In Wisconsin, anglers urged to pull ice fishing shelters before deadlines

MADISON — Winter’s recent string of spring temperatures and thinning ice has state recreational safety specialists encouraging anglers to remove their ice fishing shelters prior to the official deadlines.

The first in a series of deadlines for ice anglers to remove ice fishing shelters from inland and boundary waters was Feb. 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:

  • Wednesday, March 1 for the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters
  • Sunday, March 5 for waters south of Highway 64
  • Wednesday, March 15 for Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters.
  • Sunday, March 19 for waters north of Highway 64 – including the Great Lakes of Michigan and Superior, along with Green Bay and inland waters.

One exception to this rule is that on the Fox River downstream from the De Pere dam in Brown County, ice fishing shelters must always be removed from the ice daily and when not in use.

People who want to continue to use an ice fishing shelter after the deadlines must remove them daily and when not occupied.

“But with warmer than average temperatures and poor ice conditions on many lakes, anglers may not want to wait until the deadlines,” said April Dombrowski section chief of DNR Recreational Enforcement and Education. “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.

The removal deadline is to ensure shanties are removed and avoiding the additional costs and hazards of shanties breaking through the ice.

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