We all know that the weather in Minnesota doesn’t always know exactly what it’s doing, so the transition from ice to open water fishing isn’t always a solid line in the sand. Some years there are boats out by the end of April and other years Mother Nature decides to drag things out to make us wait just a bit longer. So, when is ice out on Mille Lacs?
When Does Ice Fishing End in Minnesota?
Ice Fishing is definitely a staple of Lake Mille Lacs that draws eager anglers from all over for a true Minnesota ice fishing experience. You know the one… Cracking a cold one in the ice house with your best buds and waiting for the fish to bite so you can reel in a fresh dinner. It doesn’t get much better than that. But when does ice fishing end in Minnesota? Well, it all depends on what miss moody Mother Nature has in store for the seasons. The earliest recorded ice out was on March 26th, 2012 and the latest recorded was May 16th, 2013. Obviously, the two years had very different weather, however the average ice out date is around April 24th.
March typically brings the warmer weather that reaches temperatures warm enough to start melting the ice on Mille Lacs. Though the ice may be as thick as 3 feet in some areas, ice melt is rarely uniform from year to year. Most ice anglers start heading back to land once there’s a good sheen of water forming on top of the ice. Some may still brave the melts by heading out on foot, but the best way to know when to abandon the ice is by keeping track of local weather and staying aware of your surroundings.
Nobody wants to be “that guy” that’s calling for a tow truck to pluck their vehicle out of the ice and end up going viral for photos of your truck going for a swim. To avoid that catastrophe, stay updated on ice reports and keep an eye on the weather to determine when ice out on Mille Lacs is underway. You can also check the MN DNR website for ice out dates.
Mille Lacs Ice Patterns
Though the weather can vary quite a bit from day to day in Minnesota, often leaving us confused as to whether a heavy jacket or light sweater would be fitting attire, there is usually a pretty common pattern for ice. Temperatures start to drop pretty low in November and the ice on Lake Mille Lacs is usually shore to shore by mid-December with thicknesses from 22-36 inches by mid-late January. January and February temperatures typically feel like Jack Frost moved into the area, so most anglers are more focused on having a good heater and keeping their beer from freezing.
March is when things start to get a little less uniform. Minnesota springs are known for being able to throw all 4 seasons at us within a single week. There have been years that ice has lasted into May but there’s also been years that ice out on Mille Lacs ends up arriving early and anglers are off the ice within the first week of March. Though April is similar in not knowing what it wants to do with the weather, the ice is typically fading fast and opening up.
May is where it’s at on Minnesota lakes for those chomping at the bit to get the boat out. Crisp mornings and afternoons that offer mild summer temperatures are perfect for getting out for some open water Mille Lacs lake fishing.
Mille Lacs Lake Fishing
When trying to determine when ice out on Mille Lacs is, it is usually pretty easy to tell if you are from the local surrounding areas. If you are from out of state, it is best to call The Red Door Resort or check in with our ice fishing reports to see what the conditions are. We try to take advantage of the ice season as long as we can while also staying aware of ice conditions to keep safety at the forefront of our priorities. If you missed the ice fishing season, the good news is that there will always be another winter in a few short months for another opportunity to hit the ice!