimmering lakes heralds the beginning of spring—after “ice out” is declared, that is. Dick Grey, one of the founders of the Freshwater Society, says they started recording ice-out dates in 1855, though some notes on the phenomenon predate that time. On Lake Minnetonka, the ice is decidedly “out” when it is possible to travel by small boat from one shore to the next through any passage of the lake. It has not always been so simple, however. Previous methods include parking an old car or truck on the lake and waiting for it to fall through the ice.

The earliest ice-out date in Grey’s record stands at March 11, 1878, while the latest is May 8, 1856. The Freshwater Society’s Pat Sweeney predicts this year’s ice-out will fall on April 11. Coincidentally, this is the date of the society’s annual Ice Out/Loon In party and fundraiser. Migrating loons and other birds often make a rest stop on Lake Minnetonka around this day to take full advantage of the breaking ice, so why not migrate to the lakeside Lafayette Club yourself and join in on the fun?



Ice Out/Loon In

$50/person, $85/couple

6–9 p.m. April 11

Call Diane Lynch, 952.314.8134

Lafayette Club, 2800 Northview Rd., Minnetonka Beach