Contact(s): Capt. April Dombrowski, Section Chief of Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-852-9456 April.Dombrowski@wisconsin.gov
MADISON -- As Wisconsin meteorologists predict more snow and more sub-zero temperatures well into March, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Law Enforcement today urged all ice shanty owners to take steps and plan now to remove ice shanties by the deadlines.
Capt. April Dombrowski, head of the Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section, says the deadline are to remind people to start removal efforts sooner when the ice is more likely to be solid. "The deadlines also are to help people avoid the additional costs and safety hazards of shanties breaking through the ice," she said.
However, Dombrowski says the DNR realizes the challenges of Wisconsin's sometimes rapid weather changes.
Discretion will apply for those working to remove; check local help options
"We understand shanties may be frozen in place by several inches of ice - and some lakes have thick snow from the recent major storm which poses even more challenges," Dombrowski said. "However, based on current Wisconsin winter weather conditions, enforcement discretion will be applied for those who are actively working to get their structures off the ice."
Dombrowski recommends anglers begin immediately to assess their shanties removal possibilities and work with local vendors, fishing clubs, friends and others for assistance.
"Try your local businesses. Anglers may find services in their home areas who can either do the removal, rent the equipment to assist in that removal or some other help in removing those shelters from the ice," she said.
Anglers who have difficulty getting their shelters off the ice by the deadline due to deep snow, or shanties frozen to the ice still need to work actively to free their shelters from the ice and arrange to have the shelters removed from the ice.
Report status to hotline
The DNR encourages ice anglers to call the department's Hotline, 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367, to report their situation if they are having difficulty meeting the removal deadline. The angler's information, to include name, water body and approximate location where shanty is located will be passed on to the local conservation warden who will use discretion in the enforcement of the deadline.
After the removal deadlines, anglers can continue to use portable ice fishing shelters daily if they feel the ice is safe -- and if they remove their shelters daily and when not actively being used. Permanent shelters, meaning those normally not removed daily from the ice, must be removed from the ice no later than the specified removal date for that water body.
Here are the statewide ice shanty removal dates: