Boundary Waters Canoe Area Ice Out 2018 – Feeling Worried?

I have to admit I am feeling a bit worried about my solo canoe trip into the BWCA next month in May.  You see, last weekend, April 13 through the 15, much of Wisconsin and Minnesota got smacked with a Spring snow storm.  Temps dropped hard and depending where you lived you got anywhere from 10 to 22 inches of snow.

The wind was blowing pretty good too, and drifting in areas was as much as a few feet!

All of that adds up to indicate that ice might be off the BWCA lakes later this year.  And that makes me feel a little twitchy.

BWCA Ice Out 2018 – What It could Mean For Me!

Usually ice is off most lakes in that area early May, sometimes pushing close to mid May.  My solo trip for going after lake trout is set to begin on May 23rd.

Should I feel worried?  Some people tell me no, others say yes.

Below is an image from a webcam taken today, this morning in fact, by the Bearskin Lodge off the Gun Flint Trail.  The image is of East Bearskin Lake, entry #64.  Looks like thick snow covering the lake to me, and under it, probably 2+ feet of ice!

Image taken from East Bearskin Lodge and Outfitter's webcam. Makes me wonder if ice will be off the BWCA lakes in time for my May 2018 trip.
Image taken from East Bearskin Lodge and Outfitter’s webcam. Makes me wonder if ice will be off the BWCA lakes in time for my May 2018 trip.

Need Warmer Days And Some Rain!

Today is April 18.  My trip is just five weeks away.  A lot of melting needs to take place between now and then.  If ice is going to be off the BWCA lakes in time for my trip then it needs to get warm and rain.

Looking at the forecast for the Ely, Minnesota area looks pretty good.  Temperatures in the forecast for the daytime are all well above freezing, upper 40s to mid 50s.  That should help get things going.  Throw in some warmer days towards the end of the month and some seasonal rain and things could turn out well.

Worried About Ice Being Off Too?

If you are concerned about the ice condition for your own BWCA 2018 trip, head over to and check out the forums.  They have a thread going there full of many predictions.

Might be worth checking out…

UPDATE: 5/8/18, ice appears to be off my entrance lake!  So I am no longer worried!



TD is the owner and publisher of TD All Outdoors. He has been enjoying the outdoors since since he was a child. Over the years he has spent as much time as he can solo wilderness canoe tripping, overlanding, hiking, fishing, bushcrafting, hunting, hammock camping, and more. Aside from this blog, he also own his own coffee brand,

2 thoughts on “Boundary Waters Canoe Area Ice Out 2018 – Feeling Worried?

  1. I hoping to do a trip on the 19th, so yeah. Curious to know whether it’s going paddles or snowshoes.

    1. Hi Rick,

      I’ve been keeping a close eye on a few of the webcams at various resorts. They actually had a little snow early morning today! It looks like it all melted though. It’s going to be close… Overall I am feeling very hopeful, as it looks like there is some rain and warmer temps coming. But still, there is just enough doubt to make worry.

      I’m going either way. If there is still ice on I’ll just car camp at one of the many campgrounds around the BWCA.


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