Lake Warden Ken Bailey determined that the ice was officially out on Megunticook Lake as of March 19 at 5:02 p.m., making it the earliest of such declarations in more than 100 years.

Prior to the March 19 ice-out date, the earliest record had been March 23, 1903, said Bailey.

“Ice out is declared when a boat can navigate the lake’s main channel from the outlet dams up the west shore through Chaney Narrows to the outlet of Norton Pond,” he said March 19.

Norton Pond, which lies to the northwest of Megunticook and is connected by a shallow channel, still had ice on its surface. Bailey said it could be free of its winter cloak within 24 to 48 hours.

Bailey had been checking ice conditions throughout the day and reported he was able to motor through that route to Norton Pond in his boat at 5:02 p.m.

“There is still some residual ice in some small, protected coves, but the main lake is now clear,” he said.

Last year, ice out was called on April 8 for Chickawaukie Pond and on April 13 on Megunticook, almost one month later than this year.

Calling ice out is a tradition with a long heritage for those living near lakes in northern latitudes, one that marks a turning point toward the spring and summer seasons. It doesn’t matter if snow is on the ground, as long as ice is out, fishing trips begin, cottages are opened and intrepid sailors haul out their boats.

Hosmer Pond, which lies at the foot of Ragged Mountain and the Camden Snow Bowl, was declared free of ice as of March 19, as well, said Bailey.

Chickawaukie Pond was declared ice free on March 14 this year, but had seen an earlier ice out on March 4, 1999.

Chickawaukie’s ice departed on March 14, though it came and went over the weekend. Bailey had spoken with one of his lake observers over the weekend.

“When they went to bed Saturday night there was ice, and about one-half hour before sunrise this morning, March 14, it was clear,” he said, calling ice out on Chickawaukie at 6:20 a.m.

Below are some of Chickawaukie’s ice-out and ice-in dates. The earliest dates in this data were March 4, 1999, March 10, 1998, March 15, 2003, and March 17, 1981. April 22, 2001, was one of the latest.

Chickawaukie Pond ice out
1981: March 17
1982: April 18
1983:  March 22
1984:  April 9
1985:  March 28
1986:  April 1
1987:  April 9
1988:  March 27
1989:  April 7
1990:  April 3
1991:  March 26
1992:  April 5 (6 a.m.)
1993:  April 21 (12:20 p.m.)
1994:  April 11 Dec. 30
1995:  (open Jan. 18 to Jan. 27) March 30 (11:15 a.m.)
1996:  April 5 (10:54 a.m.)
1997:  April 13 (6:03 a.m.)
1998:  March 10 (11 a.m.)
1999:  March 4 (2:45 p.m.)
2000:  March 28 (10:17 a.m.)
2001:  April 22 (7:42 a.m.)
2002:  March 15 (12 p.m.)
2003:  April 15 (7:02 p.m.)
2004:  April 10
2005:  April 10 (noon)
2006:  March 18 (9:27 a.m.)
2007:  April 13 (4:30 p.m.)
2008:  April 10
2009:  April 8 (7:30 p.m.)
2010:  March 14 (6:20 a.m.)