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Ice Fishing Shelter Removal Dates Approaching

February 24, 2005

Minnesota's ice fishing shelter removal dates are fast approaching. Dark houses, fish houses and shelters must be off the ice of inland waters no later than midnight on Feb. 28 in the southern two-thirds of the state and March 15 in the northern third.

The Feb. 28 deadline applies to waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border near Moorhead along U.S. Highway 10, then east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Duluth. The March 15 deadline applies to waters north of
that line.

For border waters, the ice shelter removal deadlines are:

- Minnesota - Iowa, Feb. 20

- Minnesota - Wisconsin, March 1

- Minnesota - North Dakota and South Dakota, March 5

- Minnesota - Canada, March 31

If houses or shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted, and the structure may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer. Contents of the structure may be seized and held for 60 days; if not claimed by the owner within that time, it becomes
property of the state of Minnesota.

After the date when ice or fish houses or shelters must be removed, portable shelters may be placed on the ice and used from one hour before sunrise to midnight, but only if there is an open fishing season on the lake. Storing or leaving fish houses or dark houses on a public access
is prohibited.

Anglers are encouraged to monitor ice conditions on lakes and make arrangements to remove their houses before travel on the ice is dangerous. According to information from the DNR Boat and Water Safety Section, a minimum of four inches is necessary for ice fishing; snowmobiling or ATV activity requires at least five inches; 8 - 12 inches are necessary for a car or small pickup; and 12 - 15 inches are needed to support a medium truck.

Anglers should be aware that ice conditions vary greatly.

- slush shows weakening of ice and should be considered a danger sign

- stay off ice if it is cracked or squishy at the shoreline

- avoid ice during thaws

- avoid honeycombed ice, dark snow and dark ice

- ice is generally thinner where there is moving water, such as inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and objects that protrude through the ice.

Conservation officers also remind anglers to keep waterways clean. Litter on lakes tarnishes nature's beauty, destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for recreation. Litter is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000.

Anglers reminded to check new regulations

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds anglers to review the 2005 Minnesota Fishing Regulations as the new license year begins March 1.

Regulations booklets include special and experimental regulations, regulations changes and new information about exotic species, catch and release and fish identification.

"We made a number of changes this year and anglers need to make sure they are aware of the regulations before they fish," said Linda Erickson-Eastwood, program manager for the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. "Besides that, the regulation book contains excellent information to help anglers protect their resource and enjoy their time on the water."

Key lakes with new regulations this year include: Big Fish Lake (Stearns County), Big Sand Lake (Hubbard County), Black Bass Lake (Mille Lacs County), Horseshoe Lake (Cass County), Lake of the Woods (Lake of the Woods County), Lac Qui Parle Lake (Lac Qui Parle and Chippewa counties), Leech Lake (Cass County), Lida Lake (Douglas County), Rainy River (Lake of the Woods County), Rush Lake East and West (Chisago County).

In addition, the DNR, following and extensive and valuable public input process, made changes to trout regulations for 22 streams in six southeast counties. The changes are intended to improve fishing quality for larger trout while maintaining diverse fishing opportunities for anglers.

The regulations take effect April 16, opening day of the 2005 stream trout season. Trout regulations were also changed on eight lakes in Cook County.

Special and experimental regulations are summarized on pages 32-47 in the regulations book. New regulations are signified with an arrow. Unless specifically mentioned, all other general regulations, seasons, limits, border water regulations, possession and transportation apply to
waters with special and experimental regulations.

Additional changes and new regulations are listed on page 9 of the 2005 Fishing Regulations book, available wherever fishing licenses are sold.

Fishing licenses valid for 2005 are on sale now at any of the 1,850 Electronic License System (ELS) terminals located throughout the state. Licenses are also available at the DNR Web site or by calling 1-888-665-4236.

For the 2005 Fishing Season dates, please click on this link:

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