It’s been a tough winter, but let’s look to spring and ice-off dates

By Tim Douglass, Publisher of the Pope County Tribune

Just a few weeks ago it seemed ridiculous to talk about spring.  We had just come through one of the coldest and snow-filled winters on record.

There were huge piles of snow everywhere and the ice-covered lakes were blanketed by more snow that we’ve seen in a few years.

Once we got through Christmas, the snows and the cold seemed to out do the week before.  But, we’re nearing the end of March now and some nice warmer weather has reminded us that this winter, too, will come to pass.  The Minnesota Twins are opening the baseball season on Thursday, all kinds of waterfowl are returning to the area, and talk of spring flooding is everywhere.

All the permanent fish houses have long since vacated area lakes and despite a few ice anglers walking out to fish for panfish, area lakes, including Minnewaska, remain empty, yet ice covered.

So, it’s time for this area to start thinking about the open water season for fishing and boating.  And, to start wondering about when the ice will leave our area lakes.

Thanks to past publishers and historic records, we have a complete list of ice-off dates on Lake Minnewaska, dating back to 1906.

We’ve provided those dates below as a reference for history and for predictions this year as we move into the spring.

In my time here, we’ve set records for both the earliest ice-off date and the latest ice-off date.  In 2012, we had the earliest ice-off on Lake Minnewaska when it was ice free on March 21.  Obviously we’re not going to break that record this year.  Let’s hope that with continued spring-like weather, however, we won’t set the record for the latest ice-off date, which was in 2013, when the lake wasn’t ice free until May 11, the weekend of the Minnesota fishing opener.

The lake has a tendency to become ice free in April each year and after this winter, let’s hope it’s ice free in early to mid-April.  

 

Lake Minnewaska ice-off dates from 1906

1906……April 12

1907……April 18

1908……April 12

1909……April 28

1910….March 26

1911….March 29

1912……April 13

1913……April 17

1914……April 17

1915……April 15

1916……April 14

1917……April 19

1918……April 17

1919……..April 5

1920……April 18

1921….March 30

1922……April 15

1923……April 21

1924……..April 9

1925……..April 2

1926……April 17

1927……..April 8

1928……..April 5

1929……..April 6

1930……..April 6

1931……..April 8

1932……April 10

1933……..April 8

1934……..April 9

1935……..April 9

1936……April 20

1937……April 20

1938…….April 11

1939……April 21

1940……April 25

1941……April 12

1942….March 25

1943……April 14

1944……April 14

1945….March 31

1946….March 27

1947……April 20

1948……April 19

1949……April 19

1950…….. May 7 

1951……April 29

1952……April 25

1953……..April 8

1954……April 15

1955……April 12

1956……April 26

1957……April 20

1958……..April 5

1959……April 13

1960……April 18

1961……..April 4

1962……April 26

1963……..April 6

1964……April 17

1965……April 30

1966……April 14

1967…….April 11

1968……..April 2

1969……April 20

1970……April 26

1971……April 18

1972……April 26

1973……..April 1

1974……April 21

1975……April 28

1976……April 10

1977……April 12

1978…..April 19

1979……April 29

1980……April 21

1981….March 29

1982……April 24

1983……..April 5

1984……April 20

1985……April 16

1986……April 12

1987….March 25

1988……..April 9

1989……April 23

1990……..April 9

1991……..April 7

1992……..April 5

1993……April 19

1994……April 17

1995……April 15

1996……April 25

1997……April 25

1998………April 8

1999…… ..April 2

2000…..March 24

2001…….April 24

2002 ……April 16

2003…….April 11

2004……..April 5

2005……April 10

2006……April 10

2007…….April 2

2008……April 21

2009……April 18

2010……..April 2

2011…….April 21

2012….March 21

2013……..May 11

2014…….April 26

2015………April 8

2016…..March 22

2017…..March 31

2018…….April 30

2019 ……….????