MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding ice anglers that they need to clean up the area around their ice house after they remove it from the lake.

Conservation Officer Bret Grundmeier of Hinckley said it’s the most common complaint they deal with while on patrol of area lakes during the end of ice fishing season. Minnesota anglers must have their houses off lakes by March 2 in southern Minnesota and March 16 in the northern part of the state.

Grundmeier said officers spend several hours each season reminding anglers to clean up after themselves and keep the area around their houses clean. The DNR said they see everything from wooden fish house blocking materials left on lakes to empty propane tanks, plastic bottles, cans and even bags of human waste.

Leaving trash behind can be considered littering, and DNR spokesman Rich Sprouse said while anglers are urged to police themselves and others, violators will face fines.

The maximum is up to $1,000.

“That’s nothing to sneeze at,” Sprouse said.

Sprouse says the officers are also using technology to catch the litterbugs, including taking digital pictures and using GPS coordinates.

DNR officials said it’s best to take your trash to a local refuse hauler or to a landfill.

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