Outdoor Notes for March 1: Fish house removal deadlines quickly approaching

If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, owners will be cited and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.


Anglers in the southern two-thirds of the state have until the end of the day on Monday, March 2, to remove their fish houses from Minnesota lakes. The removal deadline for those in the northern one-third of the state is Monday, March 16.

The northern and southern parts of the state are split by a line that runs west-east along U.S. Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

“Anglers are responsible for removing their shelters by the deadline, so they need to plan ahead,” said DNR conservation officer Garrett Thomas, who is stationed in Eagan, in a news release. “And just as importantly, they have to ensure the area around their fish house is free of trash. There’s no excuse for fish house owners to leave anything but an impression in the snow or ice.”

If shelters aren’t removed by the deadline, owners will be cited and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer. After the deadline, shelters may be on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied. They may not be left or stored at public accesses. As anglers venture out, they should keep in mind that ice conditions may vary widely and that ice is never 100 percent safe.

Exceptions to the removal deadlines are Minnesota-Canada border waters (March 31), Minnesota-South Dakota and North Dakota border waters (March 5), Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters (March 1) and Minnesota-Iowa border waters (Feb. 20).


More information about ice fishing shelter deadlines is available at .

Upcoming events at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Saturday, March 7

1-3 p.m. Snowshoeing Through the Seasons. This is a two-part program. We will begin with a slide show illustrating the wonderful seasons and experiences enjoyed at Kathio State Park. Then if conditions permit, we will head outside for a how-to lesson and a 1.5-mile snowshoe hike. Snowshoes are provided. You are welcome to attend either or both parts of the program.

A slide show will be 1-1:30 p.m. followed by the snowshoe lesson and hike 1:30-3 p.m.

For the second half of the program, registration is required and limited. To register, call 320-532-3269 and leave your name, phone number and number of people attending. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

Saturday, March 14

1-1:45 p.m. The Monarch: A Butterfly Beyond Borders. Enjoy this nature film about the Monarch’s natural history and migration. Meet at the Interpretive Center.

New deer feeding bans in effect as part of CWD prevention efforts

To help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is adjusting bans on the feeding of deer in certain parts of the state.


The DNR will expand deer feeding bans in central Minnesota starting Monday, Feb. 24, due to additional discoveries of chronic wasting disease in captive deer in late 2019. New counties included in the deer feeding ban are: Carlton, Chisago, Douglas, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine and Pope. The deer feeding ban will remain in Stearns County due to the proximity to Douglas County.

Starting July 1, the DNR will remove the feeding ban from Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Renville and Wright counties, as CWD was not detected in any wild deer in the third-consecutive year of wild deer disease testing in central Minnesota.

A deer attractant ban will remain in the following counties in north-central and southeastern Minnesota: Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Hubbard, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena and Winona.

“Deer often gather around feed and attractants, and that close contact encourages disease spread,” said Barbara Keller, the DNR’s big game program leader, in a news release. “That’s why we’re asking all Minnesotans to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease by following these feeding and attractant bans.”

Deer attractants can be natural or manufactured and include items containing deer urine, blood, gland oil, feces or other bodily fluid.

In counties where deer feeding is banned, people need to remove any grains, fruits, nuts and other food that entices deer. People who feed birds or small mammals need to make sure that deer cannot access the food; for example, keeping feed at least 6 feet above ground level. In areas where the attractant ban is also in place, people must remove any liquid food scents, salt, minerals and other natural or manufactured products that attract deer.

Find information on feeding and attractant bans at .

Additional CWD information


CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. Since CWD was first detected in a captive elk in Minnesota in 2002, the DNR has tested more than 90,000 wild deer in the state. To date, 79 wild deer have been confirmed positive for CWD in Minnesota. Test results, including locations of confirmed positive test results and statistics, are available on the DNR website at .

Keeping Minnesota’s wild deer population healthy remains the goal in the DNR’s response to chronic wasting disease. The DNR’s three-pronged approach to prevent spread of the disease was detailed in an earlier news release ; the department’s CWD response plan can be found on the DNR website .

For more information on chronic wasting disease, visit .

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