The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Bureau of Law Enforcement urges all ice shanty owners to take steps and plan now to remove permanent ice shanties by the deadlines.

The ice shanty removal deadline is Sunday, March 17, for inland waters north of Highway 64. On Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters, the deadline is March 15. Permanent shelters are those normally not removed daily from the ice.

April Dombrowski, head of the DNR’s Recreational Safety and Outdoor Skills Section, said the deadlines 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 said the DNR realizes the challenges of Wisconsin’s sometimes rapid weather changes.

“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,” said Dombrowski. “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 recommended 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 offer 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

The DNR encourages ice anglers to call the department’s hotline at 1-(800) TIP-WDNR (847-9367) to report their situation if they are having difficulty meeting the removal deadline. 

The angler’s information — including name, water body and approximate location where the 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.