Shanty removal deadline approaching

Jay Ogden
Ice shanties sit on the backwaters of Mio Pond in Oscoda County during the February ice fishing season. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, fishermen face fines and penalties if they do not remove the structures from lakes and other waterways by March 15.

NORTHERN MICHIGAN — Ice fishermen in Northern Michigan who keep an ice shanty on a frozen body of water on a regular basis have until midnight March 15 to remove them.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Sgt. Glenn Gutierrez, district law enforcement supervisor, said the date applies only to shanties that typically stay on the ice all winter and not portable shanties that are removed daily.

“This law allows for the owner or a person using a shanty to be ticketed if they are leaving the shanty out when it is not being used,” he said. “It is a misdemeanor. They can get up to 90 days in jail — but that almost never happens — and a $500 fine.”

  Gutierrez said people leaving ice shanties on the ice after the ice started to melt was a widespread problem more than a decade ago, but the state law that sets a removal date has remedied the situation.

“About 12 years ago or so, this used to be a big problem,” he said. “Shanties would fall through the ice and would become a boating hazard. Then we have to have them removed. The law has actually helped bring that number down. There may be a half a dozen or so on a yearly basis we have to ticket per county now.”

Gutierrez said when a shanty is left on the ice unsupervised after the deadline, DNR conservation officers will make contact with the structure’s owner and take the appropriate measures to remove the shanty.”

“We have to track them down and figure out what to do,” he said. “We don’t just instantly write a ticket. Sometimes we use a little discretion. Maybe the guy had a heart attack or was in the hospital and was not able to get it off the ice right away. We’re not going to ticket them for that.”

Gutierrez said although the officers might be sympathetic to individual cases, there is little they can do physically to assist anglers in removing the shanty.

“We are understaffed as it is, so we can’t help them directly,” he said. “We would encourage them to enlist assistance from their family or friends.”

For more information on shanty removal deadlines, visit


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