Sunday marks deadline to remove ice shanties from inland WI waters

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MANITOWOC COUNTY (WITI) -- For some ice anglers, Sunday, March 3rd marks the start of the end. Sunday was the deadline to remove ice shanties from inland Wisconsin waters.

That means, if you have a shack out on a lake, south of Wisconsin Highway 64 - which runs from Marinette west to the Minnesota border - you could be subject to a fine.

However, if you have a shack north of highway 64, you have until March 17th to remove it.

For Chris Clark and his five-year-old son Will, the warm sun and little wind on Sunday were the perfect conditions to get out and go ice fishing for the first time this year.

It's also Will's first time out on the ice.

"Day seemed like it was one of the better days so far this season, so we decided to get out on the ice," Clark said.

As for Ron Eickert, he was packing up, just as he said the panfishing was getting good.

"It'd be kind of nice that we could keep it on there another weekend or so, because we're just starting to get the fish to bite again!" Eickert said.

As the sun beas down on the snow-covered surface, just a few shacks still dot Long Lake. Others sit on land, waiting to be trailered home.

Sunday marked the day the semi-permanent shacks must be removed, and it comes down to one reason.

"It comes down to safe travel," DNR Conservation Warden George Protogere said.

Protogere said he understands that the deadline doesn't always coincide with the current ice conditions.

"Some years, it might be good beyond that date. Some years it might not be," Protogere said.

Protogere says 99% of the time, anglers comply with the deadline. But he adds sometimes people will leave their shacks to sink into lakes or rivers. If that happens, it can become a problem for boaters.

"In the summertime, if someone is boating, their boat could hit it. It obstructs navigation. A water skier could be out there, could run into it," Protogere said.

Leaving your shanty on the ice is considered littering, and you could face a fine of about $260.

The DNR says wardens will work with you if you can't get your shanty off the ice immediately. Portable shelters can still be used, but must be removed daily.