The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers the upcoming deadline to remove ice shelters from lakes in the northern one-third of the state is quickly approaching. Heavy snow and slush in some areas means conditions on the ice might be challenging, so the DNR urges anglers to plan ahead to ensure they’re able to meet the deadline.
The removal deadline in the northern one-third of the state — which is defined as north of the east-west line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border — is by 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 21. The removal deadline for Minnesota/Canada border waters is March 31.
Anglers are responsible for removing their shelters by the deadline and ensuring no trash is left behind. Commonly left items include bait, blocking material, bottles, cans, cigarette butts and plastic bags filled with waste. As use of wheelhouses has increased, there also have been additional instances of people dumping their sewage atop the ice.
“There is simply no excuse for littering our lakes,” said Capt. Robert Gorecki, DNR Enforcement Division regional manager in northeastern Minnesota. “Anything left on the ice ends up in our waters and conservation officers will not hesitate to issue citations for littering.”
If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, owners can be prosecuted, and structures may be confiscated and removed by a conservation officer. If conditions or other circumstances are making it difficult for people to meet the deadline, they should contact their local conservation officer to explain the situation.
The removal deadline does not mean anglers no longer can use shelters on the ice. After the deadline, shelters may still be on the ice, but they must be occupied if they’re out between midnight and one hour before sunrise. Shelters may not be left or stored at public accesses.
Anglers always should keep in mind that ice conditions vary widely and that ice is never 100% safe. For more information, check out the ice safety page of the DNR website.