DNR issues removal dates for ice shacks, anglers prepare for worsening conditions

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 1:52 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2023 at 8:18 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin DNR is reminding ice anglers that it will soon be time to remove their permanent ice shanties from Wisconsin’s waters.

Local lakes have lost several inches. Driving on ice is not recommended right now, but if you need to, there are alternative options other than using your car.

“I would be careful myself. I would prefer to just walk out there or use a snowmobile or a four-wheeler since they are a little lighter,” said Owner of Du Bay Pit Stop Barbara Rios. If you do drive on the ice though, Rios added that people need to be mindful of the distance they keep between cars.

The removal deadlines are to ensure shanties are removed and to avoid the additional costs and hazards of shanties breaking through the ice. The deadlines to remove permanent ice shanties, or those that are not removed daily, on inland and boundary waters are:

  • Wisconsin – Iowa boundary waters by Feb. 20
  • Wisconsin – Minnesota boundary waters by March 1
  • Inland waters south of Highway 64 by March 5
  • Wisconsin – Michigan boundary waters by March 15
  • Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior, and inland waters north of Highway 64 by March 19

Portable ice shanties can still be used after these dates, so long as they are removed from the ice when they are not actively in use and at the end of each day. Owners having difficulty removing their shanty should seek help from local fishing clubs, vendors, and other anglers.

Angler Shawn O’Byran of Wausau said, “The boat landings are going to be bad here soon. We have plenty of ice as long as you are in the bays. Other than that, I would try to stay out of the channels ‘cause they are going to be bad here soon.”

The DNR reminds ice anglers that no ice is ever 100% safe. The DNR does not monitor ice conditions, so anglers need to check with local fishing clubs and bait shops for current ice conditions.

The DNR offers a few ice safety tips to remember:

  • Carry a cell phone, and let people know where you are going and when you’ll return home.
  • Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or a float coat, to help you stay afloat and to help maintain body heat.
  • Wear ice creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.
  • Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas.
  • Carry a few spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself, or others, out of the ice.
  • If you fall in, remain as calm as possible. While attempting to get out of the water, call for help. Anyone who attempts to rescue you should use a rope or something similar to avoid falling through themselves.
  • Do not travel in unfamiliar areas or at night.

Owners who don’t take responsibility for removing their shanty should be reported to the DNR Violation Hotline or call 1-800-847-9367.