This weekend is when Ice shanties that are left out for the season are to begin to be removed but depending on where your shanty is located will determine that.

There are plenty of YouTube videos of trucks going through the ice when trying to remove ice shanties that are left on lakes for the season too long, don't let your truck or tractor become the next video because this weekend it is time to get out and make the move.

I have a buddy who lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and every year he tells me about a truck, tractor or ATV that goes down through the ice trying to remove an ice shanty that was left out on the lake a bit too long.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources there are guidelines to follow for regions all across Michigan for when to remove those seasonal ice shanties from the ice.

Obviously those in Southern Michigan better be thinking about this now with the rain that is scheduled for the forecast over the next two weeks. Yes we have had a couple weeks of frigid temperatures but March is just a week away and ice can become unsafe very fast.

Not only is important for people to remove their shanties, there is also a fine of $500 attached if your shanty goes through the ice and you could get up to 30 days in jail or both. Plus the shanty will still have to be removed from the lake or river and if the state has to do it, guess who will be paying for it? If someone else other than the person who lost the shanty has to remove it, the cost is three times the cost of normal removal.

Here is the breakdown of ice shanty removal for Lower and Upper Peninsula:

Lower Peninsula - if you have a shanty on Lake St. Clair it has to be off the ice by sunset Sunday, February 21.

The rest of the Lower Peninsula counties have until March 15 and those counties are Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogeman, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.

If your county is not on that list above, then your shanty must be off the ice by March 1.

Upper Peninsula - if your shanty in on the Michigan/Wisconsin boundary waters you have until March 15 to remove from the ice.

The rest of the U.P. has until March 31 to remove seasonal ice shanties.

For those still going out with their portable ice shanties, no worries, you can still use those while the ice is safe but you can't leave them out unattended and have to be removed each day.

Use caution the rest of the season if you are fishing on the ice in West Michigan. With this rain that will be coming on and off over the next couple of weeks and with all the snow on the ice melting, you just don't know what is going on underneath so fish with extreme caution.

I hope to get out one or two more times before I don't want to take a chance to fall through over catching a bluegill. Heck, I am hoping tonight will be the last time I plow snow for the season so my ice fishing days will be coming to an end for the year shortly.

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