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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ice out on Lake Vermilion

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 5/4/20

 

REGIONAL—Despite a colder-than-average April, most area lakes have cleared of ice pretty much right on schedule— which means anglers won’t be skirting ice floes during …

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Ice out on Lake Vermilion

Posted

REGIONAL—Despite a colder-than-average April, most area lakes have cleared of ice pretty much right on schedule— which means anglers won’t be skirting ice floes during Saturday’s fishing opener.

Lake Vermilion cleared of ice officially on May 1, based on the reports from Tower Airport Manager John Burgess, who regularly checks ice conditions from the air as the ice is fading. Significant ice remained on portions of Big Bay as of Friday, May 1, but that ice had cleared as of 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 2. Based on the longstanding policy for Lake Vermilion, that puts the official ice out as May 1, since the lake was called ice-free before noon on May 2.

A May 1 ice out is just one day later than the long-term average of April 30 for Lake Vermilion.

Other area lakes largely followed suit, clearing within a day or two of their long-term averages.

A number of area lakes cleared of ice on April 28, including both Pelican Lake and Ash Lake, near Orr. That’s two days later than Pelican’s long-term average of April 26 and three days later than Ash Lake’s average of April 25. Fall Lake, near Winton, cleared of ice on April 30, two days later than its average of April 28.

Despite cool temperatures in April, other factors contributed to the relatively typical ice out dates. “We had the right ingredients for clearing ice,” said Minnesota State Climatologist Pete Boulay. For one, notes Boulay, April was dry, with relatively little new snow. Fresh snow on lake ice reflects a lot of the sun’s energy and helps insulate the ice from milder temperatures above the snow. Plenty of cloud-free days this past April allowed the sun to work on the ice, even on days that were relatively cool. Keep in mind, the sun is as high in the sky by late April as it is in mid-August, so when it isn’t blocked by clouds it can be remarkably effective at melting ice. And while April is often windy, this past month was windier than usual, notes Boulay, and that helps to break up ice already weakened by other factors.

Other area ice out dates include: Bear Head (April 28), Clear (April 29), One Pine (April 28), White Iron (April 30), and Garden (April 25).

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