Minnesota Ice Fishing

     Just thought I would share this information from the Minnesota DNR about ice fishing. 

DNR talking trash

(Released January 25, 2010)


For many Minnesotans there is nothing like walking on a frozen lake, carving a hole and pulling up an elusive fish from the depths below. When word gets out that there’s a good fish bite on a lake, ice anglers descend on the spot. Often that pristine environment becomes littered with bottles, cans, cigarette butts, or worse.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers say the biggest problem is identifying the perpetrators.

“Lakes are normally ringed by fish houses this time of year so conservation officers find it challenging to identify who is leaving trash on a lake,” said Capt. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement northeast regional manager in Grand Rapids. “Another factor is the wind, which makes it difficult to prove where the trash came from. And we just don’t have enough conservation officers to thoroughly enforce litter laws.”



Litter is a petty misdemeanor criminal charge with a fine of up to $300.

Conservation officers also have Solid Waste Civil Citation authority. These civil citations are “by the pound” or “by the cubic foot” penalties, and since they are not criminal charges, they don’t require proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The person suspected of littering must pay the penalty and clean up the mess.

Conservation officers on Lake Mille Lacs utilize a blaze orange “notice” door tag with a label pasted on the back that essentially asks people to take their litter and blocking materials with them. Officers place the tag on fish houses, especially those that have litter around them. The tag also mentions the statute and potential penalty for violating the law.

“Officers will be documenting houses that have litter around them or look like they may be abandoned,” said Lt. Rita Frenzel, Lake Mille Lacs District Enforcement supervisor. “Given the size of Mille Lacs and the number of houses, this may be somewhat hit and miss. But we will be diligent in pursuing litter cases.” She noted officers will also be talking to resort owners about removing blocking material and remnants of ice bridges discarded on lakes.

The DNR offers the following tips to keep Minnesota waterways clean:

  • Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
  • Properly dispose of tangled fishing line to prevent wildlife from being trapped and injured.
  • It is unlawful to dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Check with local refuse provider or landfill for disposal.
  • Litter is a costly problem that we all end up paying for to keep our roadways, parks, and waterways clean. The act of littering not only hurts our pocketbooks, but it also causes  harm to our environment in many ways.
  • Keep a litter bag or trash container in your fish house, dark house, or shelter.
  • Secure trash container covers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.
  • Cover and secure any vehicle, truck, or trailer carrying refuse.
  • When visiting any recreation area, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy.


Ice anglers: Have fun, follow rules

(Released February 2, 2010)


With a month of ice fishing patrols behind them, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers have seen some violation patterns and offer a few tips to anglers for staying citation-free.

Officers say that the three most common violations are too many lines, no fishing license in possession and overlimit.

“The real message is that good fishing is still happening around the state,” said CO Jeff Birchem of Baudette. “So get out there and enjoy the great resources that Minnesota has to offer, follow the rules, and be safe!”

  • Minnesota, anglers are allowed to use two lines in the winter, except on trout lakes where only one line is allowed.
  • Anglers must have a valid Minnesota fishing license in their possession while fishing.
  • Anglers should take a little extra time to familiarize themselves with the regulations that are relevant to the lake you’re fishing.
  • Fish with statewide length limits, such as muskie, sturgeon, catfish, salmon, splake, brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout, must be transported with head and tail intact so the fish can be measured. Northern pike and walleye are exempt from this rule. Sauger that are dressed or filleted will be counted as walleye.
  • Likewise, when on or fishing experimental, special, border or other waters with size restrictions different from statewide regulations, all fish for which the size restriction applies must have their heads, tails, fins, and skin intact and be measurable. The exception is fillets, which may be possessed if the person is preparing a meal, or if the fillets have been packaged by a licensed fish packer.