Monday, April 22, 2013

Ice-Out, Anyhow!

     Photo from the Explore Minnesota web site...

You’ve got to be from this part of the country to understand the ice-out phenomenon, don’t you see anyhow? Ice-out is a pretty big deal up here in the northland. You betcha!
by Charlie Leck

What’a you think, anyhow?
When are you thinkin’ the ice will be out of Minnetonka? It is going to be late this year, don’t you know?

You know how some people have those contests – those pools – about which college basketball team is going to go deepest in the NCCA Championship – those March Madness play-down charts? Well, we do that up here in lake country about the ice-out. You can buy in and pick a date for this lake or that one – Lake Minnetonka or Long Lake, or maybe Mud Lake or Turtle Lake – or even that little bitty Lake Sarah over on the other side of my town. The definitions are all squared up so that everyone understands what ice-out means, don’t you know! When the local paper declares the date of the ice-out of Lake Minnetonka, that’s how the winner is determined. The paper usually says that the ice is out when the lake is relatively clear of any large bodies of ice that could do harm to a boat or a person.

A History of Ice-Out on Lake Minnetonka?
The earliest ice-out date for Lake Minnetonka was March 11, 1878 (when our state was only twenty years old). You sure wouldn’t have wanted that date for this year, don’t you know! We might be talkin’ an ice-out date in May this year or so anyway! The latest dang ice-out we ever had, anyway, was back there in 1856 when the ice went out on May 8. If this here weather keeps up like this anyway (its 37 degrees as I write this on Monday morning), we might just beat that date; and won’t Minnesotans be all excited about that – now that we don’t have any good ball teams to get excited about.
Here’s a history of the ice-out dates on our beloved Lake.

People up here in the north-country get in those pools about ice outs, don’t you know? You buy a date for a couple of bucks and the winner takes the whole dang pot. A guy could make himself 80 or 90 bucks, anyhow, on one of them pools just like that (snap you fingers) – maybe even a hundred or two, don’t you know?

Last year, Lake Minnetonka saw its ice-out by March 21, anyhow! Yuh betcha! My friend, Marty, won that dang pool last year, for cripes sake! Yep! Two-hundred and thirty buckeroos he picked up for his little two dollar ticket!

We’re all lake-people up here, as you proberly know! We got more boats per capita than any state in the whole dang nation! We got us more lakes too, you can bet your bottom dollar on that – way more than the 10,000 lakes they always talk about! But, Minnetonka is the big lake and there are more bets on ice-outs from it than any other lake, don’t you know! It’s been a mean winter this year and we’ve already called off most of those early season fishing contests. The Lake Minnetonka crappie contest was postponed already. They set the date back to April 27 and they might not be able to do it then unless the weather gets a whole lot better’n this.

I just can’t imagine when those lakes up north are gonna let loose of their ice. Maybe it’ll be after mid-May anyhow! I know you’ll be just terribly interested, so I’ll keep you informed. You betcha!

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