MINNETONKA, Minn. - We're not even one full week into March but mild temperatures and strong winds are forcing some early ice-outs on Minnesota lakes.
On Tuesday, Lake Calhoun was declared an ice-out, the earliest on record. Lake Minnetonka isn't far behind.
Jerry Rockvam, owner of Rockvam Boat Yards says, “The average ice-out on Lake Minnetonka is April 15. And it’s never gone out on April 15.”
Lake Minnetonka has 37 bays. Rockvam Boat Yards is nestled in West Arm.
According to their ice-out log, the earliest recorded event in West Arm was on March 15 of last year, and in 2000.
According to the Freshwater Society and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol, the earliest ice-out on Lake Minnetonka was on March 11, 1878. Last year it was March 17.
“A lot of times it depends on what happens with the weather once the ice goes out," explains Rockvam. "Because if it gets cold, windy and rainy, there isn’t a big demand for boating.”
Lake Minnetonka is not the only lake opening. Ham Lake in Anoka County is open as well.
“It’s wide open. It's wide open," says Janelle Kirkeide, a Ham Lake resident of 41 years, describing the middle of the lake. "This is the earliest the ice has ever gone off the lake.”
And as many are welcoming these sights, some are already missing the ice.