The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that changing ice conditions could require removal of fishing shanties before required removal dates. This is a possibility every year, as all shanties must be removed once ice can no longer safely support them.
People venturing onto the ice should use extreme caution as temperatures begin to rise or fluctuate. The repeated thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its integrity, decreasing its ability to support additional weight of people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.
“Regardless of the required date, ice shanties must be removed before the ice becomes too weak to support them,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It’s the angler’s responsibility to safely remove their shanty before it falls through the ice.”
Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines of $100 to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for an amount of up to three times the cost of removal.
If ice conditions don’t warrant early removal, these are the final dates for shanty removal:
Ice shanties on Lake St. Clair, located northeast of Detroit, must be removed before sunset Sunday, Feb. 23.
Shanties in the northern Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Sunday, March 15. Counties include 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.
Ice shanties in the remaining counites of the Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Sunday, March 1.
On Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, ice shanties must be removed by midnight Sunday, March 15.
All other bodies of water in the Upper Peninsula must have ice shanties removed by midnight Tuesday, March 31.
Daily use of ice shanties is permitted anywhere in Michigan as long as ice conditions permit and if the shanties are removed from the ice at the end of each day.
“No ice is ever considered safe,” Wicklund reminded. “Anyone venturing onto the ice should always wear a personal flotation device.”
For more information, watch the Michigan DNR ice safety tips video or visit the ice safety section of the DNR Education webpage.