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Boreal Community Media

With deadline approaching, MN DNR urges fish house owners to remove shelters from the ice

Feb 28, 2024 08:12AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Adam Bixby from

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - February 27, 2024

Most fish house owners in the southern two-thirds of Minnesota already have removed their fish houses from the lakes, given poor ice conditions and forecasted warm weather. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anyone who still has a fish house on the ice to start planning for its removal.

The statutory shelter removal deadline for the southern two-thirds of the state is 11:59 p.m. on March 4. In some areas, lakes are almost totally open. Others are difficult to access due to ice already pulling away from the shoreline, while on others the ice is degrading rapidly.

“Safety is the top priority, and we are pleased that many bodies of water already are clear of ice shelters,” said Col. Rodmen Smith, DNR Enforcement Division director. “However, there are still fish houses on some lakes affected by this first removal deadline, and we encourage people to pay attention to the forecast as they make their removal plans.”

If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, they may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer. Shelters may not be left at public accesses, and no trash or other materials – including wooden blocking materials – may be left on the ice.

As they venture out, anglers always should keep in mind that ice conditions vary widely, that ice is never 100% safe, and that they should check the ice thickness for themselves.

The removal deadline for shelters in the northern one-third of the state is 11.59 p.m. on March 18, though the DNR urges people to monitor ice conditions and consider removing shelters in advance of the deadline. 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).

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