DNR: Ice shanties must be removed nightly starting Sunday
PEWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- As it feels a bit more spring-like, the winter sports season in Wisconsin will change.
Starting Sunday, March 7, ice fishers in our area will need to pull their shanties off the ice each night.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources explained the deadline serves two purposes, to keep anglers safe and keep Wisconsin waters clean.
"Just get some fresh air out here, its almost the end of the ice," said angler Steve Dubis.
He's still after a sport fish. A walleye he caught recently was one-inch short of the legal limit. He said he started seeing shanty owners haul their ice houses off Pewaukee Lake last week.
"There were a lot of shanties getting pulled off that afternoon, lot of water kicking up, so it was a good day to get 'em off I think," said Dubis.
Wisconsin's ice fishing season has been busy.
"Sales are ridiculous to be honest, it was hard to keep anything in stock," said Michael Kane, a salesperson at Dick Smith's Live Bait and Tackle.
He said minnow buckets, portable shanties, everything the store has, has flown off the shelves.
"I'm assuming there's a lot of new people that are into it that are buying gear," said Dubis.
Which is one reason for the DNR's shanty removal reminder.
"You can still use them, they just have to be off on a daily basis," said DNR Conservation Warden Steve Swiertz.
He said violators can be fined for leaving them on the ice and if the shanties fall through.
"All we want to make sure is that they can safely access them and have them safely removed, we don't want to see anybody or any shanty go through the ice," said Swiertz.
He said the ice is still pretty good in southeast Wisconsin, but with the weather warming, anglers like Dubis are running out of time.
"As long as there's safe ice, I'll go out," said Dubis.
The DNR wants anglers to notify them if a shanty falls through the ice.
The department can't help pull it out, but it can connect shanty owners to help that can.