Ice Out Dates (Fish House Removal) + Unsafe Ice Warning

Warning: Ice is not safe

(Released DNR March 9, 2015)

With warming temperatures and melting snow, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that ice conditions on bodies of water are deteriorating quickly in the southern half of the state and will soon be deteriorating in the north. Water flowing into lakes and moving in rivers can quickly create areas of thin ice. Flowing water in ditches and creeks is also dangerous to children who can slip in and be swept into a culvert or under the ice.

“Ice is never 100 percent safe,” said Maj. Greg Salo, DNR Enforcement operations manager. “And please keep your children away from moving water.”

Temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Check the ice at least every 150 feet.

If your vehicle breaks through the ice, get out immediately, use your ice picks to help get back up on the ice and roll away from the hole to solid ice.  The DNR recommends anyone heading out on the ice should check with a local bait shop or resort – ask about ice conditions before you go.

The DNR clear ice thickness recommendations are:

  • 4 inches for walking.
  • 5 inches for a snowmobile or ATV.
  • 8-12 inches for a car.
  • 12-15 inches for a medium-sized truck


March 16 deadline approaches for ice fishing shelter removal from northeastern MN lakes

Ice anglers in northeastern Minnesota are reminded of ice shelter removal dates on lakes located north of Highways 200 and U.S. Highway 2, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

Dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters must be off the ice of inland lakes no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 16. For Minnesota waters on the Canadian border, the deadline for removal is March 31. Anglers are advised to remove shelters earlier if ice conditions warrant.

Enforcement action will be taken if shelters are left after the deadline. Anglers who don’t remove their shelter can be prosecuted. Conservation officers may remove the structure and confiscate or dispose of it. It is also unlawful to store or leave a shelter at a public access.

“Ice conditions can change rapidly during spring thaw. Ice shelters and their contents left on a lake past the deadline can become irretrievable and can end up as unwanted trash in our lakes,” said Capt. Tom Provost, DNR Enforcement Division.

Anglers should also remove any refuse or litter from the lake. Wood blocks used to support a shelter or any type of anchoring device need to be removed.

After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.

It is unlawful to improperly dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Anglers should check with local refuse providers or landfills for disposal of unwanted items.

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