Some U.P. residents are still ice fishing late into the season, but the Michigan DNR has a reminder about ice shanties and how long they can be left out on lakes and ponds.
Ice shanties in all 15 Upper Peninsula counties need to be removed by midnight tonight. The March 31st deadline is a maximum for each winter. The DNR requires shanties to be removed once the ice is too thin to safely support them, whether the deadline has passed or not.
“There is a lot of ice in a lot of places yet, but with these warm temperatures and spring coming, things change fast,” DNR District 1 law supervisor Lt. Pete Wright said. “(On) April 1st, shacks can still come out on the ice, but they’ve got to come off at night.”
The DNR has not had a big problem this winter with shanties falling through thin ice because the season has been so cold. But if your shanty does end up in the water, you’ll be held responsible.
“If you end up getting ticketed for that, it’s a 90-day misdemeanor, a $100 to $500 fine and you can be charged up to triple what the cost of removal is,” Lt. Wright said.
The DNR says the ice thickness on the Great Lakes should not be used as a guide. They recommend checking in regularly with bait shops and sporting goods shops about ice thickness in their areas.