Ice Fishing Shelter Removal Dates

Ice fishing shelter removal dates fast approaching

Deadlines for removing fish houses, dark houses and portable shelters from state waterways are rapidly approaching, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Anglers are advised to remove shelters earlier if ice conditions warrant.

Dates of removal are determined by a west-to-east line formed by U.S. Highway 10 starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border, 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.

Shelters south of this line must be removed no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 2.

Shelters north of this line must be removed no later than 11:59 p.m. on Monday, March 16.

Exceptions are Minnesota-Canada border waters (March 31), Minnesota-Iowa border waters (Feb. 20), Minnesota-South Dakota and North Dakota border waters (March 5), and Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters (March 1).

DNR officials say if shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.

After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended. Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited. Learn more at

The DNR’s Enforcement Division Director Col. Ken Soring recommends checking ice thickness by using an auger or spud bar before venturing onto a frozen pond, lake or river.

Soring says ice conditions can vary greatly, and anglers should know about the different types and characteristics of ice. Slush shows weakening of ice and should be considered a danger sign. If ice at the shoreline is cracked or squishy, people should stay off. People should not go on the ice during thaws. Honeycombed ice, dark snow and dark ice should be avoided. Ice is generally thinner where there is moving water, such as near inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and other objects that protrude through the ice.

According to information from the DNR Boat and Water Safety Section, a minimum of 4 inches of new, clear ice is necessary for ice fishing; snowmobiling or ATV activity requires at least 5 inches; 8 to 12 inches are needed to support a car or small pickup; 12-15 inches are needed for a medium truck.

Lake of the Woods Fishing Report


by Joe Henry

Some monster walleyes this week with a nice mix of walleyes, saugers and jumbo perch in the buckets.  The northern part of Big Traverse from Knight and Bridges islands up to Garden Island in 26-32′ still giving up fish.  Some resorts on south shore moving fish houses back closer to south shore with good results.  A hit and miss morning bite reported in 15-18′ off of Zippel Bay and Pine Island.  Some big pike caught this week in front of Zippel Bay.  Reefs off of Long Point producing mixed bag with some jumbo perch mixed in.  Colors, good reports with gold, glow red, and pink.

On the Rainy River, locals still catching walleyes in 15-20′.   Best time is evening.  Some sturgeon being caught and released.  Please work through outfitters and bait shops and know where you are going on ice.

Up at the NW Angle good fishing continues around reefs in 22 – 30′.  Jig one line, dead stick second line.  A mixed bag, with walleyes, saugers, pike, jumbo perch and tulibees.  NW Angle resorts targeting crappies having good success with crappies up to 16″.  Fish houses on ice through March 31st.  Walleye season open to April 14th.  Pike open all year.  New Visitor’s Guide at Joe Henry, 31 inch walleye, Ice Fishing, Lake of the Woods

Check out this huge crappie!



Mark Koehnen caught this giant crappie on Lake Waconia.  The tape measure showed an incredible 19″ length and it tipped the scales at 3.26, but the official weighing didn’t take place until at least a day after since the bait shop, In Towne Marina, was closed when he came off the lake.

Mark will be on Minnesota Sporting Journal Radio to talk about landing this lunker…in the meantime, enjoy these pictures!

There’s debate about what type of crappie this is: white, black or a mix of the two? What do you think?

Mark Koehnen and his 19" crappie

Mark Koehnen and his 19″ crappie


19 inch crappie tape measure

MNSJ Radio Podcast – Jamie Dietman and Don Beans Part 1



Jamie Dietman talks about his experience sleeping in a snow cave during the drive back from Ely.  We camped with the help from Jasper Creek Guide Service and Don Beans.  Don also talks about why he’s in Ely and how you can spend time up there as well.

Listen to Jamie and Don here: 

MNSJ Radio Podcast – Don Beans Part 2



Don Beans has been a guide in the Ely area since the 80’s and tells the story of being charged by a moose and watching his dog fight with a timber wolf!

Listen to Don here:


MNSJ Radio Podcast – Joe Henry report from LOW 2/10, Eric Tolzmann Ice Castle Classic Winner



Joe Henry gives us a Lake of the Woods Fishing Report on 2/10/15, then Eric Tolzmann explains his feelings after winning $10,000 as the 1st place winner in the 2nd Annual Ice Castle Classic.

Listen to them here: