No one needs to tell you that this has been an odd winter weather wise in the Northland.  The combination of higher-than-usual snow amounts combined with a record cold snap has left many of us looking forward to spring.

That same combination of extra snow and cold has also posed a season-long problem for ice-depth on area lakes.  Already this winter, the ice (or lack there of) has caused many problems for anglers who like to get outside and enjoy our four seasons.

The deadline for removing any remaining ice houses off of area lakes is approaching.  Already, that date has passed for lakes that reside below "the line" (see below).  For lakes that are located above "the line", that deadline is Monday, March 18.  Additionally, any Minnesota-Canadian border lakes need to be removed by March 31.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted, and the structure and contents may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.  It's also worth noting that MNDNR also gives local sheriffs the ability to restrict access to the lakes if dangerous ice conditions are present.

"The line"?  Ice house regulations in Minnesota are governed by a geographical demarcation point that is defined this way on the MNDNR website:

[The] east-west line [is] formed by US Highway 10, east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to US Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.