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Future fish house removal tips

Using fish houses is still permitted even in the late portion of the ice season, though the structures must be removed daily. With so much snow this season, removing permanent houses was a difficult chore. (Jason Durham / for the Enterprise_

By Jason Durham / For the Enterprise - Major Roger Tietz of the DNR Enforcement Division shared some great insight early this month. The tips Major Tietz offers are good things to keep in mind for next ice season.

In the Park Rapids area this year, six fish houses were left on the ice beyond the removal date. Though the travel conditions worsened throughout the season, leaving a house on the lake beyond the final date is illegal. If you see remnants from anglers on the ice, please pick it up.

“The 2012 ice fishing season is drawing to a close. There are a few things we can learn from this year’s ice fishing season. So, from an avid ice fisherman and a conservation officer for more than 30 years, here are ‘Lessons learned from the 2012 ice fishing season,’ says Tietz.

Putting a fish house on the lake requires dedication

“In Minnesota we enjoy the opportunity to put a shelter on the lake. The law allows us to leave it on the lake unattended.”

“In most cases, these are the houses that are constructed with building materials that are pulled out on a lake and are very comfortable to fish from. If you have one of these, the 2012 season reinforced the point, that as a responsible ice angler you have to check your shelter regularly.”

“As the winter progressed abundant snowfall quickly changed the ice fishing landscape. Travel conditions on the lake, as well as the weight of snow on the ice, created serious problems. A good lesson is that you need to be checking your fish house daily and at a minimum weekly to stay on top of ice and snow conditions around your house to avoid problems.”

Ice anglers need to watch the weather

“If you’re going to make the investment and take time to put a fish house on a lake, you have to keep up on the weather reports; there is very little margin for error. As this winter taught us, snowfalls can be unpredictable and if the lake you’re on gets 8 to 10 inches of snow things can change rapidly. My advice is if you learn of a 3+ inch snowstorm headed your way, take immediate steps to quickly get your house off the lake.”

Heavy snow leads to flooding and slush

“A little snow is welcome. It helps us bank our houses and soften the heating bill but too much snow is challenging. As that snow sits on the ice, it forces the ice down and the water through ice or open ice fishing holes.”

“Wet snow/slush can also make travel to your fish house impossible. One day you can be getting around just fine, but with substantial snowfall travel becomes treacherous.”

“The final lesson is this: If you have time to build a fish house, and if you have time to fish in it, you also have to make time to check on it, and when the season is over, make time to get your fish house off the lake.”