MADISON LAKE, Minn. (KEYC) — As the weather warms up, ice fishing season is nearing its end, as anglers pack up their gear, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds them to leave their area clean.
This year’s ice fishing season in southern Minnesota has been a busy one.
“I would say in the last 10 years it’s probably been the top three for being busy,” Corner Bait Shop Owner Nathan Greene said.
With that, the Minnesota DNR reminds anglers to clean up after themselves as this year’s ice house removal deadline approaches.
“Every year we get complaints about trash being left behind. People look around and it’s just a wide-open area and it seems to be a dumping ground for some people, which is unfortunate,” DNR Conservation Officer Corey Wiebusch explained.
Year after year, officers have found items ranging from cigarettes and propane canisters to entire grills that are left on Minnesota lakes, and when that ice melts those items cause significant damage to wildlife, as well as to water quality.
“Certainly, we are looking to penalize people for littering and affecting the environment the way that they do,” Wiebusch added.
Littering in Minnesota is a misdemeanor, with violators subject to a fine. The amount of the fine varies county-by-county.
The deadline to remove ice houses in the southern two-thirds of the state is before midnight on March 2.
“When you’re pulling your house off, if you’ve got any two by fours that were underneath your house or one pound propane tanks is a big one, go ahead and please bring that stuff with you. We gotta keep our lakes clean," Greene stated.