Ice fishing season may reach premature end, DNR warns

Bay de Noc ice fishing. (photo courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
By  | 

MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (2/19/2020) - A warmer than average winter may bring a premature end to ice fishing season.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources warned anglers on Wednesday that shanties may need to come off the ice earlier than normal. All shanties must be removed before ice can't support them.

“It’s the angler’s responsibility to safely remove their shanty before it falls through the ice,” said First Lt. Jason Wicklund of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Fishermen whose shanties fall through the ice could face up to 30 days in jail and fines ranging from $100 to $500. They must fully reimburse government agencies who remove shanties.

Anyone venturing on the ice should use extreme caution, as ice conditions are deteriorating. Warming and freezing cycles weakens ice and limits its ability to support weight.

Here are the deadlines for removing ice shanties in the Lower Peninsula, even if ice conditions are still OK:

-- Before sunset on Feb. 23 for Lake St. Clair.
-- By midnight March 15 in Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.
-- By midnight March 1 for all other Lower Peninsula counties.