As cold and wintry as the last full week of February was, it's hard to believe that the deadline to remove fish houses is looming across the state of Minnesota.

The fact is  the deadline to remove fish houses on lakes found along the Minnesota-Iowa border already took place on February 20 and now the month of March brings all other removal deadlines on both border waters and inland waters.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, here are the deadlines anglers across the state need to be aware of:

Inland waters 

  • South of line - March 7, 2022
  • North of line - March 21, 2022

Border waters

  • Minnesota-Iowa - Feb. 20
  • Minnesota–Wisconsin - March 1
  • Minnesota–North and South Dakota - March 5
  • Minnesota–Canada - March 31
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Dates of removal are determined by an east-west line formed by U.S. Hwy. 10, east along Hwy. 34 to Minnesota Hwy. 200, east along Hwy. 200 to U.S. Hwy. 2, and east along Hwy. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

Provided by Minnesota DNR
Provided by Minnesota DNR
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The DNR says that dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice no later than midnight for each of the dates given in the categories above. Also, keep in mind that county sheriffs may prohibit or restrict the use of motorized vehicles if dangerous ice conditions are present.

If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted. A conservation officer also may confiscate, remove or destroy any ice structure and its contents if not removed by the deadline.

Spring is coming and temperatures can warm quickly, which makes ice conditions even more unstable. It's important to remember that no ice is 100% safe and thickness should be checked every 150 feet.

Here are some general ice thickness guidelines to keep in mind:

  • UNDER 4" - STAY OFF
  • 4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5" - 7" - Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
  • 12" - 15" - Medium truck

If you plan on going out on white ice or "snow ice", keep in mind that it is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Therefore, you'll need to double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...

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