Sign of spring: It's almost time to reel in ice houses, DNR says

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It's hard to imagine with all the snow flying, but spring is around the corner. (Really!) And that means it's nearly time for anglers to haul in ice houses.

The deadline for removing ice houses from Minnesota's frozen lakes is March 3 in the southern two-thirds of the state, and March 17 for the northern third, the Department of Natural Resources says. (More specifically, that east-west line is: U.S. Hwy. 10, east along Hwy. 34 to Minnesota Hwy. 200, east along Hwy. 200 to U.S. Hwy. 2, and east along Hwy. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.)

The DNR reminds owners of the ice-fishing shacks that if they fail to comply, they can be fined, and the house contents confiscated or destroyed. Owners are also reminded to clean up debris from around the ice house.

Some anglers have already packed it in, partly due to relentless cold and snow – and partly because the fish just aren't biting, WCCO reports. Ice houses are already being pulled in Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Evansville and Wadena, conservation officers told the station.

Every year, thousands of anglers set up ice houses on Minnesota's famed lakes – 5,500 on Mille Lacs alone.

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