MADISON – Deadlines are approaching for ice anglers to remove ice fishing shelters from inland and boundary waters. The regulations for removing ice shanties changed last year, and state conservation wardens report the change has resulted in some confusion as to when shanties must be removed from water south of Highway 64.
The new law requires that for waters south of Highway 64 ice fishing shelters must be removed daily and when not occupied after the first Sunday following March 1 and after the first Sunday following March 12 north of Highway 64.
“March 1 is a Sunday this year, that's probably why it's not as clear,” says Barb Wolf, Regional Conservation Warden for the Department of Natural Resources South Central Region. “But because the law says the Sunday following March 1, this year that means beginning on Monday, March 9, shelters must be removed daily and when not occupied or in active use.”
Shelters north of Highway 64 will need to be removed daily when not in use by Monday March 16 this year.
However, Wolf emphasized that is just the legal deadline for daily removal, and that anglers should consider removing their semi-permanent shelters before then if it appears that lake ice conditions are deteriorating. If not removed, shelters, also known as shanties, can sink or be carried away, creating a danger to boaters. If a shelter should break through the ice and sink, the owner is responsible for recovering the shelter.
All ice fishing shelters must be removed by the end of the day on the following dates for other waters around the state:
- March 1 – Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters.
- March 15 - Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior and Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters.
- Feb. 20 - Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters. This earlier date, affecting the Mississippi River south of the Minnesota-Iowa border, is set to correspond with Iowa regulations.
After these dates for removing ice fishing shelters from a frozen lake or river, an angler may continue to use a portable shelter but must remove it when it is not occupied or actively being used.
Failure to remove a shanty or ice fishing shelter by these deadlines could result in a forfeiture of $248.60. Additional costs may be incurred if the DNR must arrange to have the shanty removed or if the shanty or ice fishing shelter breaks through the ice and must be recovered and disposed of.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bureau of Law Enforcement - (608) 266-2141