Lake Minnetonka nearing ice-free record held since 1878

Lake Minnetonka nearing ice-free record held since 1878

Lake Minnetonka nearing ice-free record held since 1878

Large areas of open water have been spotted on Lake Minnetonka and as temperatures climb this week, it’s likely a matter of days before the water is ice-free.

Jan. 13, 2024 is the latest day on record of ice-in (when the entire lake is frozen over for the first time) on Lake Minnetonka.

The earliest ice-out (when the lake is completely free of ice) is March 11, 1878 and that record could fall this week.

“It’s opening up rather quickly, that’s for sure,” said Skipp LaJoy, the manager of Tonka Bay Marina.

LaJoy has already been out breaking up the ice since last week.

“It’s unusual, but it needs to be done to protect the docks of course,” LaJoy said.

He says this winter season has been one of their shortest at the Marina.

“I would think we’re probably a week out from having the lake open,” LaJoy added.

In fact, he’s already seen some boats and anglers out on the lake within the last week but he doesn’t think the mild winter will bring an earlier opening for his marina.

“It helps us though, as far as the prep work we do to get ready for opening,” said LaJoy. “We’ll be able to get that done a lot sooner so that when we do start launching boats, we’ll definitely have a head start.”

The DNR says as the lakes open up, most early-season incidents, fatal and non-fatal, occur while people are using paddle craft, like canoes and kayaks.

They are advising people to take extra caution and keep in mind that the water is extra cold should you fall in.

In addition, the DNR is urging people to be mindful of how windy it can get on Lake Minnetonka, check the weather before hitting the water and not just have a life vest but actually wear it.