The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said recent weekly activity reports from conservation officers are full of evidence of various types of refuse being discarded along frozen waterways.
"Once again, the most common complaint dealt with while on patrol involved anglers leaving their trash behind," Conservation Officer Bret Grundmeier said. "It is disappointing to find so much trash left on our lakes,"
Grundmeier spends hours each ice fishing season checking anglers and encouraging them to clean up after themselves and remove garbage from lakes.
"Anglers are urged to police themselves and others," Grundmeier said. "Excuses like, 'I was going to go get that later,' will not work and anyone who leaves garbage on the ice will receive a citation for littering."
Littering is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000. These civil citations are "by the pound" or "by the cubic foot" penalties. Since they are not criminal charges, they don't require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Tips to keep waterways clean (from DNR)
-Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
-Properly dispose of any materials that could trap or injure wildlife.
-Check with a local refuse provider or landfill for disposal of items.
-Keep a litter bag or trash container with you when traveling or outdoors.
-Secure trash container covers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.
-Cover and secure any vehicle, truck, or trailer carrying refuse.
-When visiting any recreation area, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy.