All litter also must be removed from the ice
Many anglers removed their fish houses from the ice in advance of last week’s winter storm. People who haven’t yet done so should make plans to meet upcoming deadlines, and all anglers – whether they’re fishing from a shelter or not – should leave only an imprint in the snow or ice when they head for shore.
The removal deadline for inland waters in the southern two-thirds of the state is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 6. In the northern one-third of the state – 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 – the deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 20.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers have been out recently checking shelters and documenting potential problem areas ahead of the removal deadlines. They’re watching especially closely to ensure people don’t leave litter behind, including the wooden blocking materials anglers use to keep their shelters off the ice. Other commonly left items include sewage, bait, bottles, cans and cigarette butts.
“Anything that’s left on the ice will either sink to the bottom or float to shore, and in either case harms our environment and portrays a negative image of all ice anglers,” said DNR Conservation Officer Garrett Thomas, who is stationed in Eagan. “If you brought something onto the ice, it’s your responsibility to bring it off. While we’re lucky to have people who care and don’t hesitate to pick up after others, they shouldn’t have to do that.”
After the deadlines, fish houses can still be on the ice, but must be occupied if the houses are out between midnight and one hour before sunrise. Shelters can’t be left or stored at public accesses. Shelters not removed by the deadline might be confiscated and removed from the ice, and their owners might receive citations.
As they venture out, anglers always should keep in mind that ice conditions can vary widely and that ice is never 100% safe.
Exceptions to the removal deadlines are Minnesota-Canada border waters (March 31), Minnesota-South Dakota and North Dakota border waters (March 5), Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters (March 1) and Minnesota-Iowa border waters (Feb. 20).