Contact(s): DNR Recreation Enforcement & Education Safety Section Chief April Dombrowski, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-852-9456, Dombrowski@Wisconsin.gov
MADISON - 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:
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:
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.