When will the ice go out in 2018?

Aerial photo taken by Alyssa Lloyd May 4th, 2018

Mother Nature is cutting it close this year!

It's been an unusually long winter in Sunset Country this year; we had an early winter and didn't seem to end until mid-April. When you can still ice fish for walleye when the season closes for the spawn on April 14, you know there's a lot of ice to melt.



We kicked off winter with a decent dump of snow last October 26. If we get snow that early, it usually melts a few days later. It normally takes until November or even December to get snow that stays. Not so in the winter of 2017/18.

The snow never left and in fact, we actually had snow on the ground right up until April. That is six months of winter!!!! The ice was over 4' thick in places and folks were using extensions for their ice augers right into April. 

Many were concerned that there would still be ice on the lakes when walleye season opened (May 19, 2018). Fortunately, we had three or four days at the end of April that were very warm and windy—perfect conditions for melting ice. 

Here are the ice conditions as of May 4, 2018.

We'll start out in the southern portion of Sunset Country, as they usually melt first.

One of the very first lakes to have the ice gone is Off Lake. Gateway North Outfitters reported that the ice disappeared from Off Lake May 1. The surrounding walleye lakes should be out in the next couple days, and the trout lakes within a week. 

Off Lake is free and clear of ice May 1, 2018!

Lucas from Gateway North Outfitters also flew over nearby Clearwater Lake to check it out. There's still quite a bit of ice there; however, it poured rain after this photo was taken, so let's hope that did a number on the ice.

Clearwater Lake is still looking very white as of May 2nd. 

I haven't found any recent photos of Rainy Lake, but thanks to Rainy Lake Boat Taxi, I did locate an interesting chart of all the ice-out dates on Rainy Lake dating back to 1930! Estimates are May 15 for 2018. Do you have photos of Rainy Lake conditions? Share with us on Facebook

Bonny Bay Camp on Wabigoon gives us their ice conditions report and it sounds promising!

Cygnet Lake Camp, which is just south of Minaki, is melting nicely. Below is a photo that was taken May 2, 2018. 

The ice-out dates on Howey Bay, Red Lake have been recorded since 1956. The latest was May 23 in 1996 and 1997. Check out the rest of the dates below.

And of course, Lake of the Woods is still holding onto its ice, much to the dismay of everyone hauling their boats around the city of Kenora and along Highway 71. 

The folks at Tomahawk Resort on Regina Bay, Lake of the Woods estimate another six to seven days before full ice-out on their bay! 

Lake of the Woods on the morning of May 4th, 2018 near Bigstone Bay. Photo: Alyssa Lloyd 

If you're interested in seeing where the Winnipeg River and the waters near Minaki are with their ice melt, you should check out the trusty Lake of the Woods Ice Patrol blog. 

Heading a bit further east to Eagle Lake, here's an image from May 2 taken by some excited folks at Temple Bay Lodge. 

The photo below was taken earlier this week on Lac Seul in Hudson, nearby Sioux Lookout. Certainly the last snowmobile ride of the season for Lac Seul Floating Lodges' owners; time to start thinking about launching those houseboats!  

Here is what the shores of Lac Seul looked like in Hudson on April 30th! Photo: Cam Starratt  

Curious about previous ice-out dates in Sunset Country? 2017 ice-out came abruptly, but you can read articles from 2014, 2015 and 2016's glorious spring thaws! 

With temperatures at 20° C, it's a bit of a shock seeing the majority of our waterways still covered in a blanket of honey-combed ice. Want to take a stab at guessing 2018's ice-out date? Find us on Facebook and post your estimates! We'll be following up with the official ice-out dates on our social media

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