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Field reports: As ice house removal deadline nears, slush slows the process

In Minnesota, ice fishing shelters must be removed from the ice by Monday south of a line formed by U.S. Highway 10, east along Minnesota Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

North of that line, shelters must be removed by March 17.

Because of deep snow and the presence of slush on many lakes, anglers are urged to give themselves plenty of time to remove shelters. 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, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

In Wisconsin, DNR officials have received many calls from anglers who are having difficulty removing fishing shelters from lakes.

"We've heard about shanties frozen in place by several inches of slush, and some lakes have thick snow from the recent major storm which poses even more challenges," Chief Warden Todd Schaller said. "There is not enough time to modify the law before the deadline removal dates. But we can use discretion for those who are working hard to get their structures off the ice."

The DNR recommends anglers begin immediately to assess their shanties' removal possibilities and work with local vendors, friends and others for assistance. The DNR encourages ice anglers to call the department's hotline, (800) 847-9367, to describe their situation if they are having difficulty meeting the removal deadline. The angler's information will be passed on to the local conservation warden.

In Wisconsin, shelters on inland waters south of Wisconsin Highway 64 must be removed by Monday . North of Highway 64 and on Lake Superior, shelters must be removed by March 17.

Youth turkey hunters wanted for program

The Gitchee Gumme Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation in Douglas County is again looking for youth hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 to participate in its annual Learn to Hunt Turkey Program on April 5-6. Each child must have first completed a Hunter Education Program and cannot have purchased a turkey hunting license before 2014.

Each child will be mentored by an experienced turkey hunter. The chapter will provide meals and lodging. More information and sign-up forms are available on the Gitchee Gumme Chapter's Facebook page, or stop by Nummi Jewelers and Superior Shooters Supply in Superior. Those interested also can email the hunt coordinator, Kevin Feind, at Kevin.

feind@wisconsin.gov, to request an entry form. Entry deadline is Saturday. Hunters will be selected by random drawing.

Brule steelhead count still to come

While it may be hard to visualize open-water fishing in the grasp of this extreme winter, some anglers are looking forward to the Brule River steelhead fishing opener on March 29. That's when the season will open from U.S. Highway 2 to Lake Superior.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hasn't yet tallied the number of steelhead that entered the river last fall, said Paul Piszczek, DNR fisheries biologist in Superior. But Piszczek is reviewing videotape that documents the migration of fish on the Brule and hopes to have the numbers soon.

"We have seen and continue to see lots of fish," Piszczek said.

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