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Deadline to remove fish houses in northern Minnesota quickly approaching

Anglers should clean up litter left on the lakes

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers the deadline to remove fish houses from lakes in the northern one-third of the state is coming up. Recent and forecasted warm weather means conditions on the ice may 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 the end of the day Monday, March 15. The removal deadline for Minnesota/Canada border waters is March 31.

“Throughout the northern part of Minnesota, we’ve seen many people removing their ice shelters well in advance of the deadline,” said Capt. Shelly Patten, DNR Enforcement Division regional manager in northeastern Minnesota. “It pays to plan ahead to help ensure you don’t find yourself scrambling at the last minute.”

Patten reminds anglers to clean up everything around their fish houses. Anyone who is caught leaving litter – including any part of a fish house – on the lake may be cited for littering.

If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, owners will 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 fish houses on the ice. After the deadline, fish houses 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.