MINNETONKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota DNR is not keeping quiet about a problem they say is getting worse every year.
Anglers are leaving their trash on the lakes and the DNR wants everyone to know it won’t be tolerated.
Ice fishing is a true Minnesota pastime filled with unforgettable memories made during the winter.
“The camaraderie, the weekend on the ice, the time with friends and family,” said Ryan Boelke, who was out on the ice Saturday. “It’s a blast to be out here.”
Like many, Boelke said he saw something Saturday that didn’t quite fit into the picture-perfect scene. He saw trash.
“Beer bottles, fishing line, water bottles and cigarette butts, charcoal, anything,” he said. “It’s pretty disappointing.”
It’s upsetting to those trying to ice fish and enjoy the outdoors without the litter.
“I think it’s really inconsiderate that they just leave everything out here in nature,” said Serina Lundgren, another angler.
The DNR has taken a number of photos over the past few weeks all over the state of Minnesota showing the trash left behind.
“It makes me mad,” said Arnaud Kpachavi, a Minnesota DNR State Conservation Officer. “I’m sure it makes the vast majority of the people who come out on the ice fellow anglers, people who are out here to recreate and walk around, I’m sure it makes them mad too.”
Kpachavi is a conservation officer that patrols the Lake Minnetonka area. He isn’t happy with what he’s seen so far this season.
“I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere in the state, but definitely around here, there’s already a ton of litter.”
He wants anglers to know the garbage you leave behind now can leave a lasting mark long after the ice has melted.
“That trash, if it’s not picked up, is just going to end up in the lake either on the shore or ends up at the bottom,” he said.
So, Kpachavi is reminding those on the ice to do the right thing as you enjoy part of what makes a Minnesota winter memorable.
“Step up and pick up after yourselves,” he said. “It’s not too hard. You brought it in, so you can bring it out.”
The DNR also wants to remind anglers that it is illegal to litter in Minnesota. If you are caught leaving your trash behind on the lakes this season, you could face a criminal or civil citation and a fine that could cost you hundreds of dollars.