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It might have been only a week or so ago when the temperature was well below zero and we seemed to be in the middle of winter, but Monday marks a rite of spring: the deadline to remove those ice fishing shelters from Minnesota lakes.

If you've been out ice fishing on any of Minnesota's 10,000 now-frozen lakes, Monday, March 1st marks an important deadline from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: it's the day you have to remove your ice fishing shelter from Minnesota lakes in any of Minnesota's southern inland waters.

Did you know the DNR splits Minnesota into two sections when it comes to ice fishing? It does. And here's HOW it does. The DNR defines the line that separates north inland waters from our southern inland waters like this: It runs along an east-west line formed by 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.

If you're fishing on a lake north of that line, you can still leave your shelter on the ice for another two weeks, until March 15th. But if you're fishing here in our backyard, in southern Minnesota, the deadline for removing that shelter is midnight on Monday, March 1st.

Now, the DNR also says that-- assuming the ice is safe, mind you-- you CAN still fish on these southern inland waters after March 1st, you're just not allowed to leave your shelter on the ice when you're not there.

And, by the way, while we're talking about ice fishing shelters, just what DO we call them here in Minnesota? Fish houses? Ice houses? Ice fishing houses? Or, are they ice fishing shanties, as they call them back in my home state of Wisconsin? I guess it really doesn't matter, as long as you make sure yours is off the ice by the correct deadline.

If not, the DNR says it's not good news: "If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted. A conservation officer also may confiscate, remove or destroy any ice structure and its contents if not removed by the deadline."

And speaking of uniquely-Minnesota things, like what we call our ice fishing shelters, there are also some tricky-to-pronounce names in our 10,000 lakes here in Minnesota... names that could trip up even the most seasoned Minnesotan. Keep scrolling to see how many of these Minnesota lakes you know how to say!

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SAY WHAT? 20 of the Hardest Lake Names to Pronounce in Minnesota