Minnesota DNR urges safety on ice house removal deadline

On Monday, the short-lived ice fishing season comes to an end in the metro. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people who still need to pull shelters off the ice to use extreme caution since many of them are too dangerous to reach at this point.

Alexander Birdsall, a conservation officer with the DNR, says most people in the metro thought ahead and have already pulled their ice houses for the season. Last month, an ice house on Prior Lake about 300 feet from shore started sinking due to our warm temperatures and lack of ice. This winter has been an anomaly, which is why Birdsall isn’t too worried about those ice houses being removed by the deadline today.

"On a normal year, let's say 2023, you know there’s a lot of snow. There could be a lot of weather that comes beforehand. So having a plan to get out there or preparing for bad weather, having proper tools and equipment to chisel a house out, setting yourself up for success by having proper blocking material underneath the house" said Birdsall.

The DNR is also reminding people to do a clean sweep of the area. That means all blocking materials, drink cans, and other garbage should be properly disposed of. Not doing so could result in a fine of $100 for each violation.

"Last year, we removed several 55 gallon drums full of trash from the lake and a lot of it was the bracing material or items that had frozen in" said Birdsall.

All ice houses must be removed by the end of the day Monday for the lower two-thirds of the state. Anglers up north have until March 18th to pull their shelters off the ice.