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Spring Ice Out

Got Spring fever?  Eager to test your paddle in the North woods?  Many people ask about Spring trips into the BWCA.  Spring trips can be wonderful, but the timing can be tricky.  When will the ice go out?  The average ice out in the BWCA is in the end of April. 

A few benefits of Spring trips into the BWCA, include:

  • Permits, for dates prior to May 1, are free and can be filled out at your outfitter or entry point.

  • Even though there are not restrictions on the number of permits for dates prior to May 1, the lakes are very quiet and have very few visitors.

  • Make an early trip and avoid the flies and mosquitoes!

  • Benefit from the natural air conditioning of the cool days, and cuddle up by your campfire during the brisk evenings.

  • Many outfitters and resorts have Spring specials!

Due to the challenge of not knowing when ice will be out, many opt for planning day canoe or hiking trips, while staying at a resort or campground.  Read more about Spring ice out trips here.

Cast your vote on when you think the ice will go out!


Lake Name County

Average  Ice-Out

Earliest Ice-Out

Latest Ice-Out

Years of Data

Fall Lake

April 27

March 27, 2012

May 19, 1950

Gunflint Cook

May 7

March 23, 2012

May 26, 1966

Island St. Louis

April 25

April 1, 2012

May 8, 1996

Mitawan Lake

May 1

April 18, 1955

May 20, 1950

Vermilion St. Louis

April 29

April 2, 2012

May 23, 1950

Saganaga Cook May 3 April 2, 2012 May 16, 1996 22
Shagawa Lake St. Louis

April 27

March 27, 2012

May 16, 1996

Burntside St. Louis

April 29

March 28, 2012 May 16, 1996 36

--Data courtesy Minnesota Climatology Group, Burntside data courtesy Mark Cherne




Send us your ice-out reports 2006 Ice Out Survey
Spring Ice Out Trips 2007 Ice Out Survey
Is There still Cross Country Skiing? 2008 Ice Out Survey
Current Temp at Gunflint Lake 2009 Ice Out Survey
Current Temperature in Ely 2010 Ice Out Survey
2003 Ice Out Survey 2011 Ice Out Survey
2004 Ice Out Survey 2012 Ice Out Survey
2005 Ice Out Survey 2013 Ice Out Survey
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