The Northland is about hit a cold snap where overnight temperatures are expected to dip well below zero. That means ice fishing season is on the minds of anglers across the area.

With that in mind, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to make sure  all ice fishing shelters that require a license have them.  Do you know if yours does?

Basically, the state of Minnesota requires all non-portable ice shelters to be licensed. Here are some important license details, provided by the Minnesota DNR:

  • Wheeled fish houses are not considered portable and must be licensed.
  • An annual shelter license costs $15 for residents and $37 for non-residents, not including issuing fees that may be charged.
  • The ice shelter license must be readily visible from the exterior of the shelter.
  • A shelter license is valid from March 1 through April 30 of the following year.
  • A shelter license is not required on border waters between Minnesota or Wisconsin, Iowa and North and South Dakota.
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What exactly constitutes a portable shelter? The Minnesota DNR defines them as "a shelter that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation."  With that in mind, portable shelters only need licenses and identification when left unattended, which is defined as all occupants being more than 200 feet away.

Every ice fishing season, you'll also want to make sure your ice shelter has proper identification. When it comes to identification, there are two requirements to keep in mind:

  1. One of the following must be readily visible from the exterior of the shelter with characters at least 2 inches high: Owner's name and address, owner's drivers license number or owner's Minnesota DNR identification number.
  2. If a shelter is left out overnight, it must have at least 2 square inches of reflective material on each side.

The DNR's Ice Fishing Shelters information page provides a wealth of information, including shelter removal deadlines.

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