Ice fishing shelter removal dates fast approaching
Deadlines for removing fish houses, dark houses and portable shelters from state waterways are rapidly approaching, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Anglers are advised to remove shelters earlier if ice conditions warrant.
Dates of removal are determined by a west-to-east line formed by U.S. Highway 10 starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border, then 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.
Shelters south of this line must be removed no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 2.
Shelters north of this line must be removed no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 16.
Exceptions are Minnesota-Canada border waters (March 31), Minnesota-Iowa border waters (Feb. 20), Minnesota-South Dakota and North Dakota border waters (March 5), and Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters (March 1).
DNR officials say if shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.
After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended. Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited. Learn more at www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/shelter.html.
The DNR’s Enforcement Division Director Col. Ken Soring recommends checking ice thickness by using an auger or spud bar before venturing onto a frozen pond, lake or river.
Soring says ice conditions can vary greatly, and anglers should know about the different types and characteristics of ice. Slush shows weakening of ice and should be considered a danger sign. If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, people should stay off. People should not go on the ice during thaws. Honeycombed ice, dark snow and dark ice should be avoided. Ice is generally thinner where there is moving water, such as near inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and other objects that protrude through the ice.
According to information from the DNR Boat and Water Safety Section, a minimum of 4 inches of new, clear ice is necessary for ice fishing; snowmobiling or ATV activity requires at least 5 inches; 8 to 12 inches are needed to support a car or small pickup; 12-15 inches are needed for a medium truck.