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Anglers urged to pull ice fishing shelters before deadlines - or ice gives way!

March 10, 2016

Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR

As winter starts its decline marked by thinning ice, state recreational safety specialists are encouraging anglers to remove their ice fishing shelters prior to deadline.

The first of a number of deadlines for ice anglers to remove ice fishing shelters from inland and boundary waters was February 20 - the date for the Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters, affecting the Mississippi River south of the Minnesota-Iowa border. This date corresponded with Iowa regulations.

Other fast-approaching deadlines to remove all fishing shelters from the ice are:
  • March1 for the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters
  • March15 for Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters.
Inland Wisconsin waters deadlines and Fox River reminder
For inland Wisconsin waters, ice fishing shelters must be removed daily and when not occupied after the first Sunday following March 1 for waters south of Highway 64 and after the first Sunday following March 12 for waters north of Highway 64. For 2016, those dates are:
  • Sunday,March 6 for waters south of Highway 64
  • Sunday,March 13 for waters north of Highway 64 - including the GreatLakes of Michigan and Superior, along with Green Bay and inland waters.
  • One exceptionto this rule is that on the Fox River downstream from the DePere dam in Brown County, ice fishing shelters must always be removedfrom the ice daily and when not in use.
But this year, with poor ice conditions on many lakes, safety specialists say anglers may not want to wait until the deadlines. Open water has been appearing on an increasing number of southern lakes, and many shorelines have thin ice, making access for removing shelters treacherous.

DNR recommends anglers start assessing their shelter removal situation early and make arrangements as necessary with local vendors, friends or others to help them meet the removal deadlines.

Failure to remove a shanty or ice fishing shelter by these deadlines could result in a forfeiture of $263.10. 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. 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 daily and when it is not occupied or actively being used.

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