The winter of 2023-2024 is on track to shatter a lot of records in Minnesota. Warm temperatures, limited snowfall, and the number of winter event cancellations are among the things that will stand out in our memories about this winter.

The weather this winter has also created poor ice conditions for anglers through the season. As we reach the final part of the winter season, the Minnesota DNR is already reporting dozens of lakes in southern and central Minnesota reaching "ice-out". On average, these lakes are seeing ice-out being declared about a month earlier than normal.

As more warm weather is in the forecast, we're likely to see the list of lakes with an early ice-out continue to grow.

As we continue to see ice-out dates that are earlier than ever previously recorded, you might wonder - what are the previous earliest ice-out dates on popular Minnesota lakes?

READ MORE: Minnesota DNR declares earliest 'ice-out' ever recorded on several Minnesota lakes

How does the Minnesota DNR define "ice-out"?

The Minnesota DNR says the definition is different from lake to lake. Many ice-out reports come from citizen observers, using a specific set of criteria so the definition is the same from year to year.

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For some lakes, "ice-out" means when the lake is completely ice-free. In other cases, it means when you can navigate between two points in a watercraft or the lake is 90% free of ice.

What are the earliest ice-out dates recorded on popular Minnesota lakes?

It is likely that we see some of these records broken this winter. The combination of lesser amounts of ice, a lack of snow, and prolonged warm conditions will continue to bring us more new ice-out records.

It is worth noting that while some of the Minnesota DNR's records reach as far back as the 1800s, other lakes only have ice-out data that extends back to the early 2000s. Many of these lakes with smaller amounts of data are smaller and less popular lakes. The more popular lakes we're going to look at generally have a significantly longer history to look back at.

Earliest Ice-Out Dates Recorded On Popular Minnesota Lakes

Prior to the record-setting winter of 2023-2024, here are the earliest recorded ice-out dates on several popular Minnesota lakes according to data from the Minnesota DNR.

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper

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