Ice-out declared on Lake Minnetonka: It's boating season

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Ice-out declared on Lake Minnetonka on April 19, 2023. (FOX 9)

Boating season has arrived on Lake Minnetonka after ice-out was officially declared on the popular lake. 

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Freshwater Society, in what's become a longstanding tradition to mark the start of boating season, officially declared ice-out at 8:35 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19. 

Ice-out is declared when the sheriff's office Water Patrol and the Freshwater Society can safely boat through all the lake's channels and 37 bays without being obstructed by ice. 

"We are all extra eager for warm weather this spring and now that we’ve gotten a taste of that much-missed summer heat, we know everyone is ready to get outside," said Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt. "As you prepare to enjoy the beautiful lakes and sunshine we want to remind everyone to be safe and responsible near the water."

This year's ice-out is a few days later than the median ice-out date of April 13, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and a few days after last year's April 15 ice-out date.

In 2021, the ice-out was declared on March 30, in 2020, ice-out was declared on April 2, and in 2019, it was declared on April 20. The earliest ice-out date on Lake Minnetonka was March 11, 1878, and the latest happened on May 5, 2018. 

According to the DNR, many lakes in southern Minnesota are free of ice, while ice-out hasn't been declared on any lakes in northern Minnesota (the median ice-out for lakes in the northern half of the state is April 15 or later, the DNR says).