Anglers Fight Winds to Pack Up Ice Houses - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Anglers Fight Winds to Pack Up Ice Houses

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For anglers in southern Minnesota, this weekend will be the last ice houses will be allowed to take up real estate on our frozen lakes. The DNR is ordering them off the ice by midnight Monday, March 3.
The last February sunset on Little Detroit Lake drew a crowd. Clarence Swonger took the DNR's advice and enlisted his buddies.
"I'll repay them with a little beer later today," Clarence said after four hours of work chipping away at three month's of snow and ice build up on his fish house. But, compared to years past, Clarence says the full-day's work came with surprising ease.
"It's not too bad," he said. "There's no water on the lakes, so that makes a big difference. And the ice quality is pretty good."
The crowd on the lake is thinning much faster this winter than the ice will come spring. John Store, who owns Quality Bait & Tackle in Detroit Lakes, says there were ten times as many houses on the lake a week ago. John would have been out fishing more often this year, had he not been kept busy relentlessly plowing everyone else's way.
"The biggest problem we had this year was so much wind," he said. "We'd get snow, yes, but you'd plow everything out and then the wind would blow and blow it back in. And then, you'd plow it again!"
As the wind kept many away from the ice, it's also making it harder on Clarence and his team to move off of it.
"We haven't got too much snow, but the wind is blowing and tens to drift her up on one side of the fish house," Clarence explained.
Now, with only a few sunsets left, John sheds some perspective on the packing up the season.
"A lot of people are doing something else, then don't get after it and haven't looked at the fish house in over a month. Then they say, wow, what happened?" 
Anglers north of the Highway 10 have two more weeks to get their houses off the ice. The deadline there is midnight, March 17. 
And if you don't move it, the DNR can fine you after five days. If you don't comply, then, you'll have to appear in court.


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